Two months after winning his plagiarism lawsuit over the hit song “Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran has been awarded more than $1 million in legal costs.
Sheeran and his two co-writers, Steve McCutcheon and Johnny McDaid, had been locked in legal battle for years with Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, a pair of songwriters who claimed that the 2017 mega-hit ripped off their track “Oh Why.”
But on Tuesday, a judge shut down Chokri and O’Donoghue’s push to have Sheeran and his team pay for their own legal costs, arguing that they didn’t provide documents and “demonstrated ‘awkwardness and opacity,'” according to the BBC.
“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,” said the judge, who reportedly awarded the trio an interim payment of £916,200, which equates to about $1.12 million.
Sheeran, 31, won his suit in April, with a judge ruling that he “neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied” “Oh Why” while writing “Shape of You.”
The victory came after an 11-day trial in March, during which the Grammy winner testified that he often shares credit with lesser-known artists, and added the team behind TLC’s “No Scrubs” to the writing credits for “Shape of You” after its release.
He also reportedly sang “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and “No Diggity” by Blackstreet to demonstrate that the melody he was accused of stealing is actually quite commonplace in pop music.
Since winning the case, Sheeran — who announced last month that he welcomed his second daughter with wife Cherry Seaborn — has been outspoken over similar issues and lawsuits, which he believes are “really damaging” to the songwriting industry.
“I feel like claims like this are way too common now, and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there’s no base for a claim,” he said in a video statement shared to Instagram in April. “It’s really damaging to the songwriting industry. There’s only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify.”
He continued: “I don’t want to take anything away from the pain and hurt suffered from both sides of this case, but I just want to say I’m not an entity, I’m not a corporation. I’m a human being, I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a son. Lawsuits are not a pleasant experience, and I hope that this ruling, it means that in the future, baseless claims like this can be avoided. This really does have to end.”