The lyric “not your toy” just took on a whole new meaning.

On Tuesday Good Evening with Guy Pines reported that Universal Music Corporation in Los Angeles had sent a warning letter to Doron Medalie and Stav Beger — the songwriters behind the Eurovision 2018 winning song — alleging plagiarism.

As reported by Y Net, the threatening letter claims that a portion of “Toy” is stolen from the White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army”. Their objections revolve around “the harmonies and pace of both songs”, rather than the melody or lyrics.

Long before this allegation became formalised in a letter, Eurofans had been whispering about similarities. You can assess for yourself in this mash-up video.

Released in 2003 as part of the rock duo’s album Elephant, “Seven Nation Army” is the band’s signature song and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. It’s got a lot of fans — and it’s only natural they might be hyper sensitive (or super skilled?) when detecting similarities.

Y Net says that Medalie will fly to Los Angeles tomorrow to discuss the matter. The allegation and response is significant: a lawsuit could delay the release of royalties to the songwriters.

Medalie is remaining calm. In a statement quoted by Y Net, he said:

“We were surprised to receive such a letter and we are handling it, and I believe that in the next two weeks the issue will be resolved to the best of the parties’ satisfaction.”

Universal, a music publishing heavyweight, is the label behind acts like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Florence + The Machine and others.

Plagiarism allegations are part and parcel of Eurovision (see this and this as a start), and crop up every single year. These allegations usually fizzle away after sometime. Pop music is never created in a vacuum and songs frequently draw on trends, historical riffs and other inspiration available to writers — who may be influenced unknowingly. There is, of course, a fine line between building on history and stealing. Less a case of black and white and more an issue of distinguishing between greys, Medalie and Universal will have to compare notes and perspectives.

Sources close to the EBU tell Y Net that today’s letter and any potential lawsuit will not impact Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

What do you make of all this? Do you hear similarities? Do you think they are deliberate? And are you surprised that Universal is pursuing this?

Read more Israel Eurovision news

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120 Comments on "Not your “Toy”?! Universal Music threatens Netta’s songwriters over alleged White Stripes rip-off"

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Polegend Godgarina
Guest

If that lame David Guetta ripoff could win in 2015, then Toy (which sounds nothing like the alleged ‘original’) is fine.

Idan Cohen
Guest

You forgot also that “Euphoria” is “Don’t you worry child” in disguise : – )

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Don’t You Worry Child was released in August 2012, if anything THEY copied Euphoria (but I don’t hear it, so).

sam
Guest

is it just me or is the mashup actually a bop

ALVIN SEBETERO
Guest

This is weird when they are comparing NETTA’s Toy to an unknown music trash that no one ever heard of.

Some
Guest

Dude, Seven Nations Army is a worldwide hit with 170 million views.

Danny
Guest

I absolutely love people who don’t get sarcasm

Some
Guest

Gotta be honest with you, it’s pretty hard to tell these days. Lots of people saying stupid things seriously — especially regarding Netta’s entry.

Jill Stephens
Guest
I think you jumped to’ sarcasm’ when all there was really ‘ignorance’. How can you tell? Sarcasm is subtler it would not have all capped Netta’s name nor use such a word as ‘trash’. It would be more like this indie music that is little known. Meaning that they are actually mainstream and well know. As is it just looks ignorant. If it looks ignorant, writes like one and uses words one would it probably is meta-sarcasm. Which is my pet name for ‘ignorance’. Meta-sarcasm does not exist. Not in the context of the comments left on wiwibloggs. Even mine.… Read more »
Hada
Guest

Dude, Seven Nation Army even plays at every World Cup Match what are you talking about

Toy-esque
Guest

That is soooo funny!!!…

JohnD
Guest

The fact the TOY arrived up to CHINA (!)… (link below) threatens very much Universal due to the very strong presence of Sony music in Asia (with whom Netta has already signed an agreement (Sony BMG music in NY) – and Universal is desperate to have part of TOY’s success and thus have a stronger share also in Asia. NOTHING is so innocent here…

Netta is China:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQ9mBk3Wyg

Toy-esque
Guest

Oh dude, you really are a funny one. In which paralell universe do you live?… Do you think that those companies care at all about a super-niche market as the gay clubs in China or anywehere else for that matter?…

