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Five Seconds Of Summer accused of ripping off Hungary-based songwriters on Youngblood

By | Published on Monday 22 July 2019

Five Seconds Of Summer

Five Seconds Of Summer were sued in a Texas court last week in one of those ever popular song-theft lawsuits. The Aussie pop outfit are accused of ripping off a 2016 song by Hungary-based musicians David Henderson, David Toth and Peter Ferencz on their 2018 hit ‘Youngblood’.

The earlier track is called ‘White Shadows’ and the lawsuit is being pursued by an entity called White Shadows LLC, which is owned by the three songwriters. Henderson himself released a version of that song in 2016 and appeared on Hungary’s Eurovision linked show ‘A Dal’ performing it the following year.

In a statement accompanying its lawsuit, White Shadows LLC alleges that, in 2018, “Five Seconds Of Summer, pressed for time and facing the prospect of commercial irrelevancy, released ‘Youngblood’, a single which would become the titular song of their third studio album. The song’s success propelled the band to new heights of fame and fortune, virtually single-handedly. Unfortunately, substantial portions of the song were copied directly from ‘White Shadows'”.

Legal reps for White Shadows LLC claim that the similarities between the two songs is “so striking” that “it could not be the result of mere coincidence”.

They go on: “The first melodic phrase of ‘Youngblood’ is virtually identical to the melodic phrase from ‘White Shadows'”, and the phrases are repeated four times in each respective song. It is clear that 5 Seconds Of Summer had access, means, and motive to appropriate the melodic phrase of ‘White Shadows’, and we firmly believe that any listener who hears both songs will notice the substantial similarities”.

“In short”, they add, “Five Seconds Of Summer misappropriated an earworm melody from Henderson, Toth and Ferencz, claimed it was their own creation, and rode the riff to world-wide success; we believe this is jaw-droppingly obvious and, frankly, it shocks the conscience”.

Concluding, the lawyers say: “We look forward to presenting evidence that Five Seconds Of Summer not only infringed on our client’s copyright and misappropriated portions of ‘White Shadows’, but that the band has experienced worldwide acclaim and derived substantial revenue by exploiting the work of three young songwriters. We are confident that our clients will be vindicated in court”.

So, plenty of bold talking. We await a response from 5 Seconds Of Summer. They’re presumably very busy trying to find 47 other songs that use the same melodic phrase. Meanwhile, here are the customary YouTube videos so you can compare the two tracks for yourself: ‘White Shadows’ and ‘Youngblood’…