Jamal Edwards did not recall Ed Sheeran hit sounding like another song

The SBTV founder said it was ‘very strange’ he hadn’t been told about the court case (Picture: PA/Reuters/Instagram)

Court documents from late music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards said he did not remember thinking there was a similarity between an Ed Sheeran track and another song, which are currently embroiled in a High Court copyright claim.

The SBTV founder gained fame after setting up the music platform in 2006 and was credited with helping to launch a string of UK music acts to stardom, including Dave, Jessie J and Mr Sheeran.

Mr Edwards died last month after a sudden illness, leading to an outpouring of tributes from the British music industry and beyond – including from the Prince of Wales, Sir Richard Branson and former prime minister David Cameron.

Mr Sheeran is now involved in a legal row with two songwriters, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, who claim his 2017 hit Shape Of You rips off parts of their 2015 track Oh Why – something he and his two co-writers deny.

Ahead of the trial which began last week, Mr Edwards had prepared a witness statement in support of his ‘very good friend’ Mr Sheeran.

In the statement signed September 27 last year and read out in court, Mr Edwards said he knew both Mr Sheeran and Mr Chokri but did not know about the court case or that he was mentioned in it until shortly before giving his witness statement.

jamal edwards

Jamal Edwards wrote documents prior to his death, saying he has no recollection of thinking the two songs were similar (Picture: WireImage)

According to Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue, Mr Edwards commented a ‘shifty eyes’ emoji on one of Mr Chokri’s Facebook posts, shortly after the release of Shape Of You.

However, in his written evidence, Mr Edwards disputed this.

He said: ‘I have no recollection of posting, or deleting, a “shifty eyes” emoji on Sami’s Facebook page, as he says I did.’

Mr Edwards continued: ‘This idea that there was a similarity between the Oh Why/Oh I chorus is not a view that I recall having, indeed I do not recall ever having heard Oh Why, and therefore do not believe that this is a view I had.’

Jamal Edwards and Ed Sheeran

Mr Edwards helped launch the careers of Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and Stormzy (Picture: Rex)

Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue’s lawyers argued in written submissions that it is ‘highly likely’ Mr Edwards had listened to Oh Why.

They have also argued that it is ‘unequivocal’ that Mr Edwards posted the ‘shifty eyes’ emoji as Mr Chokri claimed, arguing that ‘limited weight’ should be given to the entrepreneur’s evidence.

In court on Monday, Mr Sheeran stood in the witness box and said that Mr Edwards, who he described as his ‘best friend,’ did not share music with him in 2015 and 2016, explaining that he had only recently done so.

Andrew Sutcliffe QC, for Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue, previously said this argument was ‘not credible.’

In his statement, Mr Edwards said that it was only ‘in the last couple of years’ that he had shared any music with Mr Sheeran.

Mr Edwards later said it was ‘very strange’ that he was not told about the High Court claim, the court heard.

He said: ‘Neither Sami nor anyone else on his behalf has ever spoken to me about the claim, including before using my name to suggest that I thought Ed had done something “doubtful or nefarious”.’

Musician Ed Sheeran arrives at the Rolls Building for a copyright trial over his song Shape Of You, in London, Britain March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Songwriter Mr Sheeran has been attending the trial in person since last week, and spoke in the witness box (Picture: Reteurs)

The star suggested that ‘Sami has not called me about this because he knows it is ridiculous,’ and he was ‘very surprised by the whole situation.’

Mr Sheeran and his co-authors launched legal proceedings in May 2018, asking the High Court to declare they had not infringed Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue’s copyright.

In July 2018, Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue issued their own claim for ‘copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement.’

The trial before Mr Justice Zacaroli continues, with judgment expected to be reserved until a later date.


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