JohnD
Guest
Just relax Toy-esque. Of course the companies do – when MONEY $$$$ is involved (funny how NAIVE you can be – and in what parallel universe do YOU live? This is the capitalist and consumption world baby). Where they see the $$ sign (and NETTA IS a golden goose – with 80M (!) views in 4 months only – They’ll do all in their capacity to attain it. The fact that TOY is already played in Dance clubs in CHINA (gay or general) – is a clear sign of the LENGTHY REACH of TOY and that the Chinese DO CONSUME… Read more »
Toy-esque
Guest
Well honey, I think the one that needs some relaxation is you, as one can see from your constant use of capital letters (quite rude actually, if you don’t know internet etiquette). Also your almost sick avidity to “proove” that Netta is a world-wide success seems obsessive and completely outside of the real world. Also, what evidence do you have that Toy is played in clubs in China, apart from that particular moment recorded in a gay club? Most certainly none. Finally, dancing to a song in a dance club doesn’t mean that they are going to “consume” it… Toy… Read more »
JohnD
Guest

Toy-esque, I do agree in some extent. Netta does (!!) write and compose (still fresh though). Look at my comment below (far below actually – to see the link I shared especially for you – really worth)

JohnD
Guest

Also admire her self sense of humor – in her own composition (admitting she likes to eat 🙂 ): “I say you’ve got baked potatoes but where’s my steak?”
Someone even commented in that video that even Salvador would probably like the song…

Arnav
Guest

You can mash up any two songs … the profession called D.J

srulik
Guest

there is no plagiarism to prove. the real test is if one hears the two songs not as a mash ups can they find it the same, and the answer is NO. maybe it is all brilliant PR for an upcoming white stripes tour? their song was a track in past FIFA game and may have served as subliminal insporation but calling TOY a plagiarism or Doron Madalie a thief is uncalled for. besides, where were they all this time from the minute TOY was out till Neta’s win??

Love love peace piece
Guest
Love love peace piece

I did find the similiarities imediatly, it did take me about a week to remember the band’s name because it’s been more then 5 yers since I listened to The white Stripes.

Amy
Guest

And the lyrics are from here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew_c5ewoVQk

Danny
Guest
This thing will not affect the Eurovision in Israel in any way just because the EBU can’t and won’t move Eurovision out of Israel based on only suspicions. They must wait for an official confirmation from the court that there was indeed a violation, a trial like that will take many months and by then it will be way too late to move Eurovision to another country. And the chance that it will actually end up in court is minimal anyway. Therefore the EBU already stated that they “don’t have time for rumours” and that the preparations for the Eurovision… Read more »
Joe
Guest

Thank goodness

Zornaddie
Guest

Plagiarism? LOL i don´t hear anything

Curve
Guest

Nope. Not so much alike at all. I hope this issue would die soon and that Universal will drop this.

Alon I srael
Guest

can you tell which song of eurovision 2018 the following song reminds you?
and i am sure that the composer of the eurovision song didn’t hear this french song from some years ago….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsMclPnUYYc&feature=youtu.be

joe
Guest

forever!

Alon I srael
Guest

and it is just a coincidence that the the two songs are so alike…no plagiarism for sure!

Noit31
Guest

you should also hear Fuego and the song of Bulgaria in 2016 it’s totally the same

Branko
Guest

It is also a cover of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK-PAzu1Tmw

Alon I srael
Guest

LOL…. i didn’t know that song… amazing!

Idan Cohen
Guest
One thing is for sure. Netta is the Golden chicken that lays golden eggs for the EBU. she is exactly what the EBU needed to refresh this competition and make everyone talk about it again. Ever since Netta was chosen to represent Israel people don’t stop talking about her and her song. Is clucking a valid way to sing? Is this a novelty act? Does Salvador approve this song? will she win? will the she able to sing this song live? will she able to use her looper? will she qualify? will she able to beat Eleni? Is her winning… Read more »
Toy-esque
Guest

Oh God!!! They are talking about it, if at all, for all the wrong reasons… The narrative is the “Eurovision, yet again, producing cheap novelties acts. And we can have a laugh about it”.

JohnD
Guest

Oh God!!! How you are WRONG Toy-esque !!!! VERY simple answer for you (the following link): READ & LEARN 🙂

http://esctoday.com/167146/israel-nettas-toy-goes-global-with-record-deal/

Toy-esque
Guest

Ok, then good luck to her… And for building up a repertoire or will she do countless versions of Toy? If I were her I would take some advice from Conchita (a much more deeper human being, by the way) on how to stay relevant after the winning effect wears off…

