Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You “coincidentally sounds like another artist’s song”

Ed Sheeran’s hit Shape Of You is ‘coincidentally similar’ and has ‘distinctive differences’ to a song by another artist he is accused of copying, a music expert says in a copyright lawsuit.

American forensic musicologist Anthony Ricigliano concluded in a report that it was “objectively unlikely” that any similarities between the 2017 track and Sami Chokri’s song Oh Why “resulted from copying”.

Mr Sheeran denies that Shape Of You ripped off the 2015 song by Mr Chokri – a grime artist who performs under the name Sami Switch.

Mr Chokri and his co-writer Ross O’Donoghue say a central “Oh I” hook in Mr Sheeran and his co-writers’ song is “strikingly similar” to an “Oh Why” chorus in their own composition.

Sami Chokri (Yui Mok/AP)

(PA wire)

Mr Ricigliano gave evidence of his analysis of the two songs during an ongoing trial at the High Court in London on Wednesday.

The lawyers of Messrs. Chokri and O’Donoghue claim that when the melodies of the two songs are transposed in the same key “the progression of the notes is the same”.

They also claim that the rhythm of the tracks’ melodies are “almost identical”, that their use of instrumentation “creates a surprisingly similar sound and texture”, and that the vowel sounds in the sung melody “further reinforce the similarity of sound. and musical texture”.

Mr Ricigliano, who was instructed by lawyers for the Shape Of You co-authors but told the court he was “completely impartial”, said in a report that he considered the extent of the alleged similarities between the two songs as “exaggerated”.

He wrote that “the overall design and musical development of the melodic, harmonic and lyrical content of the relevant phrase in Shape of You is distinctly different from that used in Oh Why”.

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Mr Ricigliano added: ‘The similarities as they exist, when placed in context, in my opinion lack significance in relation to the alleged copying of Oh Why.

“These are common forms of expression, both in terms of use by other writers and by Mr. Sheeran himself.

“My view, therefore, is that it is objectively unlikely that any similarities would result from the copying.”

Ed SheeranJoshua Bratt/PA

(PA wire)

Mr Sheeran argued in his written evidence that his song’s Oh I phrase uses “a basic minor pentatonic pattern” which is “quite common”.

In his report, Mr. Ricigliano paraphrased a quote from composer Leonard Bernstein, writing: “The pentatonic scale is mankind’s favorite scale and is so well known that examples can be found all over the world. “.

In court, Andrew Sutcliffe QC, representing Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue, asked the expert: “You accept, do you not, Mr Ricigliano, that despite all your research, you have not found no example in any corner of the earth in the last 200 years. years that sound phonetically the same as the chorus of Oh Why and the post-chorus of Shape Of You.

“That’s right,” Mr. Ricigliano said.

“Don’t you find that extraordinary? Mr Sutcliffe asked, the expert replying: ‘No’.

The lawyer described the song’s two lines as appearing “a few months apart” and suggested that they sound “almost the same”.

“I disagree with the characterization,” Mr Ricigliano said, adding that the two are “coincidentally similar” and that there are “distinctive differences.”

The expert said that based on his analysis of Mr Sheeran’s work there was ‘nothing he did that did not reflect what he had done before’, adding that his conclusion was that “it was written by him and his associates”.

John McDaid (Yui Mok/AP)

(PA wire)

Another music expert, Christian Siddell, appointed by the lawyers for Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’Donoghue, is due to testify on Wednesday afternoon.

The three co-writers of Shape Of You – Mr Sheeran, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon – filed a lawsuit in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare that they had not breached copyright of Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’Donoghue.

In July 2018, Mr. Chokri and Mr. O’Donoghue filed their own suit for “copyright infringement, damages and profit reporting in connection with the alleged infringement”.

The trial before Judge Zacaroli continues, with judgment expected at a later date.

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