Carrie Underwood Hit With Lawsuit Over ‘Sunday Night Football’ Song

Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT
Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT
Carrie Underwood; Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT

Carrie Underwood is one of nine defendants named in a lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court alleging Underwood’s Sunday Night Football theme song “Game On” was copied from another singer/songwriter.

In the complaint filed Wednesday (June 19), plaintiff Heidi Merrill says she wrote and recorded a similar song with the same title in 2016 and pitched it to Underwood and her longtime producer Mark Bright the following year.

According to Merrill, Bright responded to her via his assistant, telling her he would “have to pass.”

The singer/songwriter claims that Underwood’s “Game On,” which was used on NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts beginning in September 2018, is “substantially — even strikingly — similar, if not identical” to her song.

“The Defendants knowingly, willfully, and intentionally copied original, copyrightable elements of the Plaintiffs’ original Work,” the complaint reads, “publicly performed or displayed the Infringing Song, and otherwise violated the Plaintiffs’ exclusive copyrights in the Work for substantial personal and commercial gain.”

Merrill’s suit also references a similar lawsuit filed in 2017, which claimed Underwood’s song “Something in the Water” was “structurally and lyrically identical, and substantially similar melodically to plaintiffs’ composition of the same title.” That suit was later dismissed.

Underwood and Bright, as well as EMI Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music, the NFL and NBC are named in the suit.

Underwood’s “Game On”

Merrill’s “Game On”