Unreleased Ed Sheeran song played 'by mistake' during star's Shape of You copyright trial

Ed Sheeran arrives at court.
Ed Sheeran arrives at court. Credit: PA

A clip of an unreleased Ed Sheeran song was played by mistake in the High Court during a copyright trial over his 'Shape of You' hit.

The singer-songwriter is accused of copying portions of the 2017 track from another artist, but looked confused when a short segment of another song was heard during the hearing on Tuesday.

Sheeran was facing questions over how 'Shape of You' was created when the wrong music was played.

Glancing at his lawyers, Sheeran said: “That’s a song I wrote last January. How have you got that?”

Sheeran’s barrister, Ian Mill QC, later told the court that the incident had happened "by mistake," and added that the wrong song had been selected from the personal laptop of of his 'Shape Of You' co-writer, Steven McCutcheon.

Sami Chokri Credit: PA

During the proceedings, Sheeran serenaded the court in a bid to prove that he didn't rip off parts of Sami Chokri's 2015 single 'Oh Why.'

He sang sections of Nina Simone's Feeling Good to illustrate that the melody he was accused of copying is commonly used in music.

“If you put them all in the same key they sound the same,” he said.

Mr Chokri, a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch, and fellow songwriter Ross O’Donoghue, claim that the "Oh I” hook hook in 'Shape Of You' is “strikingly similar” to the “Oh Why” part of their song.

Andrew Sutcliffe QC, representing Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue, asked the singer: “It was a phrase you already had in your head after listening to the chorus of Sami’s song Oh Why, wasn’t it?”

“No,” Sheeran replied.

Mr Sutcliffe claimed Sheeran’s co-authors could not recall “how this Oh I section came into

being”, suggesting it was because Sheeran “originated it”.

“No,” Sheeran said, adding: “I would say the melody and all of it was all of us three in a circle, bouncing back and forth. That was how it originated.”

“Three people could not create the germ of the melody,” Mr Sutcliffe claimed, but Sheeran replied: “Why can’t three people create a melody?”

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Sheeran repeatedly told the court that he, John McDaid, and Steven McCuctheon wrote the song together.

Mr Sutcliffe earlier suggested that Sheeran was “an obsessive music squirrel” who “consumed music voraciously in 2015 and 2016”.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.