Ed Sheeran wins the copyright case for Shape of You and slams 'baseless' charges.

Ed Sheeran has won a copyright dispute in the High Court over his 2017 hit Shape of You. On Wednesday, a judge determined that the singer-songwriter had not plagiarized Sami Chokri's 2015 song Oh Why. 

Chokri, a grime musician who goes by the moniker Sami Switch, claimed that Sheeran's "Oh I" hook sounded "strikingly similar" to a "Oh why" refrain in his own song. 

Sheeran noted after the verdict that such "baseless" charges are "far too common." 

He stated there is now a culture "where a claim is made with the premise that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim" in a video on social media. 

He continued, " "It has a significant negative impact on the songwriting profession. In pop music, there are only so many notes and so few chords." If 60,000 songs are released on Spotify every day, it's bound to happen by chance. There are only 12 notes available, therefore that's 22 million tunes per year." 

Shape of You was the best-selling song in the UK in 2017 and is Spotify's most-streamed song of all time. 

Sheeran had "neither knowingly nor unconsciously plagiarized" Chokri's music, according to Judge Antony Zacaroli. 

He recognized that the "one-bar phrase" in Shape of You and Oh Why were "similar," but added that "such similarities are simply a starting point for a prospective copyright violation." 

He stated there were "differences in the relevant parts" of the songs after studying the musical elements, which "give persuasive evidence that the 'Oh I' phrase" in Sheeran's song "originated from sources other than Oh Why." 

He went on to say that the defense's claim that Sheeran had heard Chokri's song before penning Shape of You was "speculative at best." "In reality, I discovered that he had not heard it," he remarked. 

Sheeran composed his number-one hit with two collaborators, Snow Patrol's John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, both of whom denied ever hearing Oh Why before. 

The dispute began in 2018, when the trio petitioned the High Court to rule that they had not infringed on Chokri's and his co-writer Ross O'Donoghue's copyright. Last month, an 11-day trial in London was held as a result of this. 

Ed Sheeran will be relieved by this decision, as he took the rare step of suing Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue in 2018 in an attempt to clear his name. 

The suggestion that he had purposefully plagiarized another writer's work without giving them credit wounded him. The actor was harsh and abrupt on the witness stand as he detailed how, in several other cases, he shared royalties with writers who inspired him. He complained that some of the earnings from Shape of You went to the creators of TLC's No Scrubs. 

On the stand, he later performed Nina Simone's Feeling Good and Blackstreet's No Diggity in an attempt to show that the melody he was accused of stealing was well-known in mainstream music. 

Chokri, on the other hand, was more emotional. He claimed he felt "robbed" by an artist he admired and wishes the case had never gone to trial. He was sure, though, that Sheeran had heard and plagiarized his music. 

In the end, the judge was not convinced. Chokri needed to show that Sheeran had listened to his music in order to prove copyright infringement; otherwise, the similarities would be coincidental. Chokri's team, however, failed to show that Oh Why had ever graced Sheeran's speakers, according to Mr Justice Zacaroli. 

Sheeran, who has dealt with his fair share of copyright disputes, would undoubtedly hope that this decision makes future plaintiffs think twice. 

a thin grey line for presentation 

'Extremely stressful' 

When Chokri and O'Donoghue sought the Performing Rights Society (PRS) to add them to the hit's credits as co-writers, the track's revenues were frozen, and the composers took legal action in 2018. 

The court heard that despite approximately 10% of the payments being frozen owing to the dispute, Sheeran, McDaid, and McCutcheon receive about £5 million a year from Shape of You. 

Mr Justice Zacaroli wrote in his judgement that Sheeran and his colleagues were justified in believing Chokri and O'Donoghue's desire to be identified as co-writers "was a strategy meant to extract a settlement." 

Chokri and O'Donoghue filed a counter-claim alleging copyright infringement after the initial legal action. 

Sheeran, McDaid, and McCutcheon said their mental health and creativity, as well as their wallets, had suffered as a result of the litigation in a joint statement released following the verdict. 

"Throughout this case, there was a lot of talk about expense," they added. "However, there is a cost that goes beyond money. Creativity has a price tag. We don't make songs or do gigs when we're engrossed in legal battles." Our mental wellness comes at a price. This puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved. It has a huge impact on our daily lives, as well as the lives of our family and friends. We are not businesses. We aren't separate beings. We are all humans." 

'Completely impartial' 

Sheeran testified last month that he never "borrows" ideas from unknown songwriters without credit and that he is always "absolutely fair" in acknowledging anyone who contribute to his work. 

Chokri and O'Donoghue's lawyer, Andrew Sutcliffe QC, called Sheeran a "magpie," stating that he "habitually duplicates" other artists and that it was "very likely" that he had heard Oh Why before. 

Mr Sutcliffe said there was a "indisputable similarity between the works" in his closing remarks last month. Sheeran's lawyer, on the other hand, said the case against him was "so strained as to be logically incomprehensible." 

Both sides hired forensic musicologists to present opposing viewpoints in the case. The tunes were "distinctly different," according to one, while they shared "major similarities," according to the other. 

Sheeran's lawyer, Ian Mill QC, called the High Court case as "very traumatising" for the singer and his colleagues, while Chokri described it as "the worst few weeks of my life."


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