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Ed Sheeran settles $20M lawsuit over hit song Photograph

Ed Sheeran has settled a multi-million dollar legal dispute over song writing credits for his 2014 track Photograph.

The British singer, 26, was accused of making a 'note-for-note copy' of a Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard song called Amazing, released by former The X Factor winner Matt Cardle seven years ago.

In court documents obtained by MailOnline in June 2016, Harrington and Leonard, along with HaloSongs, were seen to action against Ed and his co-writer, Snow Patrol star Johnny McDaid in a $20 million (£16 million) lawsuit.

But California based judge James Selna has since confirmed the case has been dismissed after Sheeran reached an agreement with the two songwriters, who have previously written for Kylie Minogue, 5ive and Emma Bunton. 

Details of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Photograph came out in 2014 as part of the No. 2 album Multiply and has most recently been used in the soundtrack for big screen romance Me Before You. 

Sheeran and McDaid were specifically accused of, 'participating in a scheme aiding, inducing, and contributing to copyright infringement in the U.S.' 

Harrington and Leonard claimed Photograph - among others on the album - 'copied, and exploited, without authorization or credit, the work of other active, professional songwriters, on a breathtaking scale, unabashedly taking credit for the work of these songwriters by claiming it to be their own.'

 'This copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying, makes up nearly one half of Photograph, and raises the case to the unusual level of strikingly similar copying,' they wrote in legal papers filed last summer.  

They also took issue with 39 notes in the chorus that share 'pitch, rhythmic duration, and placement in the measure.'

There was also, they claimed,  a similarity of words, vocal style, vocal melody, melody, and rhythm are clear indicators, among other things, that Photograph copies Amazing.'

Amazing was originally released by Matt, who won British TV talent competition The X Factor in 2010, charting at a disappointing Number 84 in UK.

Matt competed in the same year that international pop sensations One Direction were formed and his debut single When We Collide went straight to No1.

Conversely Sheeran’s single Photograph reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 15 in the UK singles chart in 2014.  

Though Matt was not involved in the lawsuit, Harrington and Leonard called in representation from Richard Busch, the attorney who won $7million (£4.8M) on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s family against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in March 2015.

Harrington was previously behind What Took You So Long, his first release, which went on to reach No1 in the UK Singles Chart for former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

He also wrote Let’s Dance for 5ive, Love at First Sight by Kylie Minogue and produced with Natalie Imbruglia on her album Counting Down The Days.

It has been alleged that the song-writing duo failed to settle the lawsuit out of court but since December 2015, Ed has been taking a break from the spotlight. 

Ed shot to fame with the hit single The A Team in 2011, which was the first track from his breakthrough album Plus.