Ed Sheeran on copyright case: “I’m happy we can move on and get back to writing songs”

"You can get a judgement or you can have a settlement and [when] you know that you're in the right, then you can't settle just out of principle"

Ed Sheeran has said that his recent copyright case at the High Court was not about money, but about honesty.

Earlier this week, Sheeran won his case, with a judge ruling that he had not plagiarised his hit song ‘Shape Of You’.

Sheeran along with two of his co-writers – Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and producer Steve McCutcheon – had been accused of plagiarising part of a track called ‘Oh Why’ by Sami Chokri, who performs under the alias Sami Switch.


In a new interview with BBC Two’s Newsnight, Sheeran has explained that he had “no other choice” but to defend his work in court.

“You can get a judgement or you can have a settlement and [when] you know that you’re in the right, then you can’t settle just out of principle. You can’t settle.

“Our royalties were frozen and we were given two options and we chose the option that was integral to us.”

McDaid added: “In the last year, it got really heavy and it was consuming. The cost to our mental health and creativity was really tangible.”

To protect himself against any future claims, Sheeran said that he now films all of his songwriting sessions.


“Now I just film everything, everything is on film,” he said. “We’ve had claims coming through on the songs and we go, well here’s the footage and you watch. You’ll see there’s nothing there.”

Sheeran previously settled a $20 million copyright infringement case for his song ‘Photograph’ in 2017, which he has told Newsnight that he regrets because “the floodgates opened”.

“I didn’t play Photograph for ages after that. I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty,” he said.

On his experience of writing songs now, Sheeran continued: “I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song. That feeling has now turned into ‘oh wait, let’s stand back for a minute’. You find yourself in the moment, second-guessing yourself.”

Both Sheeran and McDaid spoke of their relief at the verdict, with McDaid commenting on the need for more discussion around litigation. “It creates a culture where it can be used as a threat and I think we need to be having conversations with societies, with managers, with artists, songwriters and say this isn’t OK for anybody.”

Sheeran concluded: “I’m happy it’s over. I’m happy we can move on and get back to writing songs.”

You can watch the full interview tonight (April 8) on BBC Two’s Newsnight at 10.30pm or here.

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