Ed Sheeran has settled a US$20m plagiarism lawsuit for his ARIA #9 song ‘Photograph’.
In 2016, songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington claimed Sheeran’s hit single had a similar structure to their song, ‘Amazing’.
‘Amazing’ was recorded in 2009 and released by 2010 X Factor UK winner Matt Cardle.
The complaint, which included sheet music, was filed in the US in July last year. It claimed Sheeran’s track shared 39 identical notes: “This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, [and] makes up nearly one half of Photograph.”
Court papers were filed on April 7 dismissing the case with prejudice.
The settlement terms weren’t disclosed but the papers said a California federal court would retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of an agreement.
Leonard and Harrington had impressive representation with Richard Busch, the attorney who acted on behalf of the Marvin Gaye family in the copyright lawsuit over ‘Blurred Lines.’
Co-defendants Sheeran, co-writer Johnny McDaid, Sony/ATV and Warner Music were represented by Michael Niborski and Ilene Farkas at Pryor Cashman.
It’s a welcome payday for Leonard and Harrington. ‘Photograph’ hit #9 in Australia, #10 in the US, #15 in the UK and its video clocked up over 300 million views on YouTube. Meanwhile, ‘Amazing’ peaked at #84 in the UK and didn’t chart in Australia.
Listen to the two tracks below: