Case closed: Romanian song wasn’t aired before October 1st and is not a copy

Frustrated Romanians want the EBU to take action against their own entry as they claim that it is plagiarism and even was aired before EBU rules allow. EuroVisionary have asked an independent source to judge this and investigated if the song really was aired before October 1st 2007 as claimed.

For TVR and the duo, Nico & Vlad Mirita the past couple of days hasn’t been easy. They won the Romanian final, but accusations of plagiarism met them as soon as they had left the stage! The winning song, Pe-o margine de lume, was accused of being a copy of La Magia del Corazon, which David Bustamante sang to a third position in the 2002 Spanish selection.

As the rumour were spreading fans became more and more annoyed – and when it was then made publicly known that Andrei Partos should have confirmed that the song was aired already on the 15th of September 2007, the scandal seemed complete as EBU’s rules state that "the entries (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released and/or publicly performed before 1 October 2007". [Rules for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, section 4, rule #1 – Ed].

EuroVisionary offered our readers the chance to compare the two songs and judge for themselves whether or not they were too similar. For many Romanians this was seen as a place where they could express their dissatisfaction and let go of some frustrations.

EuroVisionary has been in contact with TVR all through this case and we would like to say that the experience they were seriously concerