Ed Sheeran has won a High Court copyright battle over his 2017 hit Shape of You.
A judge ruled on Wednesday that the singer-songwriter had not plagiarised the 2015 song Oh Why by Sami Chokri.
Chokri, a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch, had claimed the “Oh I” hook in Sheeran’s track was “strikingly similar” to an “Oh why” refrain in his own track.
Sheeran said he did not remember hearing Oh Why before the legal case.
Shape of You was the UK’s best-selling song of 2017 in the UK and is Spotify’s most-streamed ever.
It was co-written with Sheeran’s collaborators, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon, who also denied allegations of copying.
Legal proceedings were launched in 2018 and resulted in an 11-day trial in London last month.
Giving evidence, Sheeran denied that he “borrows” ideas from unknown songwriters without acknowledgement, insisting he was always “completely fair” in crediting people who contribute to his work.
Andrew Sutcliffe QC, representing Chokri and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue, labelled Sheeran a “magpie”, claiming he “habitually copies” other artists and that it was “extremely likely” he had previously heard Oh Why.
Forensic musicologists were called by both sides to argue the case, giving contrasting views. One said the songs were “distinctly different” but the other argued they contained “significant similarities”.
Ian Mill QC, representing Sheeran, said the case had been “deeply traumatising” for the star and his collaborators, while Chokri described the High Court case “the worst few weeks of my life”.