Ed Sheeran and his co-songwriters have been awarded over €1 million in legal fees after winning their UK High Court trial over ‘Shape of You’ earlier this year.
In March, the singer and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, faced allegations that their song copied a 2015 tune by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.
But Mr. Justice Zacaroli ruled that Ed “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase in the song.
The legal proceedings were originally launched in May 2018, as they asked the High Court in London to declare they had not infringed copyright.
In July 2018, Sami – a grim artist who goes by the stage name of Sami Switch – and Ross issued their own claim for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement”.
They alleged that the “Oh I” hook in ‘Shape of You’ was “strikingly similar” to the “Oh Why” refrain in their song.
However, Mr. Justice Zacaroli concluded in his previous judgement that “Mr Sheeran had not heard Oh Why and in any event that he did not deliberately copy the Oh I phrase from the Oh Why hook.”
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After their counterclaim was dismissed, lawyers on behalf of Sami and Ross said Ed and his co-writers should pay their own legal costs.
However, in a ruling in London on Tuesday, Mr. Justice Zacaroli said that the lesser-known songwriters should pay the legal costs, ordering an interim payment of £916,200 (€1.066m).
Although, a further hearing is expected to assess and finalise the sums.
Throughout the 11-day trial in London, Ed denied claims that he “borrows” ideas from unknown songwriters without acknowledgement and insisted he “always tried to be completely fair” in crediting people who contribute to his albums.
In a video message after the ruling in April, he said: “Claims like this are way too common now and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there is no basis for the claim, and it’s really damaging to the songwriting industry.”
“Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience and I hope with this ruling it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end.”