ed sheeran copyright infringement. Zachary Hiller Law Houston TX
ed sheeran copyright infringement Zachary Hiller Law Houston, TX

Photo: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/

Copyright crusades in the music industry are unfortunately very common. Authors create copyrights when they express their ideas into or onto a tangible medium, which means they are the ones with the legal rights to their work. If an artist owns that work, they are the only one who can lawfully sell or use said work. If anyone is to use their art without the owner’s permission, it’s copyright infringement. This is all too common to hear about in the media, and the latest case to hit social media is the Ed Sheeran copyright infringement dispute.


Ed Sheeran Copyright Infringement

Ed Sheeran is reportedly facing a $20million court battle over his song Photograph – over claims by songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.  That it’s a “note for note” copy of a Matt Cardle song called Amazing, released in 2009. According to the writers, the chorus’s share 39 identical notes. They also claim the two songs utilize similar overall structures, melodic rhythms, and harmonies.

The writers allege in the lawsuit that they sought to resolve their copyright claims privately before going to court.This case is no surprise. Since the song debuted and started becoming popular social media questioned the similarities in the song. There is even a YouTube video created to prove the songs are so alike.

The stakes for Sheeran could be high should the judge find against him.The songwriters are represented by attorney Richard Busch, who helped Marvin Gaye’s family win a lawsuit over Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit single “Blurred Lines.” Read more about that case here.

But what about fair use?

This case does not involve fair use, but many music copyright cases do. Defense against copyright infringement is fair use. This clause allows you to use someone’s copyrighted work without permission, but there are a few key considerations that go with this. First, you use must be for the purpose of comment, news, teaching, education, or research. If it’s not, you cannot use it.

A court will consider the following four factors to determine if your use is a fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The Ed Sheeran case does not fall under fair use as it is claimed to be original and sold for profit.

We will have to wait and see what happens next. Stay tuned on my Facebook page. Until then, if you find yourself worried about your work and copyright give us a call. If you are unsure about your rights as they pertain to copyright laws, it is important to consult with an expert! Get in touch with Zachary Hiller if you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation.

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