Ed Sheeran didn’t plagiarize Shape of You

(London) British pop star Ed Sheeran didn’t plagiarize his mega-hit shape of youone of the most listened to titles in the world, the High Court in London concluded on Wednesday, dismissing two songwriters.

Updated yesterday at 10:21 a.m.

Martine PAUWELS
France Media Agency

Ed Sheeran, 31, went to court himself to defend himself in this case, which he considered emblematic of abusive practices that undermine the music industry.

Judge Antony Zacaroli agreed with him: he did not copy, neither “deliberately”, nor “unconsciously”, part of the melody of the song Oh why (2015) by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue for his planetary hit.

shape of youthe best-selling title in the world in 2017, also has 3 billion plays on Spotify and almost 6 billion views on YouTube. It won the artist a Grammy.

According to the judge, there are “obvious similarities” between the two songs, with a melody resulting in particular from the minor pentatonic scale like “countless songs from pop, rock, folk and blues”, but also “significant differences “.

The two melodic phrases “play very different roles in their respective songs,” he added.

Saying he was “happy” with the outcome of the trial, the star regretted on Instagram that “requests like this are becoming too common”, with the objective of obtaining a financial agreement even if they are “unfounded”.

“It’s really damaging for music composition,” he added, adding that “coincidences are bound to happen” given the limited number of notes available for the huge amount of songs produced around the world.

“I hope we can all get back to writing songs rather than having to prove we know how to write them,” he concluded.

Extracts





“Shocked”

During the trial, which lasted ten days in March, the two titles had been broadcast – as well as, by mistake, an extract from one of his unreleased songs.

Ed Sheeran had then denied “borrowing” ideas from little-known composers, while the plaintiffs’ lawyer, while acknowledging his “genius”, had accused him of being “a magpie”, in reference to the bird which is sometimes accused of being a thief.

“He borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he acknowledges it, sometimes he doesn’t,” he said: “It depends on who you are and if he thinks he can do it with impunity.”

Sami Chokri, known as Sami Switch, told him he was “shocked” when he first heard shape of you on the radio.

Ed Sheeran and his co-authors Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid had applied in May 2018 to the High Court for it to recognize that there had been no copyright infringement.

Two months later, in July, MM. Chokri and O’Donoghue had in turn started legal proceedings against them.

The payment of royalties related to shape of youestimated at 20 million pounds sterling (24 million euros at the current rate), had been suspended by the collective management organization PRS.

In 2017, Ed Sheeran was also the artist who sold the most albums in the world, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), with his third album To divide which includes the single shape of you.

This is not the first time the artist has been sued for plagiarism. In the United States, the heirs of soul legend Marvin Gaye have accused him of being a little too inspired by let’s go for his hit Thinking out loud.

He had also reached a financial agreement in the United States with authors who accused him of having plagiarized their song Surprising for its title Photograph. The British judge emphasized that there was no admission of liability in this case.

A few facts about Ed Sheeran

  • Over 26 million albums sold;
  • Five studio albums;
  • 13 songs at No. 1 on the UK charts, with 4 only in 2021;
  • The music video of the song shape of you has nearly 6 billion views on YouTube;
  • TV appearances: Sons of Anarchy and game of thrones;
  • The singer has publicly spoken out against Brexit;
  • He also spoke out against the war in Ukraine.

Sources: https://www.officialcharts.com/, Wikipedia,

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