Ed Sheeran’s, ‘Shape of You’, copyright dispute continued!

Ed Sheeran rejected claims from his opponents’ QC that he stole a song from two songwriters, insisting that he owned a “flip phone” and did not listen to music at the time. He took to the stand and strongly denied any copying concerning his 2017 hit Shape of You. Since the dispute arose Sheeran has had his royalties frozen.

His opponents Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, relate to the tune “Oh My”. It was released two years before Shape of You.

During five hours of cross-examination, Sheeran said “I write a lot of songs, and if I haven’t finished a song within two hours I see that as a failure…..Pop music is something where you don’t have to think too much about what you are saying – it just has to be catchy. That’s why you can write five songs in a day.”

Sheeran has prior form. In 2016, Sheeran was sued by songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, for $20 million because of the “striking similarity” between the chorus. Whilst he rejected the claims he settled (it’s no admission just a commercial deal).

The hearing continues……

The law:

In order for a sound recording to infringe on another’s copyright, a substantial part needs to be taken, which is a quantitative test. If enough of the total sound recording is held to be taken it will be held to be a substantial part of the whole. However, it has become common practice in music, especially pop music, to sample short parts of previously released recordings. These samples are rarely held to amount to a substantial part of the whole, even when the sample is taken without permission. Even if the sample is repeated over and over, it still may not be held as a substantial part of the whole, as the sample may be only a few seconds from the original sound recording, the repetitiveness of the same few seconds is irrelevant. Previously, the court has been influenced by whether the new recording has been used as a substitute or in competition with the original copyright work. A sample, however, could still be held as a substantial part of the underlying musical work.

share this Article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recent Articles

Nike v StockX, NFTs and Counterfeit products

American footwear and apparel company Nike has launched trademark infringement actions against the Detroit-based trainers and streetwear resale platform StockX, after allegedly using Nike’s Intellectual