Lawyers fired off letters after Sheeran spoke about the song last week, allegedly confirming it was about Goulding.
But Sheeran referenced the song numerous times during his months-long promotion for his new album “X” — and the references add up to thousands of articles about the story.
“Last week letters arrived on the desks of a number of big news outlets saying that they faced legal action if they claimed Ed’s tune was aimed at Ellie and in any way indicated bad behavior,” a media source in London said.
“It came as a huge surprise to many, as this story had been written about since May, and no legal notes were fired off.”
The timeline of the legal warnings appears to be an issue.
“Ed had never denied that Ellie was an inspiration for his work, so this seems a strange response after such a long time. Online there are hundreds of fan and media sites that have gone much further in their descriptions of Ellie,” the source continued.
“The UK laws on libel are different to the US, so the newspapers there are now steering clear of trouble.”