US musicians sue Sheeran for $27m for plagiarism

COPYCAT SONG? Sheeran's 2015 hit Photograph is said to have too many similarities to a 2009 song, Amazing.


    Jun 10, 2016

    US musicians sue Sheeran for $27m for plagiarism


    TWO California-based musicians are suing British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran for US$20 million (S$27 million) over his hit song Photograph, which they claim bears a similar structure to one of their songs, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.

    The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Martin Harrington, a songwriter and producer, and Thomas Leonard, a songwriter signed to Harrington's company HaloSongs, in federal court in the Central District of California.

    The two musicians allege Sheeran's ballad Photograph, released as a single last year, has the same musical composition to their song Amazing, which they said they wrote in 2009.

    Other named defendants include Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid, credited as a co-writer of Photograph, as well as units of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Warner Music Group and its subsidiary, Atlantic Recording Corporation.

    Representatives for Sheeran, McDaid, Sony Music, Warner Music and Atlantic did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

    Harrington and Leonard are seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of US$20 million, and royalties from the song.

    In documents that include musical note comparison and chord breakdowns of the two songs, Harrington and Leonard claim the chorus of Sheeran's Photograph shares 39 identical notes with Amazing, saying the similarities are "instantly recognisable to the ordinary observer".