- 06 Apr 22
Sheeran, McDaid and Mac have released a joint statement following their victory, hitting out against "a culture where unwarranted claims are easily brought."
Ed Sheeran has won his UK High Court copyright case over his 2017 single, 'Shape Of You' – with Judge Antony Zacaroli ruling that Sheeran and his co-writers, Derry musician Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol and Steve Mac, had not plagiarised Sami Switch's 2015 song 'Oh Why'.
Sami Switch, aka Sami Chokri, had claimed that the hook in 'Shape Of You' was "strikingly similar" to a part of his own song. The judge decided that Sheeran's song had "neither deliberately nor subconsciously" copied Chokri's song.
Following the judge's ruling, Sheeran, McDaid and Mac have shared a joint statement – noting that there's more than "just a financial cost" involved in this case.
"There is a cost on our mental health," they remarked. "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."
They also reflected on the impact of the case on themselves and on "the wider circle of songwriters everywhere."
"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," they resumed. "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.
"At the same time, we believe that there should be due process for legitimate and warranted copyright protection. However, 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."
They stated that they're "grateful that Mr. Justice Zacaroli has delivered a clear and considered judgment".
"We respect the music of those who’ve come before us and have inspired us along the way, whoever they are," the statement continues. "We 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.
"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."
Concluding the statement, Sheeran, McDaid and Mac said they're "very grateful for all the messages of love, hope and support" received over the course of the case.
"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," they stated. "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."
With over 5.6 billion views on its official music video on YouTube, and over three billion Spotify streams, ‘Shape Of You’ ranks among the most successful songs of all time. Released in January 2017 as the lead single from Sheeran's third album, ÷, the Grammy Award-winning track reached No.1 in 34 countries. It went on to become 2017’s best-selling song globally, and the most-streamed song of all time on Spotify.
In the wake of the ruling, Sheeran has posted a video to his social media platforms, sharing a similar message that which was outlined in the joint statement: