The two artists who sued Ed Sheeran for copyright infringement over ‘Shape of You’ have been ordered to pay the pop star more than $1.1 million in legal fees, Billboard reports.
After Sheeran won the copyright lawsuit, lawyers for grime artist Sami Chokri and his co-author Ross O’Donoghue tried to argue that their clients shouldn’t have to cover the legal costs of Sheeran and his co-defendants — songwriters Steven McCutcheon and Johnny McDaid — for their “conduct…both before and during the proceedings.” Judge Antony Zacaroli, however, dismissed those claims and declared Sheeran and co. were entitled to an “interim payment” of £916,200 (just over $1.1million).
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Despite today’s ruling, this total amount for legal fees could still change. Another judge will oversee and assess the costs and damages owed, and may decide to set aside some, thereby reducing the amount owed by Chokri and O’Donoghue.
Sheeran won her copyright battle in the High Court in England over her 2017 single “Shape of You” in April after a high-profile trial. A judge has ruled that Sheeran, McDaid and McCutcheon did not plagiarize Chokri’s 2015 song “Oh Why.”
In his ruling, the judge found that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor unknowingly” copied a line from “Oh Why” when writing “Shape of You,” as Sheeran pointed out during the trial.
In a video statement posted on Twitter, Sheeran said: “While we are obviously happy with the result, I feel that claims like this are far 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 is no basis for the claim. It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry. There are only a limited number of notes and very few chords used in pop music. A coincidence is inevitable if 60,000 songs are released every day on Spotify.
He continued, “I don’t want to take away from the pain and hurt both sides have suffered in this case, but I just want to say I’m not an entity. I’m not a corporation. I’m a human being. I am a father I am a husband I am a son Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience and I hope that with this decision it means that in the future baseless claims like this can be avoided.
Chokri, a grime artist who performs as Sami Switch, and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue sued Sheeran, McDaid and Mac for copyright infringement over alleged similarities between the two songs. In 2018, the authors of ‘The Shape of You’ brought legal proceedings asking the High Court to declare that they had not infringed copyright. Chokri and O’Donoghue issued a counterclaim two months later.
During the 11-day trial in London in March, Sheeran denied “borrowing” ideas from other songwriters without recognition. He told the court that he “always tried to be completely fair” in crediting his contributors,” adding that he was taking the opportunity of the trial to exculpate himself. In their testimony, Sheeran, McDaid and Mac all denied knowing about “Oh Why” before writing “Shape Of You”.
Sheeran recently performed as part of the Concert for Ukraine, held in Birmingham, England. His last album, =came out last October.
This story was updated on 6/22/22 at 2:57 PM ET with a new ruling regarding legal fees owed by Sami Chokri.
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