The case continues… Ed Sheeran, 31, is accused of lifting his song’s “Oh I, oh I, oh I” hook from Sami Chokri’s 2015 single Oh Why. In court he actually sang elements of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good and Blackstreet’s No Diggity to illustrate how the melody is commonplace in pop music. Sheeran denies having heard Mr. Chokri’s song and rejected the suggestion that friends might have played it to him before he wrote Shape of You in October 2016. His upbeat pop track became 2017’s best-selling single and remains the most-played song of all time on Spotify. But Sheeran’s royalties-estimated to be about 26 million-have been frozen since Mr. Chokri and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue claimed copyright infringement in 2018. Lawyers for the pair played the court excerpts from the Shape of You recording sessions they built their case. The pair argue “Shape of you” infringes “particular lines and phrases” from their 2015 song “Oh Why.”
In one recording, Sheeran could be heard saying he needed to change the “oh I’ melody because it was “ a bit close to the bone.” Sheeran thought it was a bit too close to a song called No Diggity by Blackstree, the star told the court. He said, in court, “we should change it.” Asked whether his final melody bore a similarity to Chokri’s song, he added: Fundamentally, yes. They are based around the minor pentatonic scale and they both have vowels in them. The singer was also accused of being an “obsessive music squirrel” who consumed music “voraciously” and would have been aware of Mr. Chokri’s music. Sheeran was repeatedly asked who had come up with the “oh I” phrase, but explained it had been a collaborative effort with his co-writers Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid. Sheeran asked, “Why can’t three people create a melody?” “Your approach is take it, change it and make lots of money, isn’t it?” Mr. Sutcliffe asked the star. Sutcliffe is representing Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’ Donoghue. Sheeran replied, that a “musicologist went over the song “Shape of You” and found similarities and we changed the similarities.
The star disclosed that Shape of You was originally envisioned for Little Mix or Rihanna, and that he had not wanted to release it on his multiplatinum Divide album. The singer briefly became irritated when a snippet of an unreleased song was mistakenly played to the court. That’s a song I wrote last January. How did you get that? He asked, glancing at his lawyers. “I want to know how you got that.” It was later explained that some of the music played to the court was coming from Steve Mac’s personal laptap, and the wrong folder had been accidentally accessed. Sheeran and his co-authors launched legal proceedings in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare they had not infringed Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’Donoghue issued their own claim for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement.” Mr. Sutcliffe accused Sheeran and his co-writers of issuing what he called a “slap suit” intended to “intimidate” his clients with the burdensome cost of a legal defense” until they abandon their claim.” “No I wanted to prove I was right,” he replied. “I’m trying to clear my name here.”
The co-writer of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You has revealed that the song was written in just 90 minutes. Steve Mac says it was the first thing to come from a writing session with Ed, and so far it’s the biggest song of 2017, selling more than three million units. Steve has a career spanning nearly three decades. He said that Shape of You has changed his life and describes Ed as “extraordinary.” Over the years, Steve has worked with JLS, The Vamps, The Wanted and Jess Glynne. Unlike many artists, Steve says most of his lyrics stay in his head. Sheeran and his co-writers have denied infringement.
“Shape of You” is from Sheeran’s third studio album, it stormed the charts around the world upon its release in January 2017, becoming the best performing song in the US that year.