Ed Sheeran has been accused of plagiarising a hit song originally recorded by Australian country music star Jasmine Rae.
The Rest of Our Life, a song Sheeran co-wrote for US 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.
Carey, a former guitarist with Thirsty Merc, and Golden, who has played keyboards for Guy Sebastian, Samantha Jade and others, filed a lawsuit in New York on Wednesday local time, accusing Sheeran and his co-writers of "willful copyright infringement", including copying melodies, chords and lyrical themes from their song.
"The copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying of important and original elements of the song, and is obvious to the ordinary observer," the complaint, published by the Hollywood Reporter, states.
The complaint says that during a studio writing session in December, Rae had mentioned to Carey and Golden that a fan had tweeted her about the similarities between the two songs.
Rae, a co-writer on the song but not named amongst the plaintiffs, recorded When I Found You in 2015, with the single topping the Australian Country Radio charts the following year.
The reason for her absence from the suit is awkwardly surmised in Carey and Golden's complaint, with the songwriters suggesting Rae's boyfriend, a marketing manager for Sony Music who was involved in promoting The Rest of Our Life in Australia, was aware of the similarities between the songs for more than two months before its release. They allege he may have even provided access to the original song to Sony Music in an attempt to "gain exposure for Ms Rae and promote her work".
A request for comment from Rae and Sony Music reps was not immediately responded to.
The pair also suggest Sheeran would've known about Rae's song, as he was touring Australia at the time of its chart success and radio airplay in 2016.
The complaint says that based on downloads, Spotify and YouTube streams, TV broadcasts and live performances, Sheeran and his co-writers have profited in excess of $US5 million from The Rest of Our Life. The pair are seeking damages and royalties to be determined in a trial.
Carey and Golden are being represented by attorney Richard Busch, who previously won an infamous copyright suit on behalf of Marvin Gaye's family against Robin Thicke and Pharrell's Blurred Lines, and led a $US20 million suit against Sheeran's Photograph which was settled out of court.
Hear the two songs below
The plagiarism accusations are just the latest levelled at Sheeran.
Besides the settlement over Photograph, in 2016 the British singer had an action brought against him over similarities between his single Thinking Out Loud and Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On (a US judge dismissed that case after complainants missed a deadline to serve defendants).
In 2017, fans pointed out similarities between his hit Shape Of Youand Sia's chart-topping Cheap Thrills, as well as Tracy Chapman's 1988 song Mountain O' Things.
Last March, Sheeran quietly adjusted the writing credits of the song - which spent a record-breaking 15 weeks atop the ARIA singles chart – to include the writers of TLC's 1999 hit No Scrubs.
The singer is set to tour Australia in March.
Story via smh.com.au