Ed Sheeran now films his entire songwriting process after being sued three times

I have a mild grudge against Ed Sheeran. He seems fine, I begrudgingly enjoy some of his songs, but I find him a bit derivative for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. And apparently I’m not the only one. Ed was recently sued for copyright infringement for the third time.

First, “Photograph” was alleged to be a copy of the chorus from a song by X Factor UK winner Matt Cardle. Ed settled out of court. Second, Ed was sued for “Thinking Out Loud” over alleged similarities to “Let’s Get It On.” A judge said the two songs had substantial similarities, but sent the case to the jury, where it was dismissed without prejudice. And most recently, Ed was sued over “Shape of You” by musicians Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue who alleged the song copied lines and phrases from one of theirs. Ed won this one and now he is going to film his entire recording process to help with future lawsuits.

After winning a plagiarism suit in relation to his song “Shape Of You” on Wednesday, singer Ed Sheeran shares that for years now he’s filmed his entire recording process for his album just to fend off any other claims.

“Now I just film everything, everything is on film,” Sheeran tells BBC.

“We’ve had claims come through on the songs and we go, well here’s the footage and you watch. You’ll see there’s nothing there,” he adds.

High Court Judge Antony Zacaroli ruled in favor of Sheeran this week, saying he “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from the 2015 song “Oh Why” by Sami Chokri, despite any so-called “indisputable similarity between the works.”

“It is so painful to hear someone publicly and aggressively challenge your integrity,’’ Sheeran, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid, and producer Steven McCutcheon said following the ruling. “It is so painful to have to defend yourself against accusations that you have done something that you haven’t done, and would never do.’’

This is far from the first lawsuit leveled at Sheeran, as the singer settled one back in 2014 concerning his song “Photograph.” In the same interview with BBC, Sheeran says he stopped playing the song for a while, and “personally” regrets not fighting the suit. It was shortly after this he started recording his song-writing process.

“I just stopped playing it,” he says. “I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty.”

Listen, we’d probably start recording our every creative move if we were getting slammed with copyright lawsuits on the regular. (Or we’d simply write better music.) On the bright side for the singer, when there’s an inevitable documentary made about one of the biggest names in modern music, there will be plenty behind the scenes footage available.

[Qutoes from BBC via AV Club]

Whenever a celeb says they are recording everything I just assume it’s for a potential future documentary. But I guess it also works against potential lawsuits. I suppose recording all his recording sessions will make him feel better, but it’s not complete proof. It’s not like creativity exclusively strikes at certain times/places. And either way a recording won’t capture the thoughts in a person’s head if they start randomly remembering the melody from a song they heard when they were a kid. Also, if you’re sued for copyright infringement three times, maybe it’s time to rethink your songwriting and production process instead of simply recording it for posterity. Even if it’s not intentional, it’s something that should be picked up on. Is there software for that like there is for print plagiarism?

My reason for finding Ed derivative is actually completely separate from these copyright claims. I am bitter because I believe that Ed has the solo career that Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy could and should have had. They have a similar look (Patrick has updated his look, but you get it) and sound (pop/R&B), but I personally think Patrick is far more talented. His solo effort in 2011 didn’t really hit (I won’t bore you with my speculation about why), but Ed’s first album was released the same year. There was clearly a niche and Ed filled it, but it should have been Patrick! The “Bad Habits” video even reminds me of the video for “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me.'” Fall Out Boy performed at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show (with Taylor Swift no less) in 2013, and Ed performed at it in 2014. Lots of coincidences! Ed is okay and I listen to “Bad Habits” all the time. Ed likes to use symbols for his album titles; maybe the next one should be < (as in Ed < Patrick).

Photos credit: Avalon.red

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41 Responses to “Ed Sheeran now films his entire songwriting process after being sued three times”

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  1. Thinking says:

    I’d like to know what Olivia Rodrigo’s songwriting process is like. Her songs sound like exact copies.

    I shouldn’t bring her name into an Ed Sheeran thread, but I’m like “ she should do this too! I need to know why her songs sound like replicas!”

    • ME says:

      There was a law suit against her by Haley Williams from Paramore. Haley demanded writing credits for one of Olivia’s songs because the hook was almost identical. Haley won and now she gets writing credit for Olivia’s song Good 4 U. I’m not sure if they actually went to court or not, but the matter was settled.

      • Tiffany:) says:

        It didn’t go to court, and Haley didn’t demand anything or “win”. They were in discussions before the song was released.

        “the credit is actually an interpolation — which is essentially an element of a previously recorded song re-recorded and incorporated into a new song — and that the two parties were in touch before “Good 4 U” was released. While their names were not listed in the song’s credits on Spotify at the time of this article’s publication, they do in the ASCAP Repertory database.”


    • Case says:

      In the case of Olivia and specifically Good 4 U — I say this as a huge fan of pop punk, but a lot of pop punk songs sound super similar. I love Paramore but I think they steamrolled her into giving them credit because she’s a newbie. Good 4 U and Misery Business have similarities, but Misery Business was not the first song of its kind by a long shot.

