Ed Sheeran wins “Shape of You” copyright case

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Ed Sheeran won a U.K. copyright battle over his 2017 hit Shape of You on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022.

The British pop star and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, had denied allegations that the song copied part of 2015’s Oh Why by Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch.

“Whilst we’re obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim,” Sheeran said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry.”

During the 11-day trial, Sheeran denied allegations that he “borrows” ideas from unknown songwriters without acknowledgement and said he has always been fair in crediting people who contribute to his albums. In the ruling with High Court Judge Antony Zacaroli, it was concluded that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from Oh Why when writing his smash hit. The plaintiffs alleged that the refrain “Oh I, Oh I, Oh I” in the chorus of Shape Of You was “strikingly similar” to the line “Oh why, Oh why, Oh why” in their track.

Shape of You was the biggest-selling song in the U.K. in 2017. It would go on to spend a total of 59 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the track stayed at the Number 1 spot for 12 weeks.