Ed Sheeran and co-writers awarded over £900K after copyright battle

File photo dated 05/06/22 of Ed Sheeran who was the most played artist of 2021 in the UK, and also c

Ed Sheeran and his co-songwriters have been awarded more than £900,000 in legal costs after winning their High Court copyright case - Credit: PA

Suffolk star Ed Sheeran and his co-songwriters have been awarded more than £900,000 in legal costs after winning their High Court copyright case of his hit song Shape of You. 

Mr Sheeran, who grew up in Framlingham, had been involved in a High Court legal row with two songwriters, Mr Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.

Mr Chokri and Mr O'Donoghue claimed the 2017 song ripped off parts of their 2015 track, Oh Why.

File photo dated 22/03/22 of Ed Sheeran outside the Rolls Building, High Court in central London, wh

Ed Sheeran outside the Rolls Building, High Court in central London, where he was bringing a legal action over his 2017 hit song Shape of You - Credit: PA

But Mr Justice Zacaroli's judgement rejecting their claim was announced in April

In his judgement, he concluded: "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."

“Mr Chokri is undoubtedly a serious and talented songwriter and while his management were unsurprisingly trying to create some hype around the release of the Solace EP, it had limited success."

Following the ruling, lawyers for Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue had said that Mr Sheeran and the other claimants should pay their own legal costs, claiming they had failed to provide documents and demonstrated “awkwardness and opacity”.

However, in a ruling on Tuesday, Mr Justice Zacaroli said that the lesser-known songwriters should pay the legal costs, ordering an interim payment of £916,200.

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A further hearing is expected to assess and finalise the sums.

“I consider it is appropriate that the claimants’ success is reflected in an order that their costs are paid by the defendants, without reduction save for that which is made as part of the process of detailed assessment,” Mr Justice Zacaroli said.

The judge dismissed arguments that the defendants would have changed their approach to the case if some documents and explanations about how Shape Of You was written had been provided earlier.

Mr Justice Zacaroli said: “None of the disclosure or explanations, once provided to the defendants, caused them to alter their approach at all.

“Instead, they not only maintained their attack on Mr Sheeran but broadened it by asserting that he was a ‘magpie’ who habitually misappropriated song ideas from other writers.”

Ed Sheeran outside the Rolls Building, High Court in central London, where he is bringing a legal ac

Ed Sheeran and his co-songwriters won their legal battle in April

During the 11-day trial, Mr Chokri, a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch, and his co-writer Mr O’Donoghue, claimed an “Oh I” hook in Shape Of You is “strikingly similar” to an “Oh Why” refrain in their track. 

In July 2018, 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”.

During the case Mr Sheeran denied 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.

Anthony Ricigliano, a forensic musicologist, concluded in a report that it was “objectively unlikely” that any similarities between the 2017 track and the song 'Oh Why' by Mr Chokri “result from copying”.

Shape of You was a worldwide hit, becoming the best-selling song of 2017 in the UK and the most streamed track in Spotify’s history.