Ed Sheeran won his Shape of You copyright infringement case on Wednesday.
The singer was accused of copying the 2015 song Oh Why by grime artist Sami Chokri, also known as Sami Switch, with the “Oh I” phrase in his 2017 chart-topping single.
Following an 11-day trial in March, Judge Antony Zacaroli from London’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that Sheeran had not plagiarised Chokri’s song with Shape of You.
According to the BBC, Justice Zacaroli ruled that Sheeran had “neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied” Chokri’s song. He acknowledged there were similarities between the one-bar phrase in both tracks but added that “such similarities are only a starting point for a possible infringement” of copyright.
He also noted that there were “differences between the relevant parts” of both songs, providing “compelling evidence” that the “Oh I” phrase in Shape of You “originated from sources other than Oh Why”. He also addressed the defence’s “speculative” claim that Sheeran had heard Oh Why before writing the smash hit, declaring, “I find, as a matter of fact, that he had not heard it.”
Following the ruling, Sheeran and his Shape of You co-writers Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac issued a lengthy joint statement detailing the cost the case has had on their creativity and mental health.
“It is so painful to hear someone publicly, and aggressively, challenge your integrity. It is so painful to have to defend yourself against accusations that you have done something that you haven’t done and would never do,” the statement reads, reports Metro.
“While this has been one of the most difficult things we have ever been through in our professional lives, we will continue to stand up against baseless claims, and protect our rights and the integrity of our musical creativity, so we can continue to make music, always… Our message to songwriters everywhere is: Please support each other. Be kind to one another. Let’s continue to cultivate a spirit of community and creativity.”
In addition, the 31-year-old posted a video message about the case on Instagram, stating that “claims like this are way too common now” and are “really damaging to the songwriting industry”. He noted that “coincidence is bound to happen” when there are a limited number of notes and chords used in pop music.
“I hope with this ruling, it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end… Hopefully, we can all get back to writing songs rather than having to prove that we can write them,” he concluded his message.