UEA Law expert supports Ed Sheeran court case outcome

Ed Sheeran has won his High Court copyright case over the 2017 song Shape of You. The hit song has been announced as the most streamed song in Spotify’s history.

The 11-day trial saw Ed Sheeran take to the stand to defend himself against copyright allegations. Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue alleged there were similarities between Ed Sheeran’s song, and their 2015 song Oh Why.

Mr Justice Zacaroli concluded that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from Oh Why.

Following his vindication, Sheeran has called for an end to “baseless claims” of plagiarism through his Instagram platform with a 37.7million following.  

“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 is no basis for the claim, and it’s really damaging to the song-writing industry,” he said.

Associate professor in IP/IT/Media Law Dr Sabine Jacques has commented: “With a finite number of notes and the global dissemination of works, the rise of such cases is not surprising.” 

Dr Jacques’ research areas are in intellectual property law (copyright, trademarks, designs and patents) and in the intersection of intellectual property law and other areas of law such as contract law and human rights. Previous work has focused on the music industry.

In support of the verdict they went on to say the decision “should bring some comfort to creators” and “foster musical creativity.”

It seems musical creativity is still thriving, as Sheeran himself noted on Instagram that 60,000 songs are still being released a day on Spotify, resulting in 22 million songs per year overall.

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Una Jones

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May 2022
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