Another day another lawsuit. The culprit this time – Ed Sheeran. Much like that of Justin Bieber, Sheeran this week was hit with a lawsuit over his hit single “Photograph” off of his latest album X due to the similarities in chorus between that of his and another’s song. Yet unlike Bieber, this lawsuit came packing with a whopping $20 million dollars attached to it.

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This all began on Wednesday, June 8th, when songwriters Martin Harrington and Tom Leonard filed a lawsuit alleging that the now hit song plagiarized and infringed upon the copyright of their 2012 song, “Amazing”, which they wrote for singer Matt Cardle, most well known for having won the seventh season of X-Factor. The lawsuit was, when compared to similar copyright infringement lawsuits that have popped up over the past couple of years, was very specific, citing that the two songs actually share a total of 39 identical noted within their chorus’s. The lawsuit further goes onto allege that there are other similarities between the songs in regards to structure, melodies and harmonies, with the chorus structure being the most inspected aspect. The lawsuit is aiming for the duo to receive over $20 million in damages, along with royalties from the song.

The reason why this lawsuit is so large is that this song, in particular, is one of the most popular off of Sheeran’s latest album. Now, though the song has been out since and has garnered a lot of radio play in that time span, this song in particular has received a large resurgence in popularity as it is a feature song on the soundtrack for the recent film Me Before You; which has not only been highly anticipated for months but has also become a hit. Its inclusion in movie trailers and the soundtrack has only made the song that much more popular, giving it an extra kick of life as it was beginning to fall off the radar. Due to the popularity of the song and of Sheeran himself, this lawsuit, in the mere hours since its filing, has gained a lot of traction and media coverage. It is a polarizing problem that has been consistently popping up in the music industry lately. Each time it begs the same question, is anything in the music industry really original anymore? For someone like Sheeran, who has proved his prowess in writing hits and has shown that he is very diverse in his range – able to sing pop, ballads, and even rap. It is confusing that one who has proved his knack at being original would falter on such a major level and actually take someone else’s music.

Whether you are a Sheeran fan or not, it really all boils down to the songs. When listening to the two songs, the similarities are there; yet when it comes to the body, it is harder to identify as Cardle’s song has a much more upbeat feel and sound to it. Sheeran’s on the other hand, has a much lighter and emotional feel. It really is in the chorus where, if you played the two songs at the same time, they might almost sound identical. Now, if one were to just go based on the beat of the songs, they are definitely different, but the connection between the two choruses’ is undeniable. Not just based on sound, but on paper as well. With the court documents including the actual composition of the two songs, showing the identical 39 notes, it is hard to deny that there are definite connections between the two songs. The proof in this case, is most certainly in the print, making it an even harder situation to fight from Sheeran’s end. This might just be the kind of situation that not even the sweet tunes of Sheeran can charm his way out of.


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