Ed Sheeran, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw have all been collectively served with a copyright infringement lawsuit by two songwriters in Australia. The plaintiffs, Sean Carey and Beau Golden, claim that the recent collaborative song by Sheeran, Hill, and McGraw is too similar to one of their songs. In addition to these three performers, the lawsuit also names co-writers John McDaid and Amy Wadge, Sony/ATV Songs, Universal Polygram, and WB Music Corp., among others, as co-defendants.
The lawsuit, which was initially filed on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 in New York federal court, claims that the song “The Rest of Our Life,” which is sung in a duet by McGraw-Hill and penned by Sheeran, bears substantial similarities to the Carey and Golden’s 2014 song “When I Found You,” (which is performed by Jasmine Rae (who is not participating in the lawsuit)).
To briefly summarize the nature of the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s argue that “The Rest of Our Life” is “in many occurrences, a verbatim, note-for-note copying of original elements from their song “When I Found You”, and that the copying is “obvious to the ordinary observer.” The plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages in addition to royalties on the McGraw-Hill song as well as attorneys’ fees. They are being represented by Richard Busch, the notable attorney based in Nashville who successfully won the major “Blurred Lines” case for the family of Marvin Gaye.
Well on Monday, April 2, Sheeran filed an answer with the court. In response to the lawsuit’s allegations, Sheeran denies any liability to the plaintiffs, describing their claims as “baseless.” Sheeran also states that there are no similarities in the sound of the two songs and that he did not ask Carey and Golden for their permission because “The Rest of Our Life” is a completely “originally and independently created musical composition,” and therefore does not require their permission. Sheeran has also reportedly filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the judge has yet to give a ruling on that matter.
This is not the first time Sheeran has come under fire for copyright infringement. According to reports from NME.com, Matt Cardle accused Sheeran, in 2014, of ripping off his 2012 song “Amazing” in Sheeran’s hit, “Photograph,” which came out in 2014. Two years later in 2016, Sheeran faced another copyright infringement lawsuit from the family of Marvin Gaye, who claimed that Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” was a carbon copy of Gaye’s famous song, “Let’s Get It On”; this case was later dismissed.
The case is Carey et. al. v. Sheeran et. al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-00214.