      • Tiffany:) says:

        I completely agree, Case. Popular music is quite similar across the board structurally. There are certain kinds of chords/rhythms that make you feel angst, flirty, etc., and of course a lot of songs use them. That doesn’t mean they were copied.

        I recently watched this AMAZING video that showed how so many current songs are repeatedly using the same patter, and it blew my mind. Will go find link and then will post…

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I thought this was fascinating


      • Thinking says:

        I can see similarities between certain pop songs and different artists. Some of Coldplay`s songs sound similar to other pop songs.

        But one of her songs was outright identical to an Elvis Costello song. However, he didn`t care. So in that instance, it doesn`t matter much what I think.

  2. iforget says:

    Please go off about your theory regarding Patrick Stump! I am a forever FOB fan and Patrick Stump fan <3

    • Levans says:

      Yes! I want to hear it too!

      Was I the only one who thought his name was Patrick Stumpf?

      • iforget says:

        I have no idea 😀 but that’s in my head now hahaha

      • Suze says:

        It was! He changed it to Stump for FOB, then I think he changed his middle name to Vaughn?

        Oops, Peridot posted correctly below – not Stumpf but Stumph!

    • Moss says:

      Me too! Let’s fan fiction!

    • Peridot says:

      Yay, fellow FOB/Patrick fans! I really liked his solo album. Fall Out Boy has such a huge fan base, it really could have been a bigger deal. Especially since he does most of the composing/production on FOB albums. But I think with the “indefinite hiatus,” most fans thought that meant the end and weren’t really receptive to anything outside of FOB (for any of them) and he was pigeonholed in a way. But it bugs me that he was around for years and really went for it with a solo effort that didn’t take, but someone so similar (and imo less talented) broke through at the same time). Anyway, I’m just glad FOB reconvened and we still get new music from them. Hopefully more is coming soon.

      And it is actually Stumph! The H is silent and he dropped it for pronunciation purposes.

      • iforget says:

        Thanks for the reply Peridot! I fully endorse this theory and would not be surprised if this was the case. I do think he is incredibly talented. He may actually be my favourite songwriter, though that could be me putting my nostalgia glasses on. I think I’m going down the Patrick Stumph/FOB rabbit hole tonight! So glad I read this article, thank you for writing it!!

  3. Chaine says:

    If you’re a musician, you probably also listen to lots of music. It’s probably difficult over years of a career not to subconsciously mimic sounds or lyrics you like every once and a while. I like the idea of software that could warn you if you were doing it.

    • Mer says:

      I once made a joke that I thought was really funny, then a few months later I was watching a tv show (I forget which one, Bob’s Burgers maybe) and the joke was almost verbatim from that show. I had stolen it and didn’t even realize it. So yeah, if your entire career is music – or comedy, or writing – I can see how you could accidentally copy something you had already seen/heard without even knowing it. But, you still have to make amends even if it is accidental.

    • Maida says:

      Agree, and I also agree with the points above that pop music tends to use certain chord progressions. Unintentional plagiarism is possible, as is independently coming up with a similar sound. And any musician with a lot of money is likely to be a target for lawsuits, because musicians in general are poorly paid and there’s an incentive to settle cases rather than go to trial (because going to trial frequently costs more).

  4. Cinders says:

    Ed also had to give retrospective song credit for Shape of You to the writers of TLC’s No Scrubs. I think there are a few other similar instances.
    He seems a nice enough guy I suppose, but I do find him very bland. Not to mention over-exposed – there’s no getting away from him in the UK. And IMO Galway Girl is one of the worst songs ever written.

    • Noki says:

      The UK media always cling to certain acts or individuals for dear life. Whether they hype or loathe them but its like there is only space for a select few for a number of years. I remember the Robbie Williams years gosh OTT

  5. Noki says:

    Unless you record yourself 24/7 but even then it doesnt make sense. Like the writer said,if you subconsciously create a melody in your head and its possible you heard it before whats recording going to prove. I am surprised there isnt software for this.

  6. Loco Moco says:

    Ed seems like a nice guy. One never knows who is going to blow up and so, it’s not his fault if another artist doesn’t make it.

  7. NCWoman says:

    I can’t stand Ed, but if you are writing specifically for pop music hits the way he does, a lot of what you write will sound very similar to songs other people have written. Pop doesn’t have a lot of innovation musically or lyrically. But that doesn’t mean it’s plagiarism. I don’t think his process is necessarily the issue. I think a lot of artists have been so undercut financially by streaming that they’re bringing cases that have little merit hoping for a settlement.

    • Juju says:

      NCWoman, I totally agree. When it comes to pop music the tools that musicians play with (key, notes, rhythms, lyrics) are actually relatively limited when you consider the volume of material being generated over the last century.

      Like the lawsuits against Dua Lipa. She and her producers intentionally wrote a song in the style of disco. So it is absolutely no surprise to me that there are some obscure disco songs out there that have similar notes and or patterns in them. It doesn’t mean that she ever heard those songs… it’s just that these patterns & notes are common in the disco genre of music.

      But this is all my opinion, and I’m not a music theory genius.

      PS: there is an Ed Sheehan song that totally reminds me of the love theme from The Princess Bride. Does anyone else hear that?

      • Tiffany:) says:

        I agree, NCWoman and Juju.

        I think there are a lot of people deciding these cases that don’t understand music, and their decisions have opened the flood gates for some very opportunistic people. Plus, most people at Ed’s level will have an insurance policy for this kind of liability, so they filers of the suits hope that insurance will just settle out of court to make it go away.

    • Juju says:

      NCWoman, I totally agree. When it comes to pop music the tools that musicians play with (key, notes, rhythms, lyrics) are actually relatively limited when you consider the volume of material being generated over the last century.

      Like the lawsuits against Dua Lipa. She and her producers intentionally wrote a song in the style of disco. So it is absolutely no surprise to me that there are some obscure disco songs out there that have similar notes and or patterns in them. It doesn’t mean that she ever heard those songs… it’s just that these patterns & notes are common in the disco genre of music.

      But this is all my opinion, and I’m not a music theory genius.

      Ps: there is an Ed Sheeran song that sounds like a love theme from the Princess bride, IMO.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    Ed seems like a nice guy but he is massively over rated. Never understood his musical appeal as his sound is not new and I always thought he sounded like other people.

    I listened to both tracks in his recent case and while there r similarities it was clear it wasn’t a copy. U would never have heard of the song or the artist if it wasn’t due to the court case and it couldn’t be proved the Ed or any of his production team had heard it before.

  9. Lucía says:

    Well, I do love Ed and Patrick! And FOB, too. I think there’s enough room for all of them to coexist.

  10. TIFFANY says:

    He should not have the career he does. I never liked this dude for a multitude of reasons and he gone tell on himself and they are going to become public sooner rather than later.

  11. Case says:

    I find these cases really, really silly and they rarely have merit. There are only so many notes and chords musicians can play, and sometimes songs will sound similar, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same.

    • Fleur says:

      I agree 100%!! The blurred lines lawsuit never should have been ruled in favor of Marvin’s estate, and even at the time there were op Ed’s about how the ruling would be problematic for future cases. it opened the door for these crazy lawsuits.

  12. Suze says:

    I have no feelings toward Ed Sheeran, but I love your vehement defense of Patrick Stump! He’s so talented, and it is a shame that his solo career didn’t take off.

    Funny thing – my son is super into “Spidey and His Amazing Friends” and Patrick Stump wrote and sang the theme song! First time I heard it I did a double-take. Maybe that means I can get my son into Fall Out Boy and finally listen to Encanto a teeny bit less…

    • Peridot says:

      Lol, I think about it every time I see/hear Ed Sheeran! I bet no one clicked on this article expecting a die hard FOB stan to reveal herself.

      • Msmlnp says:

        I was lucky enough to go to hella mega tour last year – was there for Green Day- wasn’t really a FOB fan but
        HOLY SH*T can Patrick sing!!! One of the best live singers I’ve ever heard. And the FOB part of the show was amazing- both my son and I left big fans !

      • Suze says:

        @Peridot – I was huge into FOB/MCR/PaTD fandom back in the day, so when I started reading your defense of Patrick I was just like, “one of us! one of us!”

  13. Hereforit says:

    Allegedly they all use the same ghostwriters dua Ed Taylor etc

  14. lucy2 says:

    I know I’ve probably heard lots of his songs, but I couldn’t pick one out of a music line up. I haven’t listened to current pop in a while.
    If he’s been sued that often, I don’t blame him for filming everything. He’s probably spent a lot in attorney fees.

  15. Sebastian says:

    Don’t forget that Ed Sheehan also lost a case from Tameka Tiny Cottle and Kandi Buress, the songwriters of No Scrubs, he plagiarised that song also for Shape Of You. Now Tiny and Kandi get paid every time that song is played and that gives me joy

  16. Luna17 says:

    Ed is so boring and his music sounds so generic. Don’t most of these pop machine stars like Olivia Rodrigo and Ed have dozens of writer and producers actually creating these songs? The same teams everyone uses so they all sound the same. It’s not like Olivia and Ed are well versed in music composition and studied it for years and write their own stuff without the help of actual musicians , they’re just part of the pop machine and contribute enough to get credit. Doubt if anyone will remember them in a decade or so anyways. These marketed pop stars don’t have a long shelf life and don’t really have an impact on music history.

  17. Busyann says:

    OMG! I didn’t know any of this, but whewww this is the type of juicy topic that I like. Now I really want to know more. I used to really believe in the saying “Once An Accident, Twice A Coincidence, Three Times A Pattern” and then well….I’m all in stan twitter now for something completely unrelated and I’ve learned to not believe in coincidences. Just believe whatever is right in front of your face…the truth is usually pretty obvious. Being sued that many times reeks of guilt.

    Anyway, Kaiser what will it take to get your thought’s on Patrick’s album failing? I’ll give you all of the white chocolate in the world. My guess…record label shenanigans?

  18. Rachel nz says:

    Songs almost all sound the same.