Ed Sheeran has addressed his recent court victory after being sued for copyright infringement over his 2017 hit “Shape of You”.
Sheeran and the song’s co-writers — Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon — had denied the lawsuit’s claims that they plagiarized part of a 2015 song, “Oh Why” by Sami Chokri (who performs under the name Sami Switch).
Speaking with BBC Two’s “Newsnight”, Sheeran said that once he was accused of ripping off another song, he felt compelled to defend his artistic integrity.
Appearing with McDaid, Sheeran said “there was no other choice” but to fight the lawsuit.
“You can get a judgment or you can have a settlement and [when] you know that you’re in the right, then you can’t settle just out of principle. You can’t settle,” he explained.
“Our royalties were frozen and we were given two options and we chose the option that was integral to us,” added Sheeran.
“In the last year, it got really heavy and it was consuming,” added McDaid. “The cost to our mental health and creativity was really tangible.”
For Sheeran, the victory has come at a high cost, and he admitted that the sheer elation he once felt from songwriting has changed.
“There’s the George Harrison point where he said he’s scared to touch the piano because he might be touching someone else’s note. There is definitely a feeling of that in the studio,” said Sheeran, referencing Harrison being hit with a similar lawsuit in the 1970s, claiming he lifted his hit “My Sweet Lord” from the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”.
“I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song,” Sheeran added. “That feeling has now turned into, ‘Oh wait, let’s stand back for a minute.’ You find yourself in the moment, second-guessing yourself.”
Ultimately, both Sheeran and McDaid admitted they’re relieved that the years-long litigation has now ended.
“I’m happy it’s over. I’m happy we can move on and get back to writing songs,” said Sheeran.