IP disputes take shape in 'Shape of You' singer's life, Pt. 1

It is no surprise to see popular musician Ed Sheeran's name in the news. He has various hits on top of the music charts. He is one of the biggest music stars out there right now. Recently he released new music, and it hasn't taken long for fans not only to love and embrace it, but to cover his new sounds, too. 

A cover of a song is a person's rendition of a song -- or we should point out, a copyrighted song. So while it looks like simple, innocent fun for an amateur singer to post a video of herself singing a cover online, this innocent fun can have consequences. One Sheeran fan recently faced a consequence for posting her version of the star's music.

Facebook blocked the amateur musician from her Facebook account for a few days because she shared a video of her covering a Sheeran song. This is Facebook's attempt to address potential intellectual property problems posed by covers of songs. It doesn't want to be a medium that millions of musicians use in order to potentially rip off the songs of artists and labels who have copyrighted the covered material. 

As you can likely guess, this intellectual property issue could come into play within many social media users' lives. Even the playing of protected music in a public video's background can raise red flags and lead to possible legal hurdles. This age of shared music and social media sure creates new legal questions that must be clarified and legal traps that might result in the need for an IP lawyer's help. 

In the specific case of the Sheeran fan, Sheeran himself doesn't care that she covered his song and shared it online. He says he enjoys seeing his fans cover his music. What can complicate matters is when a record label owns the rights to content. In most cases, it isn't just a singer who is tied to the content but a bigger business, too. 

Sheeran has been through the intellectual property ringer just within this month alone. This cover dispute is just one of a couple IP stories involving the singer/songwriter. An upcoming post will discuss a bigger case of copyright law involving Sheeran and the IP rights of others in his industry.

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