The three singers are being sued for $5 million by two Australians who claim that the song "The Rest Of Our Life", the title track of McGraw and Hill's duets album, infringes a song owned by the Australian duo.
The Rest of Our Life, a song Sheeran co-wrote for U.S. country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, has been hit with a lawsuit by Sydney songwriters Sean Carey and Beau Golden, who claim the track is "almost a note-for-note copy" of their song with Rae, When I Found You.
He has also gone after Sheeran before, when the British pop star was accused of appropriation over his hit Photograph. The two were tipped off during a conference call with Tim Holland, a Sony marketing manager and the boyfriend of "When I Found You" co-writer Jasmine Rae. According to the document, Holland told the plaintiffs that he frequently works with Sony Music Nashville and communicates with their offices as part of his job.
"Indeed, it strains credibility to believe that it is just a coincidence that the Infringing Song/Infringing Sound Recording, a blatant note-for-note copy of the Song, was created without Mr. Holland's providing access, when Mr. Holland is the boyfriend of one of the writers of the Song", the lawsuit reads.
According to the lawsuit, Rae and Golden were writing with Carey in December when, after Rae mentioned a fan's tweet about McGraw and Hill's song, they listened to "The Rest of Our Life" and made a decision to file their suit.
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Continuing, "When pressed further by Plaintiffs, Mr. Holland indicated that he had known that the songs were substantially similar for more than two months prior to the October 5, 2017 release date of the Infringing Song/Infringing Sound Recording". "The Rest of Our Life" has 9.6 million views on YouTube and more than 8 million streams on Spotify, while "When I Found You", described on its release in 2015 as the "ultimate wedding song", has more than 61,000 views on YouTube and 163,000 hits on Spotify.
The lawsuit claims Holland, who was in close contact with Sony's country music wing in America, spruiked Rae's song in the hopes of promoting her work within the label.
The lawsuit also presents musical transcription excerpts of each of the songs to make the case of substantial similarity. Each of the songs can be heard below. The pair are seeking damages and royalties to be determined in a trial. Other potential defenses include a grant of permission and independent creation.
The lawsuit, which asks for an injunction and at least $5 million in damages, was filed in NY federal court on Wednesday.