JohnD
Guest
Right Toy-esque, Conchita is indeed a great person, but don’t undermine Netta. She is very clever in her own way. As I mentioned – read my comment below to see the link I shared especially for you – with Netta’s own music composition called “Potatos”. And here are the lyrics of the song (with substance!): Lyrics: I say you’ve got baked potatoes but where’s my steak? That big producer gave you papers to sign I’ll make you big and take your money too Got your body from your mother But real quick you will discover That is really all you’ve… Read more »
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JakeTimothy
Guest
Hey guys, the real reason of this pathetic, ridiculous claim by “Universal” is ONLY because “Sonny Music” (The biggest rival of “Univeral”), bought the copyrights on “Toy”. “Toy” has been one of the biggest wining songs on the ESC history (By number of views & the hype), and “Universal” just want to ruin “Sonny” celebration, PR and profits hype. I guess “Universal” knows that they dont have a chance in court, but they dont care… they just want that this discussion catch fire, and there is enough idiots (or people that just looking for more reasons to bash Israel) that… Read more »
Martinn
Guest

lollll they coudnt find a song that sounds more like toy? their claim is just beyond ridiculous. not similiar at all.

Geo
Guest

I’m a big White Stripes fan and “Seven nation army” is a masterpiece. But I cannot find any similarity between it and Toy… It’s a pubicity stunt, as the two songs are completely different

Idan Cohen
Guest

I’m starting to feel the same. looks like a publicity stunt to me.

Toy-esque
Guest

What a great publicity!… LOL You defintively should do stand-up comedy

Pancake
Guest

It looks more like Universal trying to play dirty on Sony (since Netta is from Sony BMG)

Nitzan
Guest

Can’t see how this is a rip-off sounds like BS to me but hey, it’s nice to have an ESC winner noticed in the US 😉

Alkisti
Guest

So much for originality… BTW, I find this mash-up version so much better than the cheap Afro-beat they used for the song.

Oscillate
Guest

Any negative news about Toy/Netta/Israel, wiwi is so fast to publish an article.

But positive news about Netta and her victory in ESC are almost non-existent in this site.

James
Guest

They just reported not long ago about Netta meeting Prince William.

Idan Cohen
Guest

I wouldn’t say they try to bash Netta, but they’re definitely pushing more on Eleni.

But who cares? We won after 20 years, and it only pushes us to win the next years. let them write whatever they feel like.

Alkisti
Guest

News about her victory are old news… move on. Or would you rather that wiwi would report every day that she has won?…

Nancy G
Guest

LOL! Do you criticise Y Net, The Times of Israel and other Israeli media who are, in fact, the source of the “negative news” you speak of? All these sources are just DOING THEIR JOBS which is to report on the news, regardless of whether it pleases Eurofans.

Idan Cohen
Guest

Well, her song also mixes seamlessly with “Gangnam Style” and even AWS released a mash-up of their song and Toy and it blends beautifully, Does that mean “Toy” is also a copy of them as well?

The fact that you can mash-up songs don’t mean they’re copies of one another, it only means they blend well.

The pianoman
Guest
They are really silly boys if they think Netta is their toy! Take a listen to Michael Haydn’s requiem. Remind you of something? Ani no one ever threatened Mozart. And in this case melodies and full ides seem to have been transferred. And by Mozart and in one of the most famous and clearly brilliant works ever written . Just because 2 songs have one common harmonic move does not warrant plagiarism threats. Is every song with I IV V I deemed stolen from the first? No. This is a move taught in music courses. Everyone does it. Actually I… Read more »
Lola
Guest

She can say bye bys to this song releasing in the USA. When one of the biggest music company is calling you out, you are pretty much over

Laura
Guest

Read the new thread about Netta in the US (you are not only wrong Lola, but also outdated)

Pancake
Guest

I call BS on this.
Just because both songs have the same bassline, it doesn’t mean it’s a rip-off. This literally reminded me of that time Cascada was accused of copying Euphoria and Don’t You Worry Child. Suing Doron, Stav, and maybe even Netta is uncalled for.
Besides, I pretty sure the man complaining is DBS supporter.

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

Will Israel victory be rescinded if their claims are true? 😮

Ana
Guest

Read the f#cking article, the answer is there.

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

Jesus, I’m just asking…

Oscillate
Guest

But Jesus! read!

EscAU
Guest

any news on mikolas’ russian doppelganger?

Vladimir P.
Guest

American favorite sports: suing and shooting people.

JohnD
Guest

It is crystal clear that Universal is just looking for a FREE MEAL here. Since Netta’s TOY is such a big WW success (with over 80M views), EU tour and a signed a contract with a NY based label – they so much hope to get some millions also for themselves coming up with this ludicrous claim (It’s just money $$$ greed). Simply a waste of time – It obviously won’t work !! It just shows though – how much TOY is really – a BIG WW success !

