Earlier we had written an article wherein the English songwriter-singer, Ed Sheeran had won a copyright infringement case in the United Kingdom's High Court on April 6, 2022, over his 2017 song “Shape of You”. Sami Chokri, a.k.a. Sami Switch (Chokri), and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue, had sued the 31-year-old singer and his co-writers and accused them of plagiarising a phrase from the British grime track "Oh Why" when writing the worldwide smash.
To summarise the dispute, in brief, Chokri and O'Donoghue addressed the Performing Rights Society (PRS) in May 2018, a British music copyright collective that pays song royalties, that be credited as songwriters on “Shape of You.” As a result, PRS suspended payments to Sheeran for performances and broadcasts of the song.
Sheeran and the co-writers of the song 'Shape of You' (John McDaid of the band Snow Patrol, and Steven McCutcheon) subsequently sought a declaration from a High Court in London to declare that they had not violated Chokri's copyright. Chokri and O'Donoghue responded with a counterclaim of copyright infringement.
Both parties submitted forensic musicologists' evidence to demonstrate the song's similarities and distinctions. Chokri alleged that Sheeran was a habitual plagiarist. Against that, Sheeran denied having met Chokri or copying the song. He even sang parts of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” to demonstrate that the disputed melody in “Shape of You” was common in pop music.
After considering all the submissions and contentions of all the parties during the 11-day trial in London, the Court held that Sheeran was not guilty of plagiarism "neither deliberately nor subconsciously". The Court further held that while Chokri’s shock after hearing “Shape of You” was understandable, given the similarities between the two songs, such coincidences were not uncommon and that even if Sheeran was looking for any inspiration for the track, Chokri’s track was “far from the obvious source”.
A recent update on the matter was on June 21st, 2022, wherein the Court awarded Sheeran and his co-songwriters his co-songwriters an interim payment of £916,200 ($1.1 million) in legal costs. Furthermore, on June 22nd, 2022, the Court directed that Chokri and O’Donoghue shall make the payment.
Welcoming the ruling, Sheeran said that baseless copyright claims were damaging the music industry.


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