Ed Sheeran is once again in hot water following allegations by two Australian songwriters of “blatant[ly] copying” a popular song recorded by Australian country singer Jasmine Rae.
Sheeran, who co-wrote The Rest of Our Lives for renowned US country artists Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, is accused in a New York district court of “wilful copyright infringement” of melodies, chords and lyrical themes of When I Found You written by Beau Golden and Thirsty Merc’s Sean Carey.
It is unlikely that these similarities are mere coincidences, following allegations that Rae’s boyfriend, a marketing manager for Sony Music responsible for promoting Sheeran’s song in Australia, was aware of the “note-for-note copying” for months prior to release, and may have even been responsible for exposing the song to Sony Music. Furthermore, Rae’s song was at its peak in Australia during Sheeran’s 2016 Australian tour, suggesting Sheeran would most likely have heard the song.
Sheeran and his co-writers have been said to have made over US $5 million for the song from downloads, online streams, TV broadcasts and live performances. Golden and Carey are hence seeking this US $5 million in damages, excluding profits, running royalties and legal costs, and are also seeking an injunction.
Having recently settled a dispute with TLC for US $20 million for plagiarising in his hit single “Photograph” and narrowly avoiding an action for “Thinking Out Loud”, one has to wonder whether this is simply a spout of unintentional mistakes by Sheeran, or a pattern of more dishonest behaviour.
By Talia Le Couteur