Ed Sheeran copyright trial: Songwriter says he ‘feels robbed’
LONDON – Ed Sheeran “belittled” a songwriter who accused him of stealing one of his songs, London’s High Court has heard.
Sami Chokri says he was hurt by the tone of Sheeran’s lawyers’ emails after he noticed similarities between his song Oh Why and Sheeran’s Shape Of You.
“I feel like I’ve been robbed by someone I respect, or respected,” he told the court. “This is years of a cloud over my head. All I heard and read was emails belittling me and my questions.”
He continued: “All I wanted to do was ask for an explanation. If I’d had one we wouldn’t have had to go through with this rubbish.” He later called the trial “the most horrible few weeks of my life”. Mr Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch, says the “oh I, oh I, oh I,” hook on Shape Of You is “strikingly similar” to the chorus of his song, which was released two years earlier. In a witness statement, he said he first became aware of the alleged plagiarism in 2017. “I was a passenger in my girlfriend’s car and Shape Of You came on the radio,” he wrote. “She and I were both shocked to hear the similarities. Mr Chokri later put out a Facebook post saying, “Anyone else think Ed Sheeran’s new song Shape Of You chorus sounds familiar lol?”
“I had lots of responses,” he said, including one from Sheeran’s friend Jamal Edwards featuring the “shifty eyes” emoji, which was later deleted. “I thought maybe he had played a part in showing my song to Ed,” Mr Chokri told the court. “I had no reason to ever consider it coming to circumstances like these.” Before his death last month, Mr Edwards gave a written statement in which he denied playing Oh Why to Sheeran.
“Even if I was sent a copy, I did not share it with Ed,” he wrote.
“I respect what Jamal says,” Mr Chokri responded in court, “but I also believe that Jamal would share music with Ed Sheeran.”
Sheeran and his co-writers Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac have all denied copying Oh Why.