Major US label claims Israel’s winning Eurovision hit ‘Toy’ plagiarized
Francisco LEONG (AFP/File)
Israel’s title as champions of the 2018 Eurovision song competition is on the line as the producers of the country’s winning hit ‘Toy’, sung by Netta Barzilai, face accusations of copyright infringement by one of the world's biggest music labels.
US-based Universal Music Studios has threatened to sue Israeli music producers Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, who co-wrote the bass-heavy tune, claiming that it was copied from The White Stripe’s similarly bassy 2003 hit, ‘Seven Nation Army’.
A report by Israel’s Hadashot TV on Tuesday said that Medalie and Beger received a letter two weeks ago from Universal charging that the similarities in rhythm and harmony constitute copyright infringement.
The Eurovision contest rules state that countries’ song entries must be original. If Universal’s claims are proven in court, Israel could be stripped of its victory and hosting rights for next year’s competition.
Ofer Menahem, who manages singer Netta Barzilai, downplayed the severity of the incident saying that “no legal claim was received, only a preliminary clarification letter on the matter,” Haaretz reported.
Medalie is expected to travel to the US on Wednesday to try and solve the "immense crisis", the Hadashot TV report said.
He responded to the report saying that he and Beger were “surprised to receive such a letter and we are taking care of it. I believe the issue will be successfully resolved in the next few weeks to the satisfaction of all sides.”
When Israel debuted ‘Toy’ as its Eurovision entry in March, it immediately won acclaim for its catchy tune, timely lyrics and eccentric introduction featuring high-pitched trills, clucks, and bucks. It was a favorite to win throughout the competition.
At the time, Haaretz’s music critic Ben Shalev wrote that the refrain in which Netta sings “I’m not your toy, stupid boy” closely resembles the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’.
“Let’s hope Jack White doesn’t hear this song before the Eurovision Song Contest. He may sue,” he wrote.
Universal Music Studios is one of the four largest music corporations in the world and manages some of the industry’s biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, among others.
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