The complaint was filed on Wednesday (Jan. 10) in NY federal court by ex-Thirsty Merc guitarist Sean Carey and keyboardist-producer Beau Golden, who say the McGraw/Hill work "The Rest of Our Life", released through Arista Nashville in 2017, is "blatant copying" of their own 2014 piece "When I Found You", performed by Jasmine Rae and released by ABC Records.
The Australian pair are reportedly seeking $6.3 million ($5 million USD) in damages and also want the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill version to be permanently blocked.
"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", claims the lawsuit.
Also listed in the legal documents are Ed's co-writing team - Johnny McDaid, Steve Mac and Amy Wadge.
"Specifically, "When I Found You" and "The Rest Of Our Life" are substantially similar in bars 1-8 of both songs", the lawsuit says. Rae is not part of the lawsuit.
"When I Found You" was co-written by Carey and Golden with Rae in 2014 and reportedly achieved commercial success in Australia as the most-played song on the Australian country chart in 2016. It is alleged that Rae's boyfriend, Tim Holland, a marketing manager at Sony Music Australia, admitted to being aware of the similarities before the McGraw/Hill duet was released.
Rae was informed of the songs' similarities after a tweet from a fan caught her attention.
"In support of this position, Plaintiffs allege, upon information and belief, that Mr. Holland presented Plaintiffs' song to Sony Music in an effort to gain exposure for Ms. Rae and promote her work". Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are now signed to Sony, and Holland admitted that he already knew about the songs' striking similarities. An alternative theory suggests that Sheeran was exposed to the song during his Australian tour, which happened to be the time that "When I Found You" was garnering its most airplay on Australian radio.
TIO reached out to Sony Music for comment. We had a night out in NY, got back to his hotel to drink more, and he played "Atlantic City".