Ed Sheeran, Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac have issued a statement on the “painful” experience and impact on mental health of their protracted copyright case.
The songwriting collaborators were victorious in the Shape Of You trial at the High Court.
Legal proceedings were launched in 2018 and the trial lasted 11 days. Sheeran, McDaid and Mac all gave evidence.
In a lengthy statement, Ed Sheeran, Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac concluded: “While this has been one of the most difficult things we have ever been through in our professional lives, we will continue to stand up against baseless claims, and protect our rights and the integrity of our musical creativity, so we that can continue to make music, always.
“Our message to songwriters everywhere is: Please support each other. Be kind to one another. Let’s continue to cultivate a spirit of community and creativity.”
Ed Sheeran, who's signed to Atlantic and Sony Music Publishing, also posted a video on social media. The full statement from the superstar artist, McDaid and Mac is below.
Ed’s been dealing with a lawsuit recently and he wanted to share a few words about it all pic.twitter.com/hnKm7VFcor— Ed Sheeran HQ (@edsheeran) April 6, 2022
Shape Of You is Spotify’s most streamed song ever with three billion streams.
The judge ruled today that the singer-songwriter and his co-writers had not plagiarised the 2015 song Oh Why by Sami Chokri.
Judge Antony Zacaroli ruled that Sheeran had "neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied" Chokri's song. He added that any similarities between the two were “only a starting point for a possible infringement" of copyright.
The grime artist, who performs under the name Sami Switch, had argued that the "Oh I" hook in Shape Of You was "strikingly similar" to a refrain in his own track.
Sheeran told the court he did not recall hearing the track before the trial.
Simon Goodbody and Andrew Forbes, Ed Sheeran’s lawyers at Bray and Krais, said: "The judgement is an emphatic vindication of the creative genius of Ed, Johnny and Steve - as they have always maintained, they created Shape Of You together, without copying from anyone else."
Statement from Ed Sheeran, Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac
There was a lot of talk throughout this case about cost. But there is more than just a financial cost.
There is a cost on creativity. When we are tangled up in law suits, we are not making music or playing shows.
There is a cost on our mental health. The stress this causes on all sides is immense. It affects so many aspects of our everyday lives and the lives of our families and friends. We are not corporations. We are not entities. We are human beings. We are songwriters. We do not want to diminish the hurt and pain anyone has suffered through this, and at the same time, we feel it is important to acknowledge that we too have had our own hurts and life struggles throughout the course of this process.
There is an impact on both us and the wider circle of songwriters everywhere. Our hope in having gone through all of this, is that it shows that there is a need for a safe space for all songwriters to be creative, and free to express their hearts. That is why we all got into this in the first place. Everyone should be able to freely express themselves in music, in art and do so fearlessly.
At the same time, we believe that there should be due process for legitimate and warranted copyright protection. However, that is not the same as having a culture where unwarranted claims are easily brought. This is not constructive or conducive to a culture of creativity.
We're grateful that Mr. Justice Zacaroli has delivered a clear and considered judgment which supports the position we have argued from the outset. ‘Shape of You’ is original. We did not copy the Defendants’ song.
We respect the music of those who’ve come before us and have inspired us along the way, whoever they are. We have always sought to clear or to acknowledge our influences and collaborators. It doesn’t matter how successful something appears to be, we still respect it.
It is so painful to hear someone publicly, and aggressively, challenge your integrity.
It is so painful to have to defend yourself against accusations that you have done something that you haven’t done and would never do.
We are very grateful for all the messages of love, hope and support we received throughout the course of this case from songwriters everywhere. Thank you also to our publishers, who stood shoulder to shoulder with us at every step of the way. We are privileged to do what we do, and we know that. We want to live in a world where we are free to do what we do, openly and honorably.
While this has been one of the most difficult things we have ever been through in our professional lives, we will continue to stand up against baseless claims, and protect our rights and the integrity of our musical creativity, so we that can continue to make music, always.
Our message to songwriters everywhere is: Please support each other. Be kind to one another. Let’s continue to cultivate a spirit of community and creativity.