David Henderson, along with two other Hungarian songwriters, David Toth and Peter Ferencz, have accused Five Seconds of Summer of ripping off one of their songs, according to Bloomberg Law.
Bloomberg Law says that a complaint was filed against the Australian band in the Northern District of Texas on July 15, 2019. The complaint reportedly says that Five Seconds of Summer’s 2018 hit “Youngblood” steals from a song featured in a Hungarian song competition.
The case is being pursued by White Shadows LLC, which is owned by Henderson, Toth, and Ferencz. The three musicians reportedly said that “Youngblood” uses identical melodic phrases to their song “White Shadows.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Henderson Was Born in Budapest, Hungary
According to the Tennessee Star, Henderson was born in Budapest, Hungary, to an American father and a Hungarian mother. His family has roots in the Nashville area, so David naturally grew up with an appreciation for music.
The outlet reports that David “burst on to the Hungarian music scene” in 2012. He was only 17 years old when he was discovered on The Voice: Hungary. After starring in the music competition, David reportedly finished high school and moved to the United States for a short while to establish residency.
David moved back to Hungary to marry his girlfriend, Zsanett. In April 2018, they moved to Nashville where he pursued a full-time music career.
“I’ve written songs for other people, and that’s cool, but I feel like my place is on the stage,” he told the outlet.
2. David Henderson Has Released Four Songs in the Past Two Years
Henderson’s most recent original song was published to YouTube on September 28, 2017. “Wildfire” was written by Henderson, Toth, and Krisztian Sztevanovity, and has racked up over 12,000 views.
Henderson, who has 774 subscribers on YouTube, has posted a total of four songs over the past two years. The first was “White Shadows” in 2016. In 2017, he released “Smoke and Mirrors,” “Wildfire,” and a cover of “Hosanna.”
3. David Henderson Released a Version of ‘White Shadows’ in 2016
Although White Shadows LLC is owned by Henderson, Toth, and Ferencz, Henderson himself released a version of the song in 2016. In 2017, he performed the song on Hungary’s Eurovision linked show ‘A Dal’ and made it to the semi-finals.
Henderson’s official music video has racked up over 172,789 views on YouTube. The video has also prompted dozens of comments, most of which have been posted in the past few days. People are stumbling upon the video after seeing news about the lawsuit and sharing their opinion in the comment section.
“Okay the verses sound almost identical but the chorus is completely different,” Jay Monteiro commented. “That’s enough in some cases to be considered plagiarism though. Yikes. Regardless both songs are pretty good.
“Only the intro looks like Youngblood, the rest of the song is different,” Monserrath Ramirez Lira wrote.
“Y’all being goofy as hell, 5sos is going to lose the lawsuit,” Samm Kang said. “These instrumentals are too similar.”
4. White Shadows LLC Says the Similarities Between the Two Songs are ‘Striking’
5SOS posted the official music video in August 2018. The video has since racked up almost 92 million views.
According to Complete Music Update, 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 reportedly claim that the similarities between “Youngblood” and “White Shadows” is “so striking” that “it could not be the result of mere coincidence.”
“Plagiarised from the song White Shadows?” Juliane Sofiya Martinez Pardo commented under the 5SOS video. “So close but so far away ? back off haters.”
5. ‘YoungBlood’ Hit Number One on Billboard’s Pop Songs Airplay Chart
“Youngblood is a certified Billboard #1 album in America,” the band wrote on Instagram on June 24, 2018. “You came together as people to get us our 3rd number one record for all the right reasons. Today you made history for 4 young men, and you are every reason why we feel like the luckiest people alive.”
While 5SOS felt like the luckiest group of guys on the planet, having received substantial airplay and making a fortune off of the hit song, White Shadows LLC felt they had been ripped off.
The lawyers reportedly said that they “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”.