An 11-day trial over the copyright of Ed Sheeran’s hit song “Shape of You” concluded in London on Tuesday (March 22), with the judge saying he would take some time to consider his ruling. The British pop star and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, deny accusations that the 2017 song copies part of a 2015 song called “Oh Why” by Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch.
Lawyer Andrew Sutcliffe, representing the “Oh Why” co-writers, argued there was an “indisputable similarity between the works” and suggested the chances of two songs that “correlate” appearing within months of each other was “minutely small.”
The lawyer claimed that Sheeran had “Oh Why” “consciously or unconsciously in his head” when “Shape of You” was written in 2016. He also alleged that Sheeran, who attended the hearing throughout, was dishonest and evasive in giving evidence to the trial.
Sheeran and his co-writers say they have disclosed material to the trial and do not remember hearing “Oh Why” before the court case. Justice Antony Zacaroli said Tuesday he would deliver his judgment “as soon as I can.” Earlier this month, Sheeran sang a brief bit of Nina Simon’s “Feeling Good” in court while presenting evidence in the trial.
Giving evidence on the second day of the trial, Sheeran sang parts of “Feeling Good” and his 2013 single “I See Fire,” as well as the “Oh I, Oh I, Oh I” chorus hook from “Shape of You,” to illustrate that the melody he is accused of copying is a commonly used “minor pentatonic” pattern, according to the Press Association.
“If you put them all in the same key, they’ll sound the same,” Sheeran, 31, testified. Released in January 2017 alongside “Castle On The Hill” as one of two lead singles from Sheeran’s third studio album ÷ (Divide), “Shape of You” topped numerous charts around the world, including Australia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Billboard Hot 100, where it held the No. 1 spot for 12 weeks and spent a total of 59 weeks on the U.S. chart; it was also the biggest selling song in the U.K. in 2017.