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Ed Sheeran now films “every single session” to prevent further copyright claims

The star says he "had to stand up for" himself in the recent 'Shape Of You' case, but claims it was "not about money"

By Tom Skinner

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

Ed Sheeran has spoken out after winning a copyright battle over his hit ‘Shape Of You’, revealing that he now films “every single session” while working on new music.

Sheeran and his co-writers, producer Steven Cutcheon and Snow Patrol’s Jonny McDaid, were accused of copying Ross O’Donoghue and Sami Chokri’s 2015 single ‘Oh Why’.

Last week, however, the High Court ruled that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” lifted a key phrase from ‘Oh Why’ when penning the 2017 single, which appears on his third album ‘÷’.

Following the verdict, Sheeran and McDaid spoke to BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’. “I’m happy it’s over,” Sheeran said. “I’m happy we can move on and get back to writing songs.”

The singer-songwriter went on to say that the whole court case experience “makes me sad”, adding: “Lawsuits are not fun for anyone involved. And yeah, I think across all sides it was not a nice experience.”

However, Sheeran explained that he and his co-writers “had to stand up for what we thought was right” by defending their craft, but said it was “not about money, this is about heart and honesty”.

Elsewhere, Sheeran told ‘Newsnight’ that he regrets settling a $20 million (£15m) copyright infringement case over his single ‘Photograph’ in 2017, which he said resulted in “the floodgates [being] opened” for further similar claims.

“I didn’t play ‘Photograph’ for ages after that,” Sheeran recalled. “I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty. And we’ve now got to a point where we actually own all of the song again.”

Later, the star revealed that he “started filming every single session” after the ‘Photograph’ case so he can use the footage as evidence in any other potential dispute. “So now I just film everything,” he continued.

“We’ve had claims come through on songs and we go, ‘Well here’s the footage and you watch, and you’ll see that there’s nothing there’.”

Explaining how his songwriting process has changed as a result, Sheeran said: “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.” Watch the interview in full above.

Sheeran and his co-writers first launched legal action in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare they had not infringed the copyright of O’Donoghue and Chokri.

Chokri, who performs under the stage name Sami Switch, teamed up with O’Donoghue months later to issue their own claim for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement”.

The pair claimed that a hook that sees Chokri singing “Oh why” was “strikingly similar” to the “Oh I” refrain in ‘Shape Of You’.

Responding to the verdict on Instagram last week, Ed Sheeran said: “While we’re obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common now. It’s become a culture where a claim is made with the idea a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there’s no base for the claim.”

He went on: “It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry. There’s only so many quotes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidences are bound to happen if 60,000 songs are released every day on Spotify – that’s 22million songs a year, and there’s only 12 notes available.”