Ed Sheeran copyright issues: How many lawsuits has the singer faced over his music?

The Bad Habits star has made millions from his music, but has been dogged by copyright claims. Here's how many times he's been sued.

 Ed Sheeran leaves US Federal Court in New York City on April 25, 2023. (Photo by Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ed Sheeran is being sued for copyright over his music yet again. (Getty Images)

Ed Sheeran is appearing in court for his second copyright lawsuit in two years.

It is in fact the third time the Bad Habits singer has been sued for claims he had copied another song to create one of his hits.

The Perfect singer, aged 32, is estimated to have a net worth of £147m ($200m) and has five No 1 albums and 11 No 1 singles under his belt. And yet the songwriter and father-of-two keeps being accused to plagiarising other people's music.

Read more: Ed Sheeran reveals mental health struggle after copyright case victory

So which of Sheeran's songs have landed him in court and what has been the outcome?

Ed Sheeran and Eminem perform on stage during the 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Microsoft Theater on November 05, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Ed Sheeran's music has earned him an estimated net worth of £147m. (Getty Images)

We look at the shape of the singer's legal battles to date.


Ed Sheeran performs during the Platinum Pageant on June 05, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Ed Sheeran reached an undisclosed settlement over the Photograph copyright claims. (Getty Images)

Sheeran was first hit with a copyright claim back in 2016 for his 2015 single Photograph, which charted at No 15 in the UK.

Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard sued Sheeran for $20m claiming he had copied "note-for-note" sequences from their track 2012 Amazing, performed by The X Factor winner Matt Cardle.

The claimants were represented by Richard Busch, the same lawyer who represented the family of Marvin Gaye in their successful lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, over their hit Blurred Lines.

Cardle sided with Sheeran, saying: "This is not my lawsuit. I think Ed Sheeran is a genius and 100% deserves all his success.”

Matt Cardle performs at the Roundhouse Gala at The Roundhouse on March 16, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Roundhouse)
Matt Cardle backed Ed Sheeran in the legal battle. (Getty Images for Roundhouse)

In the end Sheeran reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with the songwriters.

Shape Of You

Ed Sheeran outside the Rolls Building, at the High Court in central London, where he is bringing a legal action over his 2017 hit song 'Shape of You' after song writers Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue claimed the song infringes parts of one of their songs. Picture date: Tuesday March 22, 2022. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ed Sheeran entering London's High Court in March 2022 to defend his track Shape Of You against copyright claims. (Getty Images)

In early 2022 Sheeran appeared at London's High Court to defend his 2017 hit single Shape Of You against a copyright dispute.

Songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue accused the singer of stealing parts of their song Oh Why, which was released in March 2015 performed by Sami Switch.

They claimed the repetition of the phrase "Oh I" four times in ascension had been taken from their track.

Their lawyer said in court that Sheeran “borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he will acknowledge it but sometimes he won’t”. Sheeran denied this was true.

During the hearing Sheeran had sung sections of Nina Simone's Feeling Good and Blackstreet’s No Diggity in order to demonstrate that the echo of the pentatonic scale was so common, it could not be attributed to one artist.

Sami Chokri leaves the Rolls Building in central London, where Ed Sheeran has brought legal action over his 2017 hit song 'Shape of You' after song writers Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue claimed the song infringes parts of one of their songs. Picture date: Friday March 4, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Sami Chokri and his co-writer Ross O'Donoghue lost their case again Ed Sheeran. (Getty Images)

He won the case, with the judge ruling, that he “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” stole a musical phrase from Oh Why.

Thinking Out Loud

R&B singer Marvin Gaye holds court at a press conference at Heathrow Airport in circa 1964 as he arrives in London, England. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Ed Sheeran is accused of copying Marvin Gaye hit Let's Get It On. (Getty Images)

Sheeran is currently appearing in court in New York over claims his 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud imitates parts of Marvin Gaye's 1973 hit Let's Get It On.

Gaye died in 1984 but the legal action is being brought by the owners of the estate of his co-writer Ed Townsend.

Sheeran first faced accusations he had copied Let's Get It On in 2016 and the case was dismissed by a judge, without prejudice, in 2017.

The Townsend estate filed a new lawsuit in 2018 and despite Sheeran's attempts to have it dismissed once again, the case is now being heard in front of a jury in the US federal court.

Watch: Ed Sheeran takes the stand in latest copyright trial

Part of the legal case against Sheeran includes a video of Sheeran seguing from Thinking Out Loud into Let's Get It On during a live performance.

The singer testified in court; "If I’d done what you’re accusing me of doing, I’d be an idiot to stand on stage in front of 20,000 people [and play them together]."

Sheeran claims both tracks use a similar but unprotectable chord progression. He said: "It is my belief that most pop songs are built on building blocks that have been freely available for 100s of years."

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran accepts the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance, for
Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance for Thinking Out Loud in 2016. (Getty Images)

The latest trial is expected to last up to two weeks.