Brendan Greaves, from Yorkshire, says he invented Chicago’s power ballad Look Away and not Diane Warren, who has written dozens of hits including Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.
He alleges that he wrote the song when he was a 14-year-old student, and had submitted it to a British school music competition in 1987.
Mr Greaves did not win the contest sponsored by the now-defunct EMI Records, but claimed that Ms Warren acquired the tune through the contest.
Look Away topped the US singles chart in late 1988.
Mr Greaves has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Los Angeles – and when asked why he had waited 30 years to complain, he said he lived in a “quiet village” in Yorkshire and had not heard the Chicago song until 2015.
A Twitter account believed to belong to Mr Greaves included a post published in May which alludes to the case.
“No matter how small or insignificant you think you are, keeping quiet is not the answer We all have a voice and there are good people in this world who will help make your voice louder. #neverlookaway #chicagolookaway #plagiarism #schoolkids #lowblow #perfectcrime #caughtintheact,” it says.
A photo posted at the top of the Twitter account shows a cassette with the words “Look away by Brendan Greaves 2nd side” written on it.
Representatives for Ms Warren did not immediately comment.
A number of copyright lawsuits have been filed in recent years in the US.
Soul legend Marvin Gaye’s estate won $5.3m (£4m) after claiming that singer and songwriter Robin Thicke’s track Blurred Lines was stolen from the soul legend’s song Got To Give It Up.
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Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran reached a settlement with writers Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington over the singer’s song Photograph.
The pair had argued Mr Sheeran copied the track “note for note”.