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Ed Sheeran copyright trial: songwriter “shocked” to hear ‘Shape of You’

It's latest update to come from Ed Sheeran's ongoing 'Shape of You' copyright trial

By Hollie Geraghty

Ed Sheeran performs live
Ed Sheeran performs live (Picture: YouTube)

One of the songwriters involved in the ongoing copyright trial with Ed Sheeran said that he felt “shocked” to hear the singer’s 2017 song ‘Shape of You’ on the car radio.

Sheeran is facing a dispute with musician Sami Chokri and co-writer Ross O’Donoghue, who allege that the track plagiarises parts of their 2015 song ‘Oh Why’.

They claim the “Oh I, oh I, oh I, oh I” hook from ‘Shape of You’ is “strikingly similar” to their own song.

Royalties from the track, estimated to be worth £20million, have been frozen after the claim was issued for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement”, back in July 2018.

In a written submission to the court, Chokri, who performs under the moniker ‘Sami Switch’, recalled hearing Sheeran’s song on the radio. “I was a passenger in my girlfriend’s car and ‘Shape Of You’ came on the radio,” he wrote, according to the BBC. “She and I were both shocked to hear the similarities.”

He allegedly later put out a Facebook post that said: “Anyone else think Ed Sheeran’s new song ‘Shape Of You’ chorus sounds familiar lol?”

Chokri said he had “lots of responses”, including one from the late Jamal Edwards, with the “shifty eye” emoji. However, Edwards signed a witness statement in September last year in support of “very good friend” Sheeran, in which he said he had “no recollection” of the comment, according to the Daily Mail.

Edwards added that even if he was sent a copy of Chokri’s track, “I did not share it with Ed”.

Last week, Sheeran sang Nina Simone‘s ‘Feeling Good’ and Blackstreet‘s ‘No Diggity’ as he addressed the High Court as part of the case.

He was said to have sung the tracks in an attempt to prove that the melody is common within pop music. “If you put them all in the same key, they’ll sound the same,” he told the court.

Earlier in the case, Sheeran denied that he “borrows” ideas from other songwriters, after he was described as a “magpie” by barrister Andrew Sutcliffe QC.

“Mr Sheeran is undoubtedly very talented, he is a genius. But he is also a magpie,” he said. “He borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he will acknowledge it but sometimes he won’t.”

Sheeran and co-writers Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac have denied copying Chokri’s song.