A federal lawsuit alleges that NBCUniversal, the National Football League and the artist Carrie Underwood are among those who plagiarized a YouTube song to create the opening theme song “Game On” which precedes the sporting action. SNF is typically one of the primetime ratings leaders during its season and a bright spot for TV shows. NFL Games.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by songwriters. Heidi MerrillAlex Wong, Jeff Cohen and Niclas Lundin, who claim to have created a slightly different version of the Sunday Night Football theme song performed by Underwood. Read the complaint here.
The lawsuit also names various music publishers affiliated with Underwood and his record label, as well as songwriters Chris DeStefano, Brett James and Underwood producer Mark Bright.
Merrill and his collaborators claimed to have created their song “Game On” in June 2016 and uploaded it to YouTube on March 17, 2017. The song was later featured on the CBS show. “Inside College Basketball.”
She then emailed the song to Underwood’s producer Mark Bright, who reportedly said, “We’re going to have to pass.” The legal complaint alleges a “strikingly similar” intro song then created for the 2018 season of Sunday Night Football.
Sam P. Israel, managing partner of Sam P. Israel PC, called the alleged plagiarism “a blatant attempt by a famous singer to rip off the work of other artists, and it will not be tolerated.” It is indefensible to steal music created by hard-working songwriters and then broadcast that theft on national television.”
Here are the two versions:
Heidi Merrill Version: “Game”
Sunday Night Football Version: “Game On”
Merrill is a pop/country/rock artist, model and actress, and has recently opened for headliners Howie Day, Tyler Hilton and Anna Nalick on their tours. The actress appeared in the shows Hope and faith, Gir gossipl, and in several international advertisements.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league would decline comment. An NBC Sports spokesperson said the network does not comment on pending litigation. The other defendants could not immediately be contacted.