Ed Sheeran returns to court days after being called ‘magpie’ who ‘borrows’ ideas from other musicians

Singer-songwriter’s been accused of stealing parts of hit song ‘Shape of You’

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 07 March 2022 12:27
Ed Sheeran in court over copyright claims on song Shape Of You

Ed Sheeran has returned to court days after being branded a “magpie” who allegedly “borrows” ideas from other musicians

The singer-songwriter, 31, has been accused of stealing parts of another song for the single, which was released in 2017, with the trial starting on Friday (4 March).

Sheeran was pictured walking into the Rolls Building near St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of the hearing on Monday (7 March).

His accusers are songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, who claim “Shape of You” was inspired by their very own song, titled “Oh Why”.

They allege that the song has taken “particular lines and phrases” from their own, claiming that Sheeran’s refrain of the words “Oh I” is “strikingly similar” to their delivery of the words “Oh why”.

It was Sheeran and his team who first launched legal proceedings over the song in 2018, requesting the High Court declare they had not infringed Chokri and O'Donoghue's copyright.

However, Chorki and O’Donoghue retaliated by issuing their own claim of “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in retaliation to the alleged infringement”, which is the basis of the current trial

Ed Sheeran is in court over ‘Shape of You’ copyright claims

Judge Antony Zacaroli listened to both songs in court, with Chokri and O’Donoghue’s lawyer Andrew Sutcliffe, telling him they “sound almost identical”. According to reports, Sheeran didn’t react as the songs were played.

Sutcliffe, who is the one to have branded Sheeran a “magpie” who “borrows ideas”, stated: “This, of course, does not by itself prove that copying has taken place, but it’s a vital starting point.”

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Sheeran’s lawyers previously told the court that the singer and the song’s co-writers have no memory of ever hearing the song “Oh Why”.

The legal battle is expected to last three weeks. Royalties for the song have been frozen since 2018.

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