LONDON: British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran won his copyright trial at London’s High Court after a judge ruled that his hit song “Shape of You” did not lift musical phrases from another track.
Judge Antony Zacaroli said that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from British grime track, “Oh Why”, when writing the worldwide smash hit.
“Shape of You”, released in 2017, remains the most-streamed song ever on Spotify, with more than three billion streams.
It won Sheeran, 31, a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance. He, along with several others, has a writing credit on the track.
But two other songwriters, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, alleged that the song had musical similarities to one they wrote called “Oh Why”, performed under Chokri’s stage-name Sami Switch.
Judge Zacaroli ruled on Wednesday that “there are obvious similarities” between hooks in the two songs, but that there were also “important differences”.
While both hooks drew from the minor pentatonic scale, “there are countless songs in the pop, rock, folk and blues genres where the melody is drawn exclusively” from the same scale, he said.
Zacaroli also said that the two phrases “play very different roles in their respective songs.”