Another day, another song theft lawsuit! This time, Ed Sheeran and a co-writer, Johnny McDaid along with connected entities, are a defendants in a case filed by the songwriters of a tune released by X Factor UK 2010 winner, Matt Cardle.
From Billboard Magazine:
Song theft lawsuits are increasingly common, but this one has plaintiffs who have written chart-toppers for many prominent artists in the industry including Kylie Minogue and Spice Girl Emma Bunton. The suing songwriters, Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, along with their publishing company HaloSongs, say Sheeran’s “Photograph” derives from their 2009 work, “Amazing,” which was recorded and released as a single by Matt Cardle, the winner of the 2010 season of the television competition show The X Factor. Perhaps most notably, the plaintiffs are represented by attorney Richard Busch, whose last big copyright lawsuit was on behalf of the Marvin Gaye family over the hit, “Blurred Lines.” That one resulted in a head-turning $5.3 million judgment.
“My clients are professional songwriters,” says Busch. “Their work is their life, and I am honored that they have trusted me with this very important case.”
Marvin Gaye’s family cleaned up in a case that appeared at first glance to be difficult to win. Good luck Ed! The lawsuit comes complete with handy-dandy comparison figures of chord progressions and musical notation, which you can check out at the Billboard link. The suit claims the songs share “39 identical notes — about 70 percent — in pitch, rhythmic duration and placement in the measure.”
The plaintiffs are seeking a portion of the song’s profits which are estimated to exceed $20 million, plus statutory damages, and either an injunction or a running royalty.
UPDATE: Matt Cardle wants the internet to know that he did not write the song in question, so back off maybe?
Please read news articles closely. This is not my lawsuit. I think @edsheeran is a genius & 100% deserves all his success ???? X
— Matt Cardle (@mattcardle) June 9, 2016
Here’s a side by side audio comparison via You Tube. What do you think? Do the plaintiffs have a case?