Ed Sheeran has been hit with a lawsuit claiming that his single “Photograph” is a straight-up photocopy of another song.
Filed today in California by songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, the suit alleges that “Photograph” substantially copies U.K. singer Matt Cardle’s 2012 single “Amazing."
Cardle won the seventh season of The X Factor in 2010, and “Amazing” was released as a single from his debut album Letters two years later. It had minor chart success in the U.K., but didn’t cross over to U.S. radio the way Sheeran’s songs did.
Sheeran released “Photograph” on his second album X in June of 2014; it would later get a single release in 2015. He cowrote the tune with Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol while the two artists were on tour together in May of 2012, just three months after “Amazing” was released.
The lawsuit notes that both songs make use of nearly identical chord progressions and notably similar melodies. "The songs’ similarities reach the very essence of the work,” it reads. "The similarities go beyond substantial, which is itself sufficient to establish copyright infringement, and are in fact striking. The similarity of words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody, and rhythm are clear indicators, among other things, that ‘Photograph' copies ‘Amazing.’"
Harrington and Leonard are repped by attorney Richard Busch, who netted Marvin Gaye’s family $5.3 million in a copyright infringement suit over Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines.” This time around, he’s seeking damages to the tune of $20 million.