Ed Sheeran faces $20M copyright lawsuit for hit song “Photograph”

  • Ed Sheeran faces a lawsuit over his hit song “Photograph”
  • 39 notes of “Photograph” and “Amazing” are identical, says Prosecution
  • California-based songwriters asking for $20M in damages including royalties for the song

Grammy-winning British Pop Star Ed Sheeran is being sued for an alleged similarity in the structure of his song “Photograph” to the song “Amazing” written by two California based songwriters  in 2009 which was recorded by X Factor winner Matt Cardle in 2012.

Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard are asking $20 million for the damages as well as royalties for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit has been signed to Harrington’s company, HaloSongs, in a federal court in the Central District of California.

As part of their evidence, they sent a document composed of the breakdown of the two songs (showing that they have 39 identical notes) and a side-by-side comparison of the two songs.

Entertainment lawyer Ken Abdo, as per an article by CBS News, stated that in order for the complaining party to prove their allegations, they must show that there was some exposure of one song to the other and then substantial similarity will be established by listening to the song and looking at how it lays out as a composition.

Meanwhile, according to Brian Hatt, senior writer of the Rolling Stone, in an interview with Good Morning America, “You don’t have actually to prove that they purposely did it. You just have to prove the similarities are overwhelming enough to owe you the credit. In this case they are claiming that 70% of the cords [notes] is the same is something that, I think 39 notes are the same. They have just to convince the jury that the similarity is enough to turn over the credit for money.”

The attorney hired by the prosecutor was Richard Busch, who had won a case similar to the incident after proving that Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams copied Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” in the now infamous “Blurred Lines.”

“Photograph” was released as the fifth single from Sheeran’s  2014 album “x” and has sold  more that 3.5 million copies worldwide.

The song was also featured in the romantic drama movie “Me Before You” which was released last week.

As of posting, “Amazing” has nearly 2.5M views on YouTube while “Photograph” has over 210M views.

The controversial hit song:

The “Amazing” music video: