British singer / songwriter Ed Sheeran is currently facing a possible 20 million dollar lawsuit for copyright infringement over his hit song ‘Photograph’.
‘Photograph’ was co written by Sheeran and Snow Patrol member Johnny McDaid (who co-wrote much of Sheeran’s chart topping 2014 album ‘x’) and was released on May 11, 2015 going on to achieve both commercial and critical success. The song has also capped a massive 208 million views on YouTube.
US musicians Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard claim that ‘Photograph’ has a similar chord structure and melody to their song ‘Amazing’ which was written in 2009 and released commercially in 2012 by X-Factor winner Matt Cardle. Comparatively ‘Amazing’ has just over 1 million views on YouTube.
The documents being used in the lawsuit include a chord breakdown and note by note comparison of the two songs, with the accusers claiming that the chorus of ‘Photograph’ shares a staggering 39 identical notes with the chorus of ‘Amazing’ and 7 identical chords in an 8 chord sequence.
Harrington and Leonard also claim that the song similarities are “instantly recognisable to the ordinary observer”.
The documents were filed at LA’s federal court on Wednesday. Other defendants being named include McDaid, Sony/ATV music publishing and Warner Music Group. With the official lawsuit statement reading: “Given the striking similarity between the chorus of Amazing and Photograph, (the) defendants knew when writing, publishing, recording, releasing, and distributing Photograph that they were infringing on a pre-existing musical composition.
“The conduct of (the) defendants has been wilful from the inception of the creation of Photograph.
“The copying of Amazing by Photograph is breathtaking in its deliberateness, magnitude, and hubris.”
Harrington and Leonard have employed lawyer Richard Busch to represent them. Busch famously won a lawsuit for the family of soul singer Marvin Gaye after his song ‘Got To Give It Up’ was deemed to have been plagiarised by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in their 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’.
Here are both songs, how similar do you guys think they are?