“The Rest of Our Life,” a song released by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and co-written by Ed Sheeran, is the subject of a lawsuit from Australian songwriters Sean Carey and Beau Golden. The suit, filed Wednesday in New York federal court, claims the McGraw/Hill song “blatant[ly] copyed” their 2014 song “When I Found You,” which was performed by Jasmine Rae. The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“The copying is, in many instances, verbatim, note-for-note copying of original elements of the Song, and is obvious to the ordinary observer,” the complaint reads.
Carey and Golden are represented by attorney Richard Busch, who won the pivotal “Blurred Lines” case that saw Marvin Gaye’s family win a $5.3 million victory over Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over similarities between that song and Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Busch was also behind a $20 million lawsuit against Sheeran over the song “Photograph.” That case was settled, with the songwriters being added to the credits.
Sheeran’s co-writers, Johnny McDaid, Steve Mac and Amy Wadge, are also named in the suit along with several publishers, which seeks $5 million in damages along with an injunction for it to be permanently blocked. The complaint singles out Sony, the home company of Sheeran’s publisher Sony/ATV, as being complicit. “It very well may have been an agent of Sony Music Entertainment who provided the other defendants herein with access to the Song,” it reads. The complaint makes detailed accusations against an Australian Sony Music employee named Tim Holland, who is Rae’s boyfriend, for not speaking up about the similarities between the two songs, despite his admitting that he’d noticed them. It also claims that he’d “presented” Rae’s song to Sony Music “in an effort to gain exposure for Ms. Rae and promote her work.” Rae is not involved in the case.
Other publishers named in the suit are Rokstone Music Ltd., Universal Polygram International Publishing, Inc., Cookie Jar Music LLP, WB Music Corp.,Kobalt Music Services America, Inc., and Bucks Music Group Limited. A rep for Sony/ATV had no comment when contacted by Variety.
The “Blurred Lines” decision has had a profound effect on the music industry, as evidenced by a current copyright dispute between Radiohead and Lana Del Rey over similarities between their song “Creep” (which was itself the object of a successful lawsuit by the writers of the Hollies 1974 hit “The Air That I Breathe”) and her track “Get Free.” The common outcome has been settlements, most recently involving similarities between Sam Smith’s 2014 hit “Stay With Me” and Tom Petty’s 1990 song “I Won’t Back Down,” the writers of TLC’s 1999 hit “No Scrubs” being added to the credits of Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” and lawsuits involving the credits for Mark Ronson’s 2014 hit collaboration with Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk,” which saw members of the Gap Band being added to the credits. Late last month Ronson was sued by the rights-holders of Zapp’s 1980 “More Bounce to the Ounce” over similarities between that song and “Uptown Funk.”