When Ed Sheeran’s 2017 hit song ‘Shape of You’ came out, the singer-songwriter was accused of copying parts of the song from Sami Chokri’s 2015 track ‘Oh Why’. Ed Sheeran has now emerged victorious in the plagiarism case.
A British High Court Judge ruled in Sheeran’s favour on 6 April 2022 when he was able to demonstrate the commonality of the song’s pentatonic melody. The Judge analysed the two songs and concluded that Sheeran had not “deliberately or subconsciously” copied Chokri’s work.
Addressing his fans after his win, Sheeran lamented over settling a $20 million copyright infringement case for his song ‘Photograph’ in 2017. He further said that coincidences are bound to happen in an industry which releases 22 million songs each year with only a dozen notes available to songwriters.
Sheeran is still battling a lawsuit over his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’. And he’s not alone! Several high profile artists like Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, and Ariana Grande have faced similar claims.
In fact, copyright infringement claims also affect businesses and other professionals. For this reason, they usually opt for a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy which comes with an IPR infringement clause.
Under this clause, third-party claims arising out of copyright violations in slogans, images, design, etc. can be covered. Similar protection can be found in a General Liability Insurance policy, covering everything from legal expenses to payable damages.
Although instances of musicians being insured under such covers are rare, they can avail such policies under customised packages, such as Singer’s Insurance or Performers and Entertainers Insurance, depending on the insurer.
Commenting on the emotional and financial impact of these lawsuits, Sheeran remarked that his songwriting sessions are now full of fear, and always filmed– as a security against future plagiarism claims.