BC-US--Carrie Underwood Lawsuit,3rd Ld-Writethru, US

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AP Photo NYR107Eds: Updates with more from lawsuit and includes links to the songs. With AP Photos.A songwriting team is suing singer Carrie Underwood, the NFL and NBC, saying they stole a song and used it to introduce "Sunday Night Football" last season. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court. It sought unspecified damages, saying the copyright was violated on a song that had been pitched to Underwood's representatives after it was put on the internet two years ago.By LARRY NEUMEISTERAssociated Press

NEW YORK (AP) A songwriting team sued country singer Carrie Underwood, the NFL and NBC Wednesday, saying they stole a song and "slightly modified" it to introduce "Sunday Night Football" to viewers last season.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court noted that Underwood's "Game On" even carried the same title as the song singer Heidi Merrill of Newport Beach, California, put on an internet music video two years ago.

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, saying the copyright was violated on the song that had been pitched to Underwood's representatives in 2017.

The NFL and NBCUniversal Media LLC declined comment. Carrie Underwood's representatives did not immediately comment.

The plaintiffs are a songwriting team consisting of four individuals, including Merrill, from California, Tennessee and Sweden.

The lawsuit said Merrill assembled the group to create the song in 2016 as a follow to her Nebraska-themed football anthem "Cornhusker Strong."

It said they marketed the song, aiming to get it licensed for use in television broadcasts of sporting events.

Merrill pitched the song to Underwood's producer in August 2017 during a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, where Underwood lives, the lawsuit said.

It said the producer referred Merrill to his assistant, who told her in an email in October 2017: "I'm sorry, we're going to have to pass."

The lawsuit claimed that the song that introduced 17 NFL Sunday night games through the season beginning in September 2018 "is substantially even strikingly similar, if not identical," to the song Underwood's team had rejected.

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