🎶 Copying The Shape of You
Did Ed Sheeran and company lift parts of the Sami Chokri song "Oh Why" for their 2017 mega-hit "Shape of You"? That's the question posed in a current copyright trial underway in the UK. While Sheeran and his co-writers claim they never heard "Oh Why", nor copied any parts of it, lawyers for Chokri (aka Sami Switch) say his management made a “huge effort” to put the song in front of Sheeran.
As The Guardian reports, Chokri's management firm (Artists & Company) provided written evidence stating they sent Sheeran the song under “a concerted plan to target Ed Sheeran in the hope of engaging his interest in Sami’s work…we did not target any other artist in the same way.”
In response, Johnny McDaid, one of Sheeran's co-writers, said that there was no plagiarism of Chokri's melody, adding that “It is a very common melodic structure, in my experience.”
Sheeran's copyright suit is one of several currently leveled against major pop stars. Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, and Marshmello are some musicians currently (or recently) embroiled in similar music plagiarism cases. As Slate notes, the 2015 case involving Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" cost its songwriters $5 million, and set a "dangerous precedent" for future cases.
The internet has not only made all music so easily and immediately accessible, but it has also allowed songwriters to solicit larger musicians easily too. With that being said, this spate of copyright/plagiarism suits could endanger the necessary freedom to create new songs and get inspiration from others. Good artists copy, great artists steal, as Picasso said.