Sheeran and Others v Chokri and Others: ChD 6 Apr 2022

Insufficient Evidence to say Song was Copied

S sought a declaration that he had not copied the defendant’s song with his own. The court examined the musical details of both songs.
Held: The song was not copied. The defendant had not shown that the claimant knew anything of the defendant’s song ‘Oh Why’. The fact that it was available to be heard on the internet was not evidence that it had been listened to by the claimant. Though the defendants claimed to have made efforts to bring their songs to the claimants attention, there was no evidence that they had succeeded, and the song at issue had not been sent. Other mechanisms suggesting a possibility that the claimant had become aware of the song also failed.
While there were similarities, there were also significant differences, and indeed there was compelling evidence of different sources of the tunes.


Mr Justice Zacaroli


[2022] EWHC 827 (Ch)


Bailii, Judiciary


Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988


England and Wales


CitedFrancis Day and Hunter Ltd v Bron CA 1963
The test of substantial similarity in copyright infringement cases is an objective one. That assessment is for the court with such assistance from the evidence and parties as it can muster. To be an infringement there must be ‘some causal . .
CitedDesigners Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd (Trading As Washington DC) HL 28-Nov-2000
Copyright Claim: Was it Copied, and How Much?
The claimant sought to enforce its copyright in artwork for a fabric design Ixia, saying the defendant’s design Marguerite infringed that copyright. Two issues faced the House. Just what had been copied and if any, then did this amount amount to the . .
CitedFinancial Services Authority v Rourke ChD 19-Oct-2001
The applicant sought a declaration that the defendant had acted in breach of the Act, in accepting sums by way of deposit, without being authorised, and had made prohibited statements to attract such deposits. Could a civil court make such a finding . .
CitedNokia Corporation v Interdigital Technology Corporation CA 5-Dec-2006
Appeal against refusal to dismiss claim for breach of mobile phone patents. Appeal dismissed.
‘Normally before the Court will exercise its discretion to grant a declaration, there must be some real reason for doing so. Normally it will decline . .
CitedMitchell v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) PCC 21-Dec-2011
Action for copyright infringement alleged in children’s cartoon programme. . .
CitedThe Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others v Meltwater Holding Bv and Others CA 27-Jul-2011
The defendant companies provided media monitoring services, automatically searching web-sites for terms of interest. The claimant newspapers operated a licensing system through the first claimant permitting the re-use of the content on its members . .
CitedInfopaq International v Danske Dagblades Forening ECJ 12-Feb-2009
ECJ (Opinion) Directive 2001/29 – Articles 2 and 5 – Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society – Reproduction right – Exceptions and limitations – Temporary acts . .
CitedBaigent and Another v The Random House Group Ltd CA 28-Mar-2007
The claimants appealed against a decision that the defendant’s book, the Da Vinci Code, had not infringed their copyright. The judge had found some copying, but not so much that a substantial part had been copied.
Held: Mummery LJ said: ‘In . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Updated: 07 April 2022; Ref: scu.675586