Songwriters claim Sheeran "exploited" their work on Matt Cardle's song 'Amazing'
Singer-song writer Ed Sheeran is facing a US$20m (€17.5m) lawsuit for allegedly copying a song released by X-Factor winner Matt Cardle.
The songwriters behind Cardle's 2011 single 'Amazing' claim Sheeran "exploited" their work on a "breathtaking scale" for his 2015 hit 'Photograph'.
The copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in California by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard, alleges 'Photograph' has the same musical composition as 'Amazing', which in some instances amounts to "note-for-note copying".
'Photograph' has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide and features prominently in romantic drama movie 'Me Before You', which was released last week, according to the lawsuit. It has also had a whopping 208 million YouTube views.
'Amazing', on the other hand, reached No 84 in the UK charts and had just one million YouTube hits.
Mr Harrington and Mr Leonard are seeking a jury trial, damages in excess of US$20m (€17.5m) and royalties from the song.
Other named defendants include Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid, credited as a co-writer of 'Photograph', units of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Warner Music Group and its subsidiary, Atlantic Recording Corporation.
According to the lawsuit, 'Photograph' shares 39 identical notes with 'Amazing'. It also points to a similarity of "words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody, and rhythm".
The complaint outlines that Sheeran and McDaid, "the credited writers of the international hit song 'Photograph' [took] credit for the work of these songwriters by claiming it to be their own."
"This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, and makes up nearly one half of Photograph," further adding that they "copied, and exploited, without authorization or credit, the work of other active, professional songwriters."
The statement continues: "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."
Grammy-winning Sheeran (25) is one of Britain's top-selling artists. He has written and co-written tracks for artists such as One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
The lawsuit comes after the family of late soul singer Marvin Gaye won a US$7.4m (€6.49m) copyright infringement lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their hit song 'Blurred Lines'.