Ed Sheeran sued for $20m: Matt Cardle songwriters say 'Photograph' copies X Factor song

Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard have claimed Sheeran's song is a 'note-for-note copy' 

Jess Denham
Thursday 09 June 2016 08:22
Ed Sheeran sued for $20m: Matt Cardle songwriters claim 'Photograph' copies X Factor song

Ed Sheeran is being sued for $20m (£13.8m) for allegedly ripping off a song by 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle.

The chart-topping singer-songwriter is accused of “verbatim, note-for-note copying” for his number one ballad “Photograph”, which Cardle’s songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard say steals from their track “Amazing”.

The lawsuit claims that “Photograph” is “too similar to both the composition written by Harrington and Leonard as well as the version recorded by Cardle”, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

UPDATE: Matt Cardle has spoken out about the case

“The similarities go beyond substantial, which is itself sufficient to establish copyright infringement and are in fact striking,” it continues. “The similarity of words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody and rhythm are clear indicators, among other things, that ‘Photograph’ copies ‘Amazing’.”

The choruses to both songs share “39 identical notes”, according to the plaintiffs, who allege that Sheeran has continued to perform ‘Photograph’ despite being given notice of the lawsuit. It was recently licensed for the film adaptation of Me Before You starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin.

One fan noticed the alleged similarities in February and uploaded a mash-up video putting the two songs together on YouTube.

Harrington and Leonard, who have also written songs for Kylie Minogue and Emma Bunton, will seek statutory damages and either a running royalty or injunction. They will be represented by Richard Busch, the same attorney who won the copyright infringement case against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s family last year. The singers were ordered to pay £5.3 million for copying Gaye’s 1977 song “Got To Give It Up” for their 2013 summer hit Blurred Lines.

Sheeran’s representatives are yet to comment on the lawsuit but this article will be updated if they do. Cardle is not involved in the lawsuit.

Justin Bieber and Skrillex getting sued, may actually have to apologise for 'Sorry'

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in