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

Carrie Underwood is one of nine defendants named in a lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court alleging Underwood’s Sunday…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 20, 2019


11:11 am

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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”

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.