The $20m copyright infringement legal claim over the hit song Photograph, has ended after Ed Sheeran struck a deal.
Music business lawsuits:
The difference between “inspired by” and “stolen from” can sometimes be blurred in the music world. Artists, especially songwriters, find their work sometimes under a microscope, and in some cases this leads to big settlement payouts.
This was the case when Marvin Gaye’s family won $5.3 million after suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their song “Blurred Lines.”
Similarly, the songwriters behind X-Factor winner Matt Cardle’s song “Amazing”, Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, said that superstar singer songwriter Ed Sheeran copied their song in his hit “Photograph.”
The songwriters hired the same lawyer who won the case against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for Marvin Gaye’s family to represent them in their lawsuit.
The lawsuit originally demanded $20 million, and also called for statutory damages and a permanent injunction, which means preventing “the reproduction, distribution, sale, public performance, or other use or exploitation” of “Photograph.”
The lawsuit claimed that “the songs’ similarities reach the very essence of the work,” saying: “The similarities go beyond substantial, which is itself sufficient to establish copyright infringement, and are in fact striking. The similarity of words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody, and rhythm are clear indicators, among other things, that “Photograph” copies “Amazing.”
They also claimed that they have the evidence to prove it, saying: “The chorus sections of “Amazing” and the infringing “Photograph” share 39 identical notes—meaning the notes are identical in pitch, rhythmic duration, and placement in the measure.”
However, now Richard Busch, the lawyer for both songwriters has confirmed that the claim had now been settled, however, he declined to comment on the settlement terms.