d Sheeran has denied he “borrows” ideas from other artists to use in his hit songs without acknowledgement.
The Grammy Award-winning musician is embroiled in a court battle with songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue who claim Mr Sheeran’s 2017 single “Shape of You” infringed “particular lines” of their 2015 song Oh Why.
The trial over the copyright dispute, expected to last three weeks, began at the Rolls Building in central London on Friday.
Andrew Sutcliffe QC, for Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghu, said Mr Sheeran “borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he will acknowledge it but sometimes he won’t”.
The barrister suggested Mr Sheeran only gives credit to famous artists.
He said his clients are “are not Shaggy, Coldplay, Rihanna or Jay-Z” or else “they would have been treated in a very different way”.
Ian Mill QC, for Mr Sheeran, asked the singer on Monday: “Do you accept that you behave or have behaved in that way?”
Mr Sheeran, who appeared in the witness box in a dark suit, said “no”.
He added: “The examples he has been using are obviously famous artists, two of them are people I’ve made songs with.”
Mr Sheeran continued “if Mr Sutcliffe would have done his research”, he would have known there were “lots” of unknown artists he had cleared parts of songs with.
The singer also gave several examples of when he had cleared aspects of songs with unknown artists, including sampling a part of a song from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer from an “unknown composer”.
“All those examples are not famous artists that we’ve cleared songs with and that’s what I have to say on that,” he said.
Mr Sheeran also described his songwriting process and denied having premeditated ideas.
The singer told the court: “As I hear a beat, I hear a song and melody comes out.”
“The evidence is overwhelming that at the time of writing Shape of You, your songwriting process involved collecting ideas,” Mr Sutcliffe, cross-examining, said.
Mr Sheeran replied: “You say it’s overwhelming, I don’t agree with that.”
He later said: “I write a lot of songs and if I haven’t written a song within two hours, I see it as a failure.”
Shape of You was a worldwide hit. It was the best-selling song of 2017 in the UK and the most streamed song in the history of Spotify.