The Lawyer Who Got $7.4 Million from Pharrell Is Now Suing Ed Sheeran for $20 Million

Breaking: Ed Sheeran Sued For $20 Million For Allegedly Copying X-Factor Winner's Song
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Another music industry lawsuit. This time it’s Ed Sheeran that faces the brunt of a copyright infringement lawsuit…

Ed Sheeran is being sued for a massive $20 million for copying an X-Factor winner’s song, according to a report by Billboard.  And the lawyer chasing him is fresh off a juicy, $7.4 million victory against Pharrell and Robin Thicke for their Marvin Gaye sound-alike, ‘Blurred Lines’.

In this episode of massive copyright infringement, the massive global hit ‘Photograph’ has reportedly been swiped from Matt Cardle, the 2010 X-Factor winner.  Four years ago, Cardle released a song titled ‘Amazing’, which was written by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.  It is Harrington and Leonard that are suing Sheeran for what they call a ‘note-for-note copying’ of their song.

Alongside Sheeran, Johnny McDaid is a credited co-writer of ‘Photograph’; Warner Music, Sony/ATV Songs and Polar Patrol Music Publishing are also being sued.

‘Amazing’ hit number 84 in the UK and has racked up over 1 million views on YouTube, but the success of the song pales in comparison to that of Sheeran’s ‘Photograph,’ which has hit nearly a quarter of a billion views on YouTube.  It is also the first song of Sheeran’s to hit the Billboard artists 100 chart.

According to reports, it’s the chorus that bears the most similarities, with 39 identical notes.  But, it’s not just the notes that are strikingly similar, it’s the melody, rhythm, and style of vocals.  Harrington and Leonard are seeking $20 million as a result, along with statutory damages and most likely, a running royalty.

Richard Busch, the attorney who filed the Marvin Gaye case regarding ‘Blurred Lines,’ is certainly a ferocious opponent.  Sheeran better get ready for a battle.

Below are both songs. There is definitely a striking similarity, what do you think?


(Image by Mark Kent, Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, cc by-sa 2.0)

10 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    This looks pretty thin, though.

    Then again, so did Blurred Lines (and it still does).

  2. Anonymous

    “According to reports, it’s the chorus that bears the most similarities, with 39 identical notes”

    Yeah well, but when you look at the score in Billboard, there are only 7 consecutive notes — two of them being slurred, which brings us down to 6.

    That’s definitely not much. The old 8-rule, which isn’t a rule and never will be, still feels about right in most cases, because 8 notes often equal 2 bars, and it’s hard to develop a motif in less.

    Furthermore, the most prominent sequence in “Photograph” is almost a scale (fggagfe), so you can’t copyright that at all. In “Amazing”, however, that sequence is not a scale; there’s an ‘e’ in between ‘g’ and ‘a’, and an ‘outside’ note, and even a tonic, is not just an afterthought, it’s a real element that makes a real difference.

    As for the chords; that’s just totally ridiculous — that progression is used in hundreds of thousands of songs…

    I think some guys should be just a tiny bit less anal about their songs, especially when they’re not that original.

  3. Jasmine Thornton

    They just want money. Ed Sheerans song is way better than that guys song. Photograph was a hit and he’s mad because he song was not. Ed Sheeran you’re bae. It’ll be okay, you just got some haters.

    • Mark Zevenster

      Does not help to come with you peoples fancy analysis of the song I love Ed Sheeran but this is ridiculous it just about the same song and in this case Matt Cardle sings it so much better than Ed. Love you Ed but this is a low blow Bud! Actually very disappointed in you will have to start listening to your other songs more carefully from now on.

  4. Nina Harris

    I actually prefer the X-Factor winners song better. However, as a musician I sometimes think that these things can be unintentional. To me it doesn’t sound like Ed Sheeran song was blatantly and intentionally ripping off this version, but most likely a subconscious act…still if it were me, I would simply settle out of court and give the songwriers compensation.

  5. Anonymous

    Can’t understand how a 4 chord chorus can be infringed.

    • Anonymous

      They only mention the chords because they know the melodic similarity isn’t striking.

      All Sheeran’s musicologist needs to do now is to prove that the other song isn’t original either, and she can do that in 5 minutes.

  6. JD

    The chorus melody is “similar” phrasing wise but Ed’s is a great song and it is pretty generic in the chorus melodically. Just performed amazingly well by Ed.

    I am sure you can go back to some classical songs and find this exact melody in public domain quite easily. Not guilty!

  7. Anonymous

    Does anyone ever wonder where they really got/probably stole the lyrics from?? Someone should really look into that and then the person that really deserves credit will get the credit they deserve..