Lola
Guest

Universal isn’t a small town company. They have artists that produce worldwide charting songs every month. They have more than enough money, no need to put an Israeli artist down 😉

Toy-esque
Guest

Toy is not a “WW” success… It hasn’t had any radio air play and is not in any major charts. And what tour???… In the gay clubs, Eurovision after-seaon parties and gay parades. Do you call that a “tour”?… Give me a break. Even Suzy might be more busy…

JohnD
Guest
Toy-esque
Guest
JohnD – LOL – You are a funny dude (too be diplomatic) Firstly, in Brussels you just confirmed what I said: La Demance is a gay club and music is not the main focus of that “cultural manifestation” and she was not even there, man!… LOL German and UK appearences: Any looser goes to those morning TV shows. They have to fill it up with new stuff every day. US: That was an Isreali sponsored event to celebrate the 70th anniversary. All this does certainly does not qualify for a “WW” success. Any charts positions?… What you have shown is… Read more »
JohnD
Guest

Try a bit harder to be RELEVANT Toy-esque. Why YOU need to Bash one artist (Netta) in favor of another (Salvador)? THEY BOTH (!!) deserve and have space in the wide artistic Scene. Besides – Salvador was not present in any Theater (besides the operation one) up to recently. Netta just won over a month ONLY (!) (unlike the previous winners) – and obviously carrying her current Bop as the Winner. So call me NEXT YEAR – to re-asses Netta’s agenda then :-). Will’ya? and C ya …ha ha …

Toy-esque
Guest
He had lot and lots of concerts imediately after winning and has now a full stream of concerts lined up: full tours in Spain, Germany and Poland. Would put the links, but for some reason the site is not allowing it. Check his facebook page for events, if you are interested. Rest assured. I am not “BASHING” Netta, as you put, it. I am just pointing out that she is not yet a super-mega star as you all seem to believe and that she still has a long way to go until she can be considered an interesting artist rather… Read more »
JohnD
Guest

I do agree with you Toy-esque, Salvador is no doubt an exceptional artist worthy of watching his performances – still, if you follow Netta (that actually came from nothing (small gigs in dark bars of tiny tel-aviv) to stardom in 200km/h -still one can’t deny her talent. Here is her own composition (prior to participating in the selection program to ESC) with her Experiment group: “Potatos” Enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UlnAZtdIW8

Toy-esque
Guest

Thank you for sharing that. Indeed, that was great and tbh so much better than Toy. That just confirms what I have always thought: Netta is indeed a great artist, but she is under a bad influence. Hope that the success doesn’t get too much in her head. And I stick to my point: not yet any evidence that she is mega-star. Just yet.

JohnD
Guest

With all my pleasure m8! 🙂

Danny
Guest

Even if they somehow can prove this melody is considered a violation of their copyrights (which I doubt), it lasts 15 seconds out of 180 during the whole song. It is 8.3% of the song, it’s such an insignificant part that I doubt they will get too much money out of it. I wonder if it’s some kind of prank and tomorrow Universal will say they never sent any letter. It just seems absolutely ridiculous.

RTW
Guest

Get ready for Wichita 2019 baby!

Hebbuzz
Guest

I think the similarities are quite far sought. If this is plagiarism then Listen to you heartbeat is a cover of Liefde is een kaartspel. ?

kobo
Guest

Lol … there is no connection between the songs. It did not sound like anything. Universal is looking to ride on Toy success, and I would not be surprised if some organization like BDS stands behind it. A recommendation to the songwriters of the song toy, sue them for defamation.

RockMe
Guest

I can hear the similarity now but if I heard the song without reading the article I would’ve never noticed it lol.The beat is similar to Netta’s instrumental part.
And it’s a small overlap, wouldn’t call it plagiarism.
Just more unwanted drama.

LawStudent
Guest
According to the Guy Pines reporting today the allegations provided in the letter from Universal’s lawyers concern similarities around ” the harmonies and pace of both songs” (as opposed to the melody or words). I think that if you compare minute 2:30 onwards from Netta’s official music video, its quite obvious that the background track is insanely similar to Seven Nations Harmony’s catchy beat. Whether thats enough to win an intellectual property suit – will depend on the specific judge and the specific jurisdiction. It will thus be interesting to see where this will get litigated (which court should have… Read more »
Danny
Guest

Didn’t you notice that every two days there’s an article in Israeli media with a hysteric topic “Is the Eurovision in Israel in danger?!”. That’s a lame clickbait and i’m actually completely fed up by it at this point.

James
Guest

They need to ad revenue.

CookyMonzta
Guest

Those copyright secret police always act as if they are a step ahead of the game, but they always show up a day late and a dollar short! Where were they on the day Netta won her national contest and the buzz started getting hot for “Toy”?

EFL
Guest

Honestly, I don’t even know here… as much as I dislike “Toy” and I am probably going to get downvote-bombed for that 😉 … this is not plagiarism. If this gets a threat from a music org, then why didn’t Cascada’s “Glorious” receive some from both the Swedish House Mafia and from Loreen’s record companies… just so irregular and pretty weird they’d even do that. Meh.

John
Guest

I hope Universal reimburses Doran for the plane ticket to LA and sign him for some deals.

Noit31
Guest

That’s just ridiculous. If you call it similarity then you can say that same thing about half of the songs today.

Danny
Guest

The best defence will be to find this kind of “harmonies and pace” similarities in a song that was released before “Seven Nation Army” and claim that “Seven Nation Army” is a rip off.

Sau
Guest

Here, someone already did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlAhNS6LPmg
Highly recommend you watch it because it shows that riff isn’t original.

Anita
Guest

At least an article about Netta. We were so much waiting for one. And this one is really nice.

Anita
Guest

This time I post an interview with Eleni as a comment to this lovely article about Netta 😉 Just enjoy her personality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgZ_uitFm4M

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Well, it’s the same chord progression, but everything else about the song is quite different. Most importantly, the melody in each song is different. In most situations, plagiarism cases aren’t worth pursuing in court (#partyshore), but when the song in question is popular, it’s going to be worth it.

Maybe they’d settle on a co-writing credit. In that case, it would be so weird to have Jack White listed as a Eurovision-winning songwriter! 😀

Joseph Shaulov
Guest

I agree with a lot of what you just said

Charles
Guest

Pretty sure Jack White would be like Salvador Sobral and look the whole Eurovision circus and go “what the effff is this?”

Waleed
Guest

“same chord progression” sorry i cant understand how you hear anyyy resembles

I'm tired
Guest

Netta added some parts to the song (the intro, clucking and some of the lyrics were her idea – she’s the one that made the song sound unique) and she wasn’t credited as song writer. If someone gets credit for absolutely nothing, the world’s gone mad.

Alex
Guest

They are completely different songs. There’s no similarity to Toy.

Charles
Guest

And the earth is not round …

Esc US
Guest

They even edited the Toy overlay in the video to overlap with the chorus of the other song. Someone is guilty of falsely accusing Netta and Medalie.

Nata
Guest

I really don’t hear a similarity at all.

boi
Guest

There are 0 similarties…. Toy get copystrike threats when its one of the most original songs that i ever heard never heard something like Toy before… but No one claims Heroes by måns to be like Lovers in the sun by David guetta…. It just seems to me like someone is so eager on canceling nettas win…

Frisian esc
Guest

I’ve seen a looooot of david guetta accusations in 2015 and 2016. No question about that.

boi
Guest

I mean company records Claims…

Ethan1994
Guest

Dafuq??
No, seriously, what??? They don’t sound remotely similar.

Joe
Guest

That song doesn’t even sound a tiny bit like “Toy.”

Esc US
Guest

I agree completely how in the world are they similar

cc,
Guest

no offence but if the copyright is ture and israel get the trophy removed i wouldnt be mad

Danny
Guest

Jamala performed a demo version of 1944 in a concert before the time it was allowed by the rules. There was a youtube video with several hundred views of that performance, the EBU did nothing about it. They will do nothing about this “copyright” drama either. They are reasonable people.

M_K
Guest

Pretty much every person on planet Earth knows “Seven Nation Army”. So if the similarities were that striking, there would have already been a much bigger stir.

Gobio
Guest

This is beyond ridiculous.
People are desperate to find any of the slightest of reasons for Eurovision not to be in Israel. ” boycott Israel”, ” No suitable arena” and now comparing “Toy” which is undoubtedly and indisputably original (even too original for some people) and compare it to one of the most unthemic songs. Who is next to make a fuss, KFC?

Www
Guest

KFC’s defintely going to want Toy as their anthem.

Josh Kennon
Guest

Doubtful they are guilty of ripping it off — but that mashup kicks butt!

impressiveinstants
Guest

It may or not be true, but this song was revealed 4 months ago. I wonder why these issues emerge now.

Eleni
Guest

exactly