Ed Sheeran Calls for End to Pop Plagiarism Lawsuits After Court Victory

Ed Sheeran had called for an end to pop plagiarism lawsuits, following his court victory over his 2017 hit track "Shape of You."

The British musician had been accused of copying parts of Sami Chokri's 2015 track "Oh Why." Sheeran, along with co-writers Johnny McDaid and Steven McCutcheon, had denied the claims made by Chokri and his co-writer Ross O'Donoghue.

On Wednesday, Sheeran and his co-defendants were cleared of plagiarism in London's High Court, with a judge saying there was "insufficient" evidence of "deliberate" copying.

At the start of the 11-day trial, Sheeran, one of the world's best-selling musicians, was accused of being a "magpie," who "borrows" musical ideas from others. The "magpie" tag went on to be used to refer to Sheeran in a number of videos across social media that discussed his previous lawsuits involving accusations of copyright infringement.

"Shape Of You" is the U.K.'s most-streamed song of all time, with 496 million plays, according to officialcharts.com.

Shortly after the verdict was revealed, Sheeran shared a video statement on Twitter, in which he expressed his hopes that the case would discourage "future baseless claims like this". The video can be viewed at the top of this article.

He said: "Whilst we're obviously happy with the result, I feel like 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's no base for the claim.

"It's really damaging to the songwriting industry. There's only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen when 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify. That's 22 million songs a year. There's only 12 notes that are available."

"I don't want to take anything away from the pain and hurt suffered from both sides of this case, but I just want to say I'm not an entity, I'm not a corporation, I'm a human being," the star continued. "I'm a father, I'm a husband, I'm a son.

"Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope that [with] this ruling, it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end."

Sheeran concluded his statement: "Hopefully we can all get back to writing songs, rather than prove that we can write them."

Following the verdict, Sheeran's lawyers said in a statement: "The judgment is an emphatic vindication of the creative genius of Ed, Johnny and Steve—as they have always maintained, they created 'Shape Of You' together, without copying from anyone else."

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran attends The BRIT Awards 2022 at The O2 Arena on February 08, 2022 in London, England. The star has called for an end to "baseless" pop plagiarism lawsuits after his own victory over his hit track "Shape of You" on Wednesday. Karwai Tang/WireImage