Did Ed Sheeran Steal “Photograph”? $20m Lawsuit Says Yes
It feels like only yesterday that we were covering Justin Bieber’s plagiarism accusations for his hit song “Sorry.” But, since this is the 21st century and we have the most widespread access to music in human history, it was just a matter of time before theft accusations surfaced against a popular artist again.
This time, the target is Ed Sheeran. The Hollywood Reporter reports that songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, who have written songs for Kylie Minogue and former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, are suing Sheeran for a head-spinning $20 million.
The songwriters allege that Sheeran’s song constitutes “verbatim, note-for-note copying” of their 2009 song “Amazing,” which was recorded by X Factor winner Matt Cardle in 2010. “Photograph,” which hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart in 2015, was co-written by Sheeran and Johnny McDaid. Sheeran, McDaid, publishers Sony/ATV Songs, Warner Music, and Polar Patrol Music Publishing are all named as co-defendants.
What makes this lawsuit such a big deal is that the lawyer behind it, Richard Busch, has won several cases like this in the past. Last week he won a case for Madonna, and, most notably, he won the Marvin Gaye/”Blurred Lines” case.
Also notable is how detailed the lawsuit’s breakdown of the songs’ similarity is. Here’s a graphic from the filing:
Why don’t you judge for yourself? Here’s Sheeran’s hit “Photograph”:
And here’s Matt Cardle’s version of “Amazing”:
What do you think? Are the two songs too similar, or is this a frivolous lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!