Ed Sheeran and two co-writers have been awarded £916,200 ($1.1 million) in legal costs after winning their copyright case.
The ‘Shape of You’ hitmaker and collaborators Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid – who were accused of copying ‘Oh Why’ by grime artist Sami Chokri and Ross McDonoghue – have been awarded an interim payment 11 weeks by a judge after winning their High Court legal battle.
In his ruling, Mr. Justice Zacaroli said: “I consider it is appropriate that the claimants’ success is reflected in an order that their costs are paid by the defendants, without reduction save for that which is made as part of the process of detailed assessment.”
Meanwhile, the judge rejected Chokri and O’Donoghue’s claims that Sheeran and his partners should pay their own legal costs as they failed to provide documents, and added that they showed “awkwardness and opacity”.
There is expected to be a further hearing to assess the sums and finalise the total.
Earlier this year, the judge acknowledged there were “similarities between the one-bar phrase” in ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Oh Why’ but said “such similarities are only a starting point for a possible infringement” of copyright.
After studying the mual elements, he found there were ” differences between the relevant parts” of the songs, which “provide compelling evidence that the ‘Oh I’ phrase” in Ed’s song “originated from sources other than Oh Why”, and so declared the ‘Castle on the Hill’ hitmaker had “neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied” the track.
The judge noted there was only a “speculative foundation” for the defence’s argument Ed had heard the 2015 song before writing his.
He added: “I find, as a matter of fact, that he had not heard it.”
After the verdict was delivered, Ed, Johnny and Steven – who is known as Steve Mac – said they were “grateful” for the ruling but admitted having to prove themselves and their integrity had been “painful”.