Israel 2018 🇮🇱 Eurovision hitmakers said to ink deal with US label over ‘Toy’ plagiarism claim
Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece)
ISRAEL – The composers of Israel’s winning entry in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest are reportedly about to sign a deal with a major US record corporation to end a legal threat over alleged plagiarism, according to a Wednesday report.
Universal Music Studios, one of the world’s biggest music companies, sent a pre-suit notice letter two months ago to Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, who jointly wrote the song, “Toy,” claiming that Netta Barzilai’s contest-winning hit was copied from The White Stripe’s 2003 song, “Seven Nation Army.”
According to a Ynet report, Medalie and Beger will give Universal some of the distribution rights of the song in certain countries, resolving claims of copyright infringement.
Both sides will reportedly benefit from the deal because, with the backing of Universal, the song will reach a much larger audience.
If upheld, claims of copyright infringement could have disqualified “Toy’s” eligibility to participate in Eurovision, meaning Israel could have been stripped of its win, and in turn losing Israel hosting rights for the 2019 tournament. Eurovision entries must be original material.
“The agreement is expected to be signed in the coming days,” sources told Ynet. “Medalie has been in the US for a month and a half in order to end this saga.”
Many have observed that the two songs have a similar baseline — as is the case of many other pairs of songs — but Universal’s attorneys alleged that similarities in rhythm and harmony constitute copyright infringement.
In March, Haaretz writer Ben Shalev noted of “Toy” that “the music closely resembles ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes. Let’s hope Jack White doesn’t hear this song before the Eurovision Song Contest. He may sue.”
News of the imminent deal came a day after Israel’s public broadcaster and the government reached a last-minute deal to end a spat over funding for hosting next year’s contest, which had left Israel’s hosting duties in jeopardy.
One of Israel’s most successful hit-makers, Doron has written over 250 songs, ballads, Middle Eastern pop songs, children songs, soundtracks and theme songs for TV.
He wrote “Tel Aviv Ya Habibi Tel Aviv” – the official anthem of Tel Aviv Gay Pride 2013.
He has worked with Israeli singers including Eyal Golan, Shlomi Shabat, Omer Adam, Lior Narkis, and Harel Skaat. His solo album, Abyss, was released in 2008.
Medalie has coordinated the theme songs and soundtracks for many TV shows, among them Goalstar, The Unit, Bolywood. Royal Chef, The Bachelor, Split. Zagury Empire, Disney Israel, Summer Break Stories, North Star and Shavit Ventura Show.