Ed Sheeran today apologized before the High Court, describing the MacBook he used to create Shape of You as an ‘excitement bottle’. Also, he denied that he was a magpie who stole songs from non-credited songwriters.  

The pop star, 31, has furiously rejected claims by songwriting duo Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue that he copied the song’s ‘Oh-I-oh-I-oh-I-oh-I’ refrain from their track Oh Why. 

He refuted the arguments of Andrew Sutcliffe QC today, and apologised for the mistakes he’d made regarding the disclosure to court. 

Mister Sheeran apologized for saying that at first he had to disposed off a computer that he assumed he used during the creation of Shape Of You. 

“If the silver MacBook was the one I used to create Shape Of You,” he stated in writing, adding that if that is true, his comments regarding not having the MacBook anymore were incorrect.

Ed Sheeran wore a dark suit, tie and face mask as he walked into the Rolls Building near St Paul's Cathedral this morning

Ed Sheeran donned a dark suit, tie, and face mask when he entered St Paul’s Cathedral’s Rolls Building this morning 

Mr Sheeran apologised to the court for initially saying he had disposed of a computer he thought he used at the time of creating Shape Of You so it could not be searched - having since found the silver MacBook in question

He apologised before the court that he originally said he had disposed a computer he claimed he was using at the time of making Shape Of You. The search could not have been performed on it. 

Today, Mr Sheeran said he approaches songwriting without a ‘premeditated thought process’ and ‘makes things up as I go along’. 

He stated in writing that he would keep the song if it sounds good. I often write and record many songs within a single day. A recent session that lasted a week saw me write 25 songs.

“Almost all my songs were written within two hours. These songs are what I refer to as “excitement bottles” – I believe they can be described as “excitement bottles”. If the song is successful, the excitement propels it until it’s done. Otherwise, it will go away and I’ll move onto something.

“It is not unusual to me that Shape Of You was recorded and created at a rapid pace.” 

Mister Sheeran answered that the representative from the record company wanted to know what genre of music he was interested in. He understands that I can write ballads from sleep.

“It’s normal to have downs as a middle-aged man, and this was the topic of many of my songs.”

Later, he added that “My life is full of songwriting.” It is an endless stream of songwriting every month. 

Mr Sutcliffe inquired if Mr Sheeran was an artist. The singer answered: “I mean what is a rapper?” They have raps.

Ed Sheeran said he was 'surprised' the claim had been pursued, arguing that the part of Shape Of You involved in the case is 'very short' and 'consists of nothing more than a basic minor pentatonic pattern which is sung using the words 'Oh I'

Ed Sheeran stated that he was surprised the claim had been filed. He argued that the Shape Of You part in the case was “very brief” and contains only a minor pentatonic structure, which can be sung with the words “Oh I.”

Ed Sheeran denied having heard the 2015 Sami Switch song Oh Why before writing Shape of You in 2017

Ed Sheeran claimed that he had not heard Oh Why from 2015 Sami Switch before composing Shape of You in 2017.

Court heard that the court was able to hear that an area of the composition of Eraser (which shares an album with Shape Of You) took place in less than half an hour.

Later, when asked by Mr Sheeran if he wanted to see Eraser’s lyrics, he replied that ‘I wrote it, I understand it.

Later Mr Sutcliffe stated that it was impossible to write this article in 30 minutes.

Ms. Sheeran replied, “I meant, I did. So I don’t really know what to say.”

The barrister suggested that, because you don’t do it often, you might look for inspiration elsewhere.

This was denied by Mr Sheeran, who listed the songs that he had rapped from different albums. 

Today, Mr Sutcliffe asked Mr Sheeran about his previous settlement of a copyright claim in the United States over Photograph, which was released in 2015. 

Cross-examination revealed that the barrister asked the musician if he had participated in negotiations and the drafting of the agreement.

He said, “My lawyers reviewed it and I believed their recommendations.”

