Remember last May’s music video for “Photograph?”
It was a compilation of scenes from British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s childhood and it sent fans of the musician to tears as the words “we keep these memories for ourselves” played over the image of baby Sheeran toddling along a sidewalk in a puffy jacket.
The fifth single from Sheeran's 2014 sophomore album “X” became a top 20 hit in the summer, marking Sheeran as just the ninth male solo artist since 2010 to score four top 20 hits at the time, according to Billboard.
It wasn’t his most successful song, nor was it his most successful video — “Thinking Out Loud” takes that title, with more than 1.1 billion views on Youtube as of Wednesday — but it was an earworm of a tune that peaked at 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 Charts in late September.
Well, now Sheeran and his producers have been tagged in a lawsuit out of Los Angeles for an alleged copyright violation, as first reported by the Tennessean Wednesday afternoon.
Songwriters Martin Harrington and Tom Leonard sued Sheeran on the grounds that the chorus of his song is, essentially, a note-for-note ripoff of a song they gave to 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle. (Yes, 2010 is the same year One Direction lost the British talent show. The jury was never out on which became the most successful act.)
The “Amazing” music video had just more than 1 million Youtube views Wednesday afternoon.
“The lawsuit attempts to make the case that ‘Photograph’ ... is too similar to both the composition written by Harrington and Leonard as well as the version recorded by Cardle,” Billboard writes.
“The songs’ similarities reach the very essence of the work,” states the complaint Billboard cited. “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.’ ”
Listen to the songs for yourself ... the similarities seem plenty clear.
Representing Leonard and Harrington is King and Ballow's Richard Busch, the same lawyer that represented Marvin Gaye's family in the successful case against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."
This case is poised to drum up more anxiety in the music industry. If something is going to pull Mr. Sheeran out of his self-inflicted social media hiatus — let's not count his Red Nose Day video as a return to Twitter — this debacle is sure to.