Chart-topping, stadium-filling, globe-trotting pop star Ed Sheeran is being sued for US$20 million (NZ$29m) over the alleged theft of an

X Factor

winner's song.

A new lawsuit claims Sheeran's 2014 song Photograph is a "verbatim, note-for-note copying" of Amazing, a 2010 single by X Factor winner Matt Cardle written by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, confirming that attorney Richard Busch, the same one who won a $5.3m case over Blurred Lines for the estate of Marvin Gaye, had filed the suit.

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"My clients are professional songwriters," Busch told THR.

"Their work is their life, and I am honoured that they have trusted me with this very important case."

Sheeran is yet to comment on the case. Photograph was most recently used in the movie Me Before You. The accompanying video has had more than 208 million views on YouTube.

Compare the two songs