A court was informed that 35% of total gross publishing revenues were to be paid to Martin Harrington, and Thomas Leonard.

Asking him if this was a substantial sum, Mr Sheeran answered: “I followed the advice of lawyers.”

Later, Mr Sutcliffe said that he suggested you settle it as you believed you would lose.

“I followed the advice of my attorneys,” Mr Sheeran said again. 

He previously stated to the court that Mr Sutcliffe ‘borrows ideas from his songs. Sometimes he will admit it, but other times he won’t.

Also, the barrister claimed that acknowledgment by Mr Sheeran was dependent on fame of other artists. He added that Mr Chokri, Mr O’Donoghue, and Rihanna, Mr Chokri, were not Shaggy or Coldplay.

Ian Mill, QC representing Mr Sheeran asked at the beginning of today’s evidence: “Do you accept that your behavior or past behaviour has been in this manner?”

The claims concern his hit 2017 song, Shape Of You

His 2017 hit, Shape Of You is the subject of these claims 

After saying “no”, Mr Sheeran added: “The examples he used are clearly famous artists. Two of these are people with whom I have made songs.

He said that Mr. Sutcliffe should have conducted his research and would have discovered there were many unknown artists with whom he could have cleared certain parts of songs.

According to court hearings, Mr Sheeran claimed that he wasn’t ‘talent spotting’ but was instead ‘plugged into’ the UK’s music scene during 2015’s Sami Chokri’s return.

Mr Sucliffe asked Mr Sheeran: ‘In 2015 you were listening to everything in the UK scene, weren’t you?’

“No,” Mr Sheeran responded, adding later: “I wasn’t connected at all.”

Sutcliffe stated that Sami Switch returned from his two-year absence in 2015. This was a time in which you were talented spotting and glued to the screen.

According to Mr Sheeran who stated that he stopped using social media in 2015, he said he would not be talent-spotting because Jamie Lawson (British artist) was his priority.

Also, he denied that there was any ‘good possibility’ he’d seen several song and video release and tweeted about Sami Switch’s appearance in 2015.

He stated that he had been ‘off’ social networks for most of 2016 and only used his Tesco flip phone.

He claimed he also did not remember meeting Mr Chokri despite claims by the songwriter they met in Nando’s central London restaurant.

One of the five witnesses to Mr Sheeran’s testimony said that he understood that Mr Chokri claimed that he met him at Jamal Edwards’ launch party for SBTV, London Bridge in 2011.

“I can still recall that party. It was in a Nando’s restaurant branch.

“My career was taking off and many people were interested in having their pictures taken with me. It was extremely hectic.

“I don’t recall ever having met anyone else there than Dexter Fletcher. I remain in touch with him.” I don’t recall meeting Mr Chokri.

Later, he added that ‘Prior this litigation I wasn’t aware of Ross O’Donoghue or Sami Chokri and hadn’t heard about the EP Solace which Oh Why appears to have featured on.

Sami Chokri arrives at the the Rolls Building in central London on Friday

Sami Chokri arrived at the Rolls Building, central London, on Friday

Jamal Edwards (the late founder of SBTV YouTube channel) denied that it was possible to share with Mr Chokri the 2015 song Oh Why. The track is the one Mr Chokri has been accused of plagiarising in his 2017 track, Shape Of You.

The court heard Mr Sutcliffe tell the story of Mr Edwards, who was partly ‘dedicated towards finding new artists’. Mr Chokri had also sent him Mr Chokri’s EP Solace. It featured Oh Why.

Under interrogation, Mr Sheeran admitted that Edwards was his “best friend” and said that Edwards is a person who “prided himself in constantly finding new talent”.

However, he said that Edwards did not share music with him in 2015 and 2016 as it was only just recently.

“Similarities” between Sheeran’s Shape of You and duo’s Oh Why 

Ross O’Donoghue, Sami Chokri, and Ross O’Donoghue claim Shape Of You’s hit 2017 infringes “particular lines or phrases” of Oh Why.

They claim the melody of the famous hook of Sheeran’s smash hit, which says ‘oh-I-oh-I-oh-I-oh-I’ was copied from their own track. Their song, Oh Why, features a hook with the words ‘Oh-I-oh-I-oh-I-oh-I’.

Both the hooks of both songs were heard in the courtroom Friday afternoon. Sheeran did not react when Oh Why was played. He also didn’t respond to the song being played later on court speakers. In court were short clips of Shape Of You’s early versions and a clip from Mr Sheeran at Glastonbury 2017. 

Andrew Sutcliffe (QC), claimed that Ross O’Donoghue and Sami Chokri had used the same hooks.

He added: ‘They sound almost identical, they are such that an ordinary, reasonable, experienced listener might think that perhaps one had come from the other. Although this does not prove copying, it is a good starting point.

Sutcliffe stated: “It’s not credible, Mr Sheeran. You were your closest friend and he was at the center of the UK music scene. Is he saying that he only started to share music with us last year?

“Yes, I think that’s exactly what you’re saying,” Mr Sheeran responded, adding that they would talk about football, his mom, and theatre.

“I think it is possible that Jamal Edwards has shared Oh Why with me, don’t you think? Sutcliffe agreed.

“No,” replied Mr Sheeran.

According to Mr Sheeran, he wasn’t surprised that the claim was filed. He claimed the Shape Of You part involved in this case was “very brief” and only consists of the basic minor pentatonic patterns which are sung by the words “Oh My”.

His written evidence stated that both were “commonplace” in his opinion. I’d have done everything to remove Oh Why if it had occurred to me at that time.

Later the singer said that he had tried to credit everyone who made any contributions to any song he wrote.

As many other songwriters, I do sometimes refer to works. My team is informed if I refer to any other work.

“I’ve been extremely careful and even gave credit to people I think may not have had much of an influence on a songwriting component.

“This is my way of treating other musicians fairly.”     

According to the court, Mr Chokri sent tweets to Mr Sheeran and the actor had shouted Mr Sheeran’s name during a performance.

“This is all you say, but this isn’t truthful,” said Mr Sheeran.

M. Sutcliffe was curious: Why are you saying that you didn’t know he existed? Or have you forgotten you knew he exists?

“Yes,” Mr Sheeran replied.   

Before the trial, he stated that it was “very unlikely” that he would be asked to shout Sami Switch’s name during a performance. He also explained that he didn’t do any’shoutouts’ on stage because he would feel bad if that happened.

He said that he received ‘hundreds and thousands’ of tweets, but that it was not something he viewed.

He also was asked about video uploaded by Jamal Edwards, founder of SBTV.

Sami Chokri

Ross O'Donoghue arrives at the the Rolls Building in central London on Friday

Chokri and his singing partner Ross O’Donoghue (right, also seen arriving at the High Court on Friday) claim Sheeran copied aspects of their work 

The court heard from Mr Sheeran that Edwards had ‘championed lots, lots of artists’ and that it was not like he watched all the videos he uploaded.

He said, “I follow him on twitter. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I have read every word he has written.”

Mr Chokri, Mr O’Donoghue claim that Shape Of You violates “particular lines or phrases” of their song, which was released in 2015.

The argument is that the central hook of Shape Of You’s ‘Oh I” chorus sounds strikingly like their own ‘Oh Why?’ refrain.

However, Mr Sheeran’s attorneys have informed the High Court that Steven McCutcheon, John McDaid and John McDaid have no memory of Oh Why prior to the legal battle and denied the accusations of copying.

In May 2018, Mr Sheeran, his co-authors and others filed legal proceedings asking the High Court for a declaration that they hadn’t infringed Mr Chokri’s and Mr O’Donoghue’s copyright.

On July 18, 2018, Mr Chokri, Mr O’Donoghue filed their own claims for copyright infringement damages and an accounting of profits related to the alleged infringement.

Continue the trial.