Sheeran’s 2014 song “Photograph” has been wildly successful. In fact, the music video has over 326 million views on YouTube. Unfortunately, according to former X Factor winner Matt Cardle, it’s not Sheeran’s song.
Cardle and songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington sued Sheeran. They said he copied their song “Amazing,” which was released five years ago. They added that he imitated the song “note-for-note” and was “unabashedly taking credit” for their music.
The complaint they filed stated, “This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, makes up nearly one half of ‘Photograph,’ and raises this case to the unusual level of strikingly similar copying.”
So what was the punishment? Cardle and the rest were asking for damages over $20 million. Ed Sheeran is worth an estimated $84 million, so he could certainly afford it. Still, he’d definitely rather not admit defeat, especially if he didn’t intend to copy their song. The similarities could have been subconscious–perhaps Sheeran heard the melody once upon a time and it popped up out of his head when he was writing later.