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Ed Sheeran settles to end $20m Photograph copyright infringement case
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Ed Sheeran settles to end $20m Photograph copyright infringement case

by Stephen Charlton2017/04/11

Ed Sheeran has agreed to a deal to end a $20 million lawsuit over his megahit Photograph, for which was he accused of copying “note-for-note” from X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s tune Amazing.

The songwriters of Amazing, Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington, made some explosive claims in their filing against Sheeran. The pair said Photograph, among other songs on the album:

“copied, and exploited, without authorization or credit, the work of other active, professional songwriters, on a breathtaking scale, unabashedly taking credit for the work of these songwriters by claiming it to be their own… This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, makes up nearly one half of Photograph.”

Photograph case dismissed by California judge on Monday

It seems Sheeran was not able to straight out beat the case. The details of the settlement have not been made public and neither party has responded to media enquiries about the specific result. Judge James Selna revealed on Monday the case had been dismissed after the agreement was reached. You can stream the two songs in the YouTube links above and below and judge for yourself if the claim was valid.

Harrington, who has written songs for Kylie Minogue, Emma Bunton and 5ive, sought damages in excess of $20m, in his joint filing with Leonard.

Photograph enjoys 326 million streams and counting

As sung by Cardle, Amazing hit number 84 in the UK in 2012. Photograph found a wider audience after its 2014 release on Sheeran’s album ×, and later single release in 2015. The song has racked up 326 million views on YouTube and reached number 10 on the US and number 15 in the UK.

Richard Busch represented Leonard and Harrington, and he has quite a high profile history in the music industry. The lawyer also worked with the family of Marvin Gaye to win a $7.4 million copyright infringement case in 2017 against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for their song Blurred Lines.

Ed Sheeran’s new album ÷ hitting the headlines for the right reasons

Ed Sheeran photograph copyright infringement case divide

Ed Sheeran knows when he’s onto a good theme when it comes to album names.

It’s not all bad news for Sheeran. His latest album Divide (÷) has been smashing records left, right and centre and no one’s tried to take him to court over it just yet. The record debuted at number one in the UK last month, selling 672,000 copies in the first week, making it the fastest selling album by a male solo artist and the third fastest selling overall, following Adele’s 25 and Oasis’ Be Here Now.

Every single track on the album hit the top 20 in the UK Singles Chart in the week of the release, showcasing how bizarre charts have become in 2017. The strange outcome was a result of streaming numbers being included in chart positions these days.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton

Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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