The High Court in London ruled in Ed Sheeran’s favor last Wednesday (April 6) in a copyright case involving a refrain from his 2017 hit Shape Of You.
Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and producer Steve McCutcheon, among others, were accused of plagiarizing part of Sami Chokri, who performs under the alias Sami Switch.
According to Chokri, Sheeran’s hit song has taken “particular lines and phrases” from his 2015 song. In addition, Ross O’Donoghue has alleged that Sheeran’s “Oh I” hook is “strikingly similar” to the “Oh Why” refrain in their own song.
A statement from Chokri claiming that he and Sheeran shared “overlapping circles” of artists, writers, and producers, asserting that the plan was to bring “Oh Why” to Sheeran’s attention, was denied by his representatives.
According to Sheeran and his collaborators, they don’t remember hearing ‘Oh Why’ before the claim was filed, denying that they copied it.
Now that the 11-day trial is over, Justice Zacaroli ruled today (April 6) that Sheeran did not intentionally or subconsciously copy a phrase from ‘Oh Why’ when writing ‘Shape of You.’
While Zacaroli acknowledged there are similarities between one-bar phrases in ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Oh Why’, he noted that “such similarities are merely the starting point for an infringement” of copyright. In addition, he says there are “differences between the relevant parts” of the songs, which “provide compelling evidence” that “Oh Why” was not the origin of the phrase “Oh I”.
The song Shape Of You, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance, is the most-streamed song on Spotify, with more than three billion playbacks. Sheeran is a co-writer of the song.