Biz news: Universal sues Israelis over Eurovision win

Universal Music Studios has served notice of intent on the composer and writer of Netta Barzilai’s ‘Toy’.

They claim it was plagiarised from The White Stripe’s 2003 hit, Seven Nation Army.

See what you think.

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  • People who get worked up about pop plagiarism shouldn’t make such a fuss. They turn out to have almost no harmonic knowledge or awareness. Not surprising when the chord sequences in popular music are themselves primitive and thumpingly repetitive. Irving Berlin discovered this years ago when it was claimed one of his songs was being plagiarised. The case was heard and thrown out. The only similarity between these two songs is the repeated falling two notes in the bass line. You can’t sue for two notes. Charlie Chaplin was accused of pinching Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in “Limelight”. A bit of harmless fun since the great Russian was dead and out of copyright.

  • Also the baseline of Seven Nation Army is “inspired” by the Finale of bruckner 5. Symphony. So nothing really new…

  • In the States, chord sequences are not elgible for copyright protection. Until recently only melodies could be copyrighted. But now, following the “Blurred Lines” decision in which Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were charged several million bucks, plus future royalties for having copied, er, well, something or other, from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” who knows what a judge might decide.

    • Popular Music can in this sense profit of Classical Music in its search for chord sequences. I am no expert in Popular Music, but your comment remembered me of a remark by Charles Mingus when playing a Jazz re-working of Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein’s All the Things You Are, that it was mostly stolen from Chopin.

  • Balderdash. The similarity is slight. If Hamilton can openly tip its hat to countless other songs and shows, this surely can’t be anywhere near plagiarism…

  • The side that will win will be the side with the finances to litigate the longest.

    The results in these cases are so all-over-the-map that there seems to be no clear line that artists can observe before they create.

  • I wonder whether UMG have launched the lawsuit simply to push up streams of Seven Nation Army – how many extra listens can they have had since they announced this news? Rather a lot, I’m sure, plus airplay etc.

  • Well….How about Berenstein /Brahms,Berenstein/ Beethoven,….
    The national anthem of Israel is a Romanian hora.Bramhs/Chopin
    Mozart/Clementi etc .etc

  • Best to copy things that are out of copyright or were never in it in the first place.
    My favourite is “Yes We Have No Bananas” which clearly derives from
    “Hallelujah, (bananas) Oh Bring Back My Bonnie to Me.”

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