Ed Sheeran Sings in Court to Clear His Name

Ed Sheeran is in a legal battle to prove that “Shape of You” was not copyrighted. | IMG Source: BBC

MANILA, Philippines — Ed Sheeran sang a part of his 2017 hit single “Shape of You” in London’s High Court to prove that melodies can sound similar without being copied. 

The Grammy awarded singer is currently in a legal battle with grime artist Sami Chokri. Better known as Sami Switch, the artist accused Sheeran of taking the “Oh I, oh I, oh I” hook from Chokri’s 2015 song titled “Oh Why.”

To further prove his point that melodies can sound alike, Sheeran sang snippets of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” He said, “If you put them all in the same key, they’ll sound the same.” 

Chokri, and his music producer Ross O’Donoghue, argued that the “Oh I” hook from “Shape of You” is too similar to Chokri’s song. They claim that it is highly likely that Sheeran had heard the song before working on his hit single.

When pressed about the similarities of the songs’ hooks, Sheeran underscored, “They’re both pentatonic scales and they both use vowels.” Sheeran was extensively questioned about his writing process with co-authors Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid. 

Chokri and O’Donoghue’s lawyers played recordings of Sheeran singing the hook in different pitches. They pinned Sheeran by pointing out that he sounded like he was singing “Oh why.” 

Sheeran rebutted that he was singing “oh I.” He further explained, “The lyric is ‘Oh I, I’m in love with your body’. The lyric ‘Oh Why, I’m in love with your body’ does not make sense.”

Back in 2018, Sheeran, McCutcheon, and McDaid petitioned the High Court to declare that they had not infringed “Oh Why.” Chokri and O’Donoghue filed a counterclaim, beginning the legal battle. 

“Shape of You” was the best-selling single in 2017 and is still the most-streamed song on Spotify. Ed Sheeran’s royalties that are an estimated £20m have been frozen since the copyright claim in 2018. 

Leave a Reply