Ed Sheeran Addresses Copyright Lawsuit: 'No Other Choice' But to Fight in Court

A judge ruled that Ed Sheeran did not plagiarize his 2017 hit "Shape of You"

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran. Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Ed Sheeran is speaking out after winning his "Shape of You" copyright case.

A judge ruled on Wednesday that the singer, 31, and his cowriters Steven McCutcheon and Johnny McDaid did not copy the 2015 song "Oh Why" by Sami Chokri and music producer Ross O'Donoghue.

Following the ruling, Sheeran opened up to BBC Two's Newsnight about winning the case, saying "there was no other choice" but to go to court.

"You can get a judgment or you can have a settlement and [when] you know that you're in the right, then you can't settle just out of principle. You can't settle," he said. "Our royalties were frozen and we were given two options and we chose the option that was integral to us."

Sheeran said that being accused of plagiarism has changed how he works. Now, he told the BBC, he films all of his songwriting sessions.

"We've had claims coming through on the songs and we go, 'Well here's the footage and you watch. You'll see there's nothing there,' " he explained.

Referring to the change in his creative process, Sheeran said, "There's the George Harrison point where he said he's scared to touch the piano because he might be touching someone else's note. There is definitely a feeling of that in the studio."

"I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song," he said. "That feeling has now turned into 'Oh wait, let's stand back for a minute'. You find yourself in the moment, second-guessing yourself."

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran.

In their suit, Chokri and O'Donoghue claimed that the "Oh I" hook in "Shape of You" was "strikingly similar" to their own song, PEOPLE previously reported. While a judge noted "similarities between the one-bar phrase," he said, "such similarities are only a starting point for a possible infringement" of copyright.

The judge added that he found it "a matter of fact" that Sheeran had never heard "Oh Why," per the BBC.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

On Wednesday, Sheeran also spoke out after his legal win in a video statement shared to Instagram. He said he was "obviously happy with the result," but cautioned about possible effects of the case.

"I feel like claims like this are way too common now, and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there's no base for a claim," he said.

Sheeran continued, "It's really damaging to the songwriting industry. There's only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify."

Related Articles