Ed Sheeran co-author John McDaid says there are ‘obvious holes in the system’ after winning legal action

Snow Patrol’s John McDaid said there were “clear holes in the system” after winning a long High Court copyright battle alongside Ed Sheeran over the song Shape Of You.

cDaid, who co-wrote the 2017 hit with Sheeran, said lawsuits against musicians for copyright infringement “create a culture where it can be used as a threat”.

The pair have been accused of ripping off Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue’s 2015 track Oh Why, while writing Shape Of You.

But a judge ruled on Wednesday that Sheeran “neither deliberately nor unknowingly” copied a line from Oh Why while writing his number one hit.

close


Ed Sheeran has won his legal battle over the song Shape Of You (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ed Sheeran has won his legal battle over the song Shape Of You (Aaron Chown/PA)

Speaking to BBC Newsnight on Friday night after the verdict, McDaid said: ‘There are obvious holes in the system at the moment.

“If I can go to a musicologist and get a report, then present that report to society and then freeze someone’s income based on that, that’s a problem.

“It creates a culture where he can be used as a threat. And I think that’s where we need to have conversations with the companies, with the managers, with the artists and the songwriters and say this is not good for anyone.

During the High Court trial, musicological experts gave differing opinions on whether they thought the two songs were similar, with American forensic musicologist Anthony Ricigliano concluding that it is “objectively unlikely” that any similarity is the “result of a copy”.

But another musicologist, Christian Siddell, reported finding melodic similarities “so numerous and striking that the possibility of independent creation is…highly unlikely”.

close

Sami Chokri is a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)


Sami Chokri is a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Sami Chokri is a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Sheeran and his co-authors originally launched a lawsuit in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare that they had not infringed Chokri and O’Donoghue’s copyrights.

Two months later, Chokri – a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch – and O’Donoghue filed their own suit for “copyright infringement, damages and profit account related to the alleged infringement “.

The pair alleged that an “Oh I” hook in Shape Of You is “strikingly similar” to an “Oh why” chorus in their own track.

The three Shape Of You co-writers denied the copying allegations and said they did not recall hearing Oh Why before the legal fight.

Sitting alongside McDaid during the Newsnight interview, Sheeran said the case was about “honesty” and not money.

He said he was “happy it’s over, I’m glad we can move on and start writing songs again”, but that the episode made him “sad” and changed his way of life. see songwriting.

The Suffolk singer-songwriter, 31, also referenced an earlier claim he said was made in the US about his song Photograph in 2017 and explained that he now films all his writing sessions to protect against future claims.

The singer said he “personally” regrets choosing Photograph, saying he hadn’t played the song in a long time, explaining, “I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it. , it made me feel a little dirty.

McDaid also spoke about the toll the case had on their mental health, saying: “Last year it got really heavy and it was all-consuming. The cost to our mental health and creativity was truly tangible.

Download the Sunday World app

Download now the free app for all the latest Sunday world news, crime, Irish showbiz and sport. Available on Apple and Android devices