Ed Sheeran Sued for $20 Million for Allegedly Copying Song Released by 'X Factor' Winner
By John Boone
Loving can hurt sometimes -- and so can a multimillion-dollar copyright lawsuit.
Ed Sheeran, along with songwriter Johnny McDaid and Sony Music, among others, is being sued for $20 million over an allegation that his hit, "Photograph," copies a track released by Matt Cardle, winner of The X-Factor U.K. in 2010, on a "breathtaking" scale.
"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," the copyright infringement suit filed on Wednesday claims.
In court documents obtained by ET, songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, along with their publishing company, HaloSongs, accuse Sheeran and company of ripping off "words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody, and rhythm."
"Photograph," released on Sheeran's 2014 album, x, and "Amazing," Cardle's single off his 2011 album, Letters, allegedly shares "39 identical notes -- meaning the notes are identical in pitch, rhythmic duration, and placement in the measure" in the choruses, the documents state.
"While Sheeran, McDaid, and the other Defendants received career-defining accolades, awards, and a fortune for 'Photograph,' the true writers of much of 'Photograph' received nothing," the filing reads.
Listen for comparisons between the two tracks below:
Copyright suits are nothing new to the music biz, but this one does carry a heavyweight: It was filed by Richard Busch, the attorney who represented the Marvin Gaye family amid the "Blurred Lines" lawsuit.
Busch argued that Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. ripped their 2013 hit song off Gaye's 1977 hit, "Got to Give It Up," and eventually the family was awarded more than $7 million as the jury found Thicke, Williams, and company guilty of copyright infringement. The case is currently in appeal until 2018.
ET has reached out to Sheeran's reps for comment.
Meanwhile, things aren't exactly great for Sheeran's doppelganger, either. Find out why the singer's look-alike is having a hard time getting a girlfriend in the video below.