Hit singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is in a lot of trouble for his song Photograph. Apparently he borrowed it from the songwriters who wrote Amazing for former X Factor show winner Matt Cardle. The chords and structure of the chorus indeed resemble each other, but are they similar enough to merit a $20 million lawsuit?
Songwriters Martin Harrington and Tom Leonard want to prove to a judge and jury that they deserve damages and royalties from Ed Sheeran and his songwriters and others who hold rights to the song. They claim the two songs share 39 identical notes among other similarities.
Photograph was a tremendous hit for Sheeran and took him into the top 10. If he loses the case, he could end up with the same fate that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke faced for Blurred Lines. The two songwriters ended up getting sued for $7.4 million. Unfortunately for Sheeran, the same lawyer that represented Marvin Gaye’s estate in the suit against Thicke and Williams is also the one taking this case against Sheeran.
In another recent case, Sam Smith and his songwriting team faced a much lesser consequence for similarities in Smith’s mega hit Stay With Me to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ I Won’t Back Down. Sam Smith’s team denied intentionally copying the song but still agreed to share a portion of the song’s royalties.