The Grammy winner's hit 'Photograph' puts him in the frame over copyright.
The 'Thinking Out Loud' star is known for writing songs that tug the heartstrings, but it's Ed Sheeran's purse strings which may be affected if a new copyright infringement case is successful.
Sheeran, 25, is facing a $US20 million lawsuit brought by American songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard who allege the Brit singer’s 2015 hit song ‘Photograph’ (from his 2014 album 'X') is a copy of their 2009 song ‘Amazing’.
In court documents submitted by Harrington, Leonard and their publishing company HaloSongs write the “similarities reach the very essence of the work”, according to E! News who obtained copies of the submission, which said, “The similarities go beyond substantial, which is itself sufficient to establish copyright infringement, and are in fact striking."
The suit claims ‘Photograph’ copies the “words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody and rhythm” from ‘Amazing’ which was released by singer Matt Cardle after he won the British version of The X-Factor in 2010. The song is also featured on the soundtrack of 2016 film ‘Me Before You’ where it’s expected to earn considerable royalties.
Snow Patrol singer and former Courteney Cox fiancé Johnny McDaid, who was a co-writer on 'Photograph', is also named in the suit.
The U.S. songwriting duo, whose credits include Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Shiver’, have hired lawyer Richard Busch. He previously represented Marvin Gaye’s family in a copyright lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, where the plaintiffs were awarded $US5.3 million.
Busch told NBC News, “My clients are professional songwriters, their work is their life, and I am honored that they have trusted me with this very important case.”
Sheeran and his record label are yet to comment on the case.