Ed Sheeran issues statement following verdict in High Court Shape of You copyright row
Ed Sheeran has said he hopes musicians can go back to writing songs, 'rather than having to prove we can write them', following the outcome of his copyright row.
Sheeran faced accusations that he, alongside co-writers John McDaid of Snow Patrol and Steven McCutcheon, ripped off Oh Why by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue for his hit single.
The pair alleged that an 'Oh I' hook in Shape Of You is 'strikingly similar' to an 'Oh Why' refrain in their own track.
In the ruling, Mr Justice Zacaroli concluded that Sheeran 'neither deliberately nor subconsciously' copied a phrase from Oh Why when writing Shape Of You.
The Shape of You artist has now issued a statement following the conclusion of the case, stating he believes claims such as the one he has faced are becoming more common.
"I wanted to make a short video to talk about it a bit as I have not really been able to say anything whilst it has been going on," he said in a statement released on his Twitter account.
"Whilst we are obviously happy with the result, I feel like claims like this are way too common, and there has 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 base to the claim, it is really damaging to the song-writing industry.
"There is only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify, that's 22 million songs-a-year, and there is only 12 notes available."
Sheeran added he hopes claims can be avoided in the future.
He said: "I don't want to take anything away from the pain and hurt suffered on both sides of this case, but I just want to say I am not an entity, I am not a corporation, I am a human-being. I am a father, I'm a husband, I'm a son.
"Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope with this ruling it means in the future baseless claims like this can be avoid. It really does have to end.
"Hopefully we can all get back to writing songs, rather than having to prove we can write them."
In a joint statement, Sheeran, McDaid and McCutcheon said: “There was a lot of talk throughout this case about cost. But there is more than just a financial cost.
“There is a cost on creativity. When we are tangled up in law suits, we are not making music or playing shows.
“There is a cost on our mental health. The stress this causes on all sides is immense.
“It affects so many aspects of our everyday lives and the lives of our families and friends. We are not corporations. We are not entities. We are human beings. We are songwriters.
“We do not want to diminish the hurt and pain anyone has suffered through this, and at the same time we feel it is important to acknowledge that we too have had our own hurts and life struggles throughout the course of this process.”
The statement also said such cases impact 'the wider circle of songwriters everywhere', adding: “Our hope in having gone through all of this is that it shows that there is a need for a safe space for all songwriters to be creative, and free to express their hearts.
“That is why we all got into this in the first place. Everyone should be able to freely express themselves in music, in art and do so fearlessly.”
The trio said they believe there should be due process for 'legitimate and warranted copyright protection', but added: “That is not the same as having a culture where unwarranted claims are easily brought. This is not constructive or conducive to a culture of creativity.”
Sheeran, McDaid and McCutcheon said they respect the music of those who came before them and have inspired them, and 'have always sought to clear or to acknowledge our influences and collaborators. It doesn’t matter how successful something appears to be, we still respect it'.
The statement continued: “It is so painful to hear someone publicly, and aggressively, challenge your integrity.
“It is so painful to have to defend yourself against accusations that you have done something that you haven’t done and would never do.
“While this has been one of the most difficult things we have ever been through in our professional lives, we will continue to stand up against baseless claims and protect our rights and the integrity of our musical creativity, so we that can continue to make music, always.
“Our message to songwriters everywhere is: Please support each other. Be kind to one another. Let’s continue to cultivate a spirit of community and creativity.”