×

Ed Sheeran Sued for Copyright Infringement Over ‘Photograph’

Ed Sheeran has been slapped with a major lawsuit over his hit “Photograph,” with the plantiffs claiming that the song is a “verbatim, note-for-note copying” of their 2009 song “Amazing,” which was released as a single by 2010’s “X-Factor” winner Matt Cardle.

Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, who have written tracks for Kylie Minogue and Spice Girl Emma Bunton, and their publishing company HaloSongs, are suing Sheeran for $20 million. The lawsuit was filed by Richard Busch, who served as lawyer on behalf of the Marvin Gaye family on the high-profile “Blurred Lines” copyright case.

The “Blurred Lines” case was settled last year for $5.3 million.

“My clients are professional songwriters,” said Busch. “Their work is their life, and I am honored that they have trusted me with this very important case.”

The chorus in “Photograph” and “Amazing” share about 70% of notes, alleges the suit. The lawsuit makes the case that both the original composition by Harrington and Leonard and the recorded version by Cardle are too similar to “Photograph.”

“The songs’ similarities reach the very essence of the work,” states the complaint. “The similarities go beyond substantial, which is itself sufficient to establish copyright infringement, and are in fact striking. The similarity of words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody and rhythm are clear indicators, among other things, that ‘Photograph’ copies ‘Amazing.'”

Sheeran, along with Johnny McDaid, Sony/ATV Songs, Warner Music and Polar Patrol Music Publishing are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. According to the complaint Sheeran’s song “is the most valuable of all of the assets of Polar Patrol, and increased the price of the sale. The profits of Defendants that Plaintiffs are entitled to recover thus include the portion of Polar Patrol’s sale price that may be attributable to the inclusion of the infringing ‘Photograph’ composition.”

The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction or running royalty and statutory damages. “Photograph” was recently licensed for the “Me Before You” soundtrack.

Listen to both songs below.

Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSDgHBxUbVQ

Matt Cardle’s “Amazing”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWtP_1lyghM

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Review: Taylor Swift Finds Giddiness, Amid

    Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Lover'

    Sitting in a hot tub on “Saturday Night Live,” Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch stole the sobriquet “love-ah” from the lexicon of acceptable terms of endearment — and, by golly, Taylor Swift is reaching into that oily water and stealing it back. The word doesn’t sound unctuous on her lips as she repeats it in [...]

  • Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

  • Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings

    Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings 'Archer' During YouTube Livestream (Watch)

    Taylor Swift went live on YouTube today to talk about the inspiration behind her new album “Lover,” dropping tonight. Those who tuned into the live event on Swift’s YouTube channel were virtual attendees of the “Lover’s Lounge,” which included an acoustic performance of her already released single “The Archer,” a Q&A sesh and a behind-the-scenes [...]

  • Missy-Elliot VMA

    Missy Elliott to Drop New EP, ‘Iconology,’ Tonight

    It’s been nearly 15 years since Missy Elliott dropped her last album, and in that time she’s released a handful of songs, made some guest features, played some lconcerts, appeared alongside Katy Perry at the 2015 Super Bowl and this year she’s been voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on Monday night she’ll [...]

  • John Janick Interscope Geffen

    And the New Interscope Records Publicity Chief Is...

    Variety has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music business: Cara Donatto is joining Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) as its new head of publicity. She arrives at the Universal Music Group label from Atlantic Records, where she has spent nearly two decades of her career guiding public relations strategy for such artists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content