Last month Ed Sheeran once again found himself embroiled in a copyright infringement dispute over one of his songs. This time it was the 2017 hit single Shape of You.
Ed has been accused of lifting his song’s recognisable hook, “Oh I, Oh I, Oh I” from Sami Chokri’s 2015 single Oh Why. Now you see where the inspiration for the title of this blog came from.
Each side has argued for several days in Court about the pentatonic scale and whether Ed had in fact heard Sami’s song prior to creating his single. Should Sami convince the Court that Ed has in fact infringed on his copyright then Sami can expect a slice of the royalties from the track, which already earn Ed and his co-writers around £5m a year.
This is not the first time Ed has found himself entangled in copyright disputes. The former X Factor winner Matt Cardle released a song called Amazing in 2012, which had striking similarities to Ed’s song Photograph. Ed settled this dispute out of court for a reported $20m.
But this pales in comparison to the claim brought on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s estate, who alleged in 2018 that Ed’s song Thinking Out Loud copied parts of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. Gaye’s estate sought a cool, wait for it… $100m in compensation (yes, this was said in the accent of Dr Evil).
This action led Robin Thicke to cheekily tweet Ed to call him, following his own copyright loss over the song Blurred Lines after an appeals court upheld a jury’s decision that it copied Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye.
Copyright infringement from older songs is becoming quite the pattern of late, with Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin successfully appealing their copyright cases respectively. The latter involving their signature song Stairway to Heaven (my all-time favourite song).
Ed’s not the only music artist in the news for copyright infringement at the moment either. His contemporary, Dua Lipa, is currently facing two copyright infringement actions in the same song! Her single, Levitating, is being challenged by Artikal Sound System and his 2017 song Live Your Life, and also by Corey Daye’s 1979 track Wiggle and Giggle All Night.
As for Ed, we will wait to see what the Court decides. However, the line between originality and inspiration appears more blurred than ever.
As always, Briffa is always on hand to help with any issues concerning intellectual property and music, be it contracts, claims or even just a chat about what’s what. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or on 0207 288 6003 for a free consultation.
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