Ed Sheeran and co-writers awarded nearly £1m over Shape of You copyright battle
Ed Sheeran and his Shape of You co-songwriters have been awarded nearly £1 million in legal costs after winning their High Court copyright trial.
Suffolk singer-songwriter Sheeran, as well as co-writers Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, had been accused of ripping off a 2015 song from grime artist Sami Chokri and co-author Ross O’Donoghue.
Following a trial, they were cleared of any wronging with Mr Justice Zacaroli concluding in April that Mr Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase in the song.
Mr Sheeran, along with his co-writers, launched legal proceedings in 2018 in a bid to clear their name following allegations that the “Oh I” hook their 2017 hit track Shape Of You was “strikingly similar” to Mr Chokri's song Oh Why.
Following April's judgement, lawyers for Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue had said that Mr Sheeran and the other claimants should pay their own legal costs.
However, Mr Justice Zacaroli ruled on Tuesday that those legal costs should actually be paid by Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue.
He ordered an interim payment of £916,200, with a further hearing expected soon to assess and finalise the sums.
“I consider it is appropriate that the claimants’ success is reflected in an order that their costs are paid by the defendants, without reduction save for that which is made as part of the process of detailed assessment,” Mr Justice Zacaroli said.
The judge also dismissed arguments that the defendants would have changed their approach to the case if some documents and explanations about how Shape Of You was written had been provided earlier.
Mr Justice Zacaroli said: “None of the disclosure or explanations, once provided to the defendants, caused them to alter their approach at all.
“Instead, they not only maintained their attack on Mr Sheeran but broadened it by asserting that he was a ‘magpie’ who habitually misappropriated song ideas from other writers.”
In the wake of April's verdict, Sheeran recorded a video message calling for an end "baseless claims" of plagiarism in the music industry.
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