Let’s Talk Copyright Laws
Recently in London, a court has just come forward with a ruling and well-known artist, Ed Sheeran, has won a copyright battle over his fabulous song from 2017 called “Shape of You.”
The accuser, artist Sami Chokri, (aka Sami Switch), claimed Sheeran’s 2017 hit plagiarized his 2015 song “Oh Why.” After hearing the case, the court ruled, Sheeran did not plagiarize, and closed out the case.
Sheeran later released a statement “I’m glad that I won the victory, but a case like this just points out how you can go to court and just make life miserable.” He also said, “there’s now a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there’s no basis for the claim.”
“I think this win is not normally the way it works and at least in my business it almost never happens. From our perspective, we only take cases that we think we have a very high probability of winning for both our client and for us, because we don’t get paid unless we’re successful.
In a commercial setting, people will bring a lawsuit for a copyright infringement case because they think they can get paid off. These are extremely expensive and difficult cases to win. I’m not sure how the legal fees go in Great Britain, but if Sammy Switch can afford to pay the lawyer to handle one of those cases, he must be independently wealthy.”
Most cases that are brought in this country are commercial litigation, by a long shot. Between companies arguing over patents and copyrights, breaches of contract, etc… we find that personal injury litigation is a very small percentage of what goes on, at least in the US. People’s perception of course is that it’s just the opposite. But that’s not the case. Personal injury attorneys, cases, and claimants represent an incredibly small percentage of all the litigation that goes on in our country.
So the answer to your question: do people bring lawsuits because they think they can get a settlement because they don’t think they have any value? Very few lawyers are going to do that because it’s working for nothing when you’re on a contingency basis. Will it happen? Sure, people can bring cases, the law allows that. But in Great Britain, they obviously thought there was merit to that case, or it would’ve been dismissed early on. At least that’s what happens on this side of the Atlantic.
Whether Sammy Switch decided this course of action to further his somewhat unknown music career or to boost his social media presence and following, we don’t know. Either reason, the cost involved in a trademark lawsuit is tremendous and unless we can get Sammy to answer this question, we may never know his reasoning.
We’ll keep our eye out for more updates on this topic, and encourage any readers or listeners of Joe’s weekly interviews whether on TV or radio, to ask any questions you’d like the answers to.
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