Sean Carey, a former guitarist in the band Thirsty Merc, and keyboardist and songwriter Beau Golden say The Rest Of Our Life, a song by McGraw and Hill and co-written by Sheeran, is substantially similar to their track When I Found You.
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 chose to file their suit.
Australian singer Jasmine Rae released When I Found You under her name in 2015, and it was the most played song on Australian country radio, according to the complaint, filed in the US District Court in NY.
"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 lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit also names "The Rest of Our Life" songwriters Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac as well as Sony/ATV and WB Music. Though Rae is a co-writer on the tune, she's not a part of the suit.
She brought the issue up to Carey and Golden, who wrote "When I Found You", as well as her boyfriend, Tim Holland, who works as a marketing manager for Sony.
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The duo are being represented by Richard Busch, the same attorney who helped Marvin Gaye's family win a copyright lawsuit against Robin Thicke over the song "Blurred Lines". "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 Australian pair are reportedly seeking $6.3 million ($5 million USD) in damages from Sheeran (pictured here in December 2017) and also want the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill version to be permanently blocked.
"Mr. Holland admitted to knowing about the Infringing Song months in advance of its release because he was tasked with promoting and marketing the Infringing Song and Infringing Sound Recording before its release".
Rae isn't a plaintiff in this case (and the lawsuit isn't shy about hinting at motive, with the accusation that she didn't write an email explaining how she wouldn't participate in an action against McGraw and Hill or their record company).
If Holland was not the one to share "When I Found You" with the defendants, the lawsuit suggests that Sheeran heard the song while on tour in Australia when the song was popular.
TIO reached out to Sony Music for comment.