Artist responds to ‘borrowing’ accusation in court

No. Lawyer Andrew Sutcliffe QC – acting for the songwriters – claimed Sheeran must have known Chokri’s song, pointing out that Chokri tweeted it directly, and they both appeared on SBTV, a music platform British online that helped launch Sheeran’s career.

Hmm. But Sheeran must be getting a lot of tweets. I’ve already tweeted him twice today.

Well, that’s what he said. Sheeran told the court he receives “hundreds of thousands of tweets every day” while pointing to his long credit history where credit is due.

“I’ve always tried to be completely fair in crediting anyone who makes a contribution to a song that I write,” Sheeran told the court. “If there is a reference to other work, I inform my team so that steps can be taken to obtain authorization.”

Alright, that’s it, then it’s settled. CASE CLOSED.

Stop saying that. And no, it’s not.


Sheeran was previously the subject of a copyright claim over his 2015 hit Photograph. Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, who wrote Matt Cardle’s 2011 single Surprising, claimed apparent similarities between the two tracks. Sheeran reportedly ended up paying the couple a lump sum settlement of $7 million and a share of the song’s royalties.

Hmm. Difficult week for Ed Sheeran.

Or Dua Lipa.

Don’t tell me she’s also involved in this alleged ring of thieves?

The 26-year-old is currently facing two copyright lawsuits over her song, Levitation. Reggae band Artikal Sound System and songwriting duo L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer have both slapped the pop star with copyright claims.

First they come for Ed, then Dua. Who’s next in this resolutely modern witch hunt?

To be honest, it’s not exactly a modern problem; copyright claims have been around forever.

You can go back to the 1960s when Chuck Berry sued the Beach Boys after Berry’s team claimed Surfing in the United States was eerily close to Berry’s success in 1958 sweet little sixteen. Berry came out on top and all publishing rights passed to him.

Or there was Richard Ashcroft of The Verve, who wrote the 1997 hit, bittersweet symphonyy, but was denied royalties for two decades because he sampled an orchestral version of the Rolling Stones song The last time. Then you had Vanilla Ice one-on-one with David Bowie and Queen Baby Ice Cream.

Should we discuss the irony that Baby Ice Cream begins with the words: Alright, stop, cooperate and listen.

It’s pretty good, actually.

Maybe he was onto something, though. Isn’t music all about collaboration? You know, Picasso had a saying: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.

In fact, Picasso never said that; it was a misquote made famous by Steve Jobs. The actual quote is “immature poets imitate, mature poets steal”, and is from TS Eliot’s 1920 book The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism.

Now, should we discuss the irony that Steve Job himself was known as a prolific “lifter” of other people’s ideas?