Ed Sheeran faces legal feud over copyright of 'Shape of You' 

Ed Sheeran appeared before London's High Court for a copyright infringement case (Image via Getty Images)
Ed Sheeran appeared before London's High Court for a copyright infringement case (Image via Getty Images)

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran appeared before London’s High Court on March 4 for a copyright infringement case for his 2017 hit single Shape of You. Sami Chokri (who goes by the pseudonym Sami Switch) and Ross O’Donoghue have alleged that Sheeran’s song Shape of You is similar to their 2015 song Oh Why. Sheeran has previously been accused of appropriating other artists' music.


The chorus of Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You' accused of copyright infringement

Ed Sheeran is claimed to have taken particular lines and phrases from Chokri and Donoghue’s Oh Why and is also alleged to have ripped off the chorus from the same. Previously, the allegations against Sheeran accused him of being in the habit of “appropriating the compositional skill and labor of other songwriters.”

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Quoted by The Guardian, during the court proceedings, Andrew Sutcliffe QC, for Chokri and O’Donoghue, said,

“Mr. Sheeran is undoubtedly very talented, he is a genius. But he is also a magpie. He borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he will acknowledge it but sometimes he won’t.”

Sutcliffe was further quoted as saying that “it depends on who you are and whether he thinks he can get away with it.”

Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran’s lawyers have denied the claims, saying that the singer and co-writer have no recollection of listening to Oh Why.

The legal proceedings of the lawsuit began back in 2018 when Sheeran and the co-authors of the song asserted in court and asked to declare that they had not infringed copyright. Two months later, a counterclaim was issued by Chokri and O'Donoghue alleging copyright infringement and asking for damages and an account of profits.

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Ed Sheeran was banned from taking any royalties by the Performing Rights Society (which collects royalties on behalf of artists) while the legal proceedings are ongoing.

According to Chokri, he sent the track Oh Why to Sheeran’s close inner circle in hopes of working with the star and later heard the chorus on Shape Of You.


Ed Sheeran's previous copyright infringement cases

Sheeran was previously sued over his single Photograph in 2016 over copyright infringement and two years later, was sued for $100 million for Thinking Out Loud. As per reports, the lawsuit over Photograph was settled out of court, but the battle over Thinking Out Loud is said to be ongoing. Sheeran holds the credit on Shape of You as its lyricist alongside Patrol singer Johnny McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon.

Edited by Siddharth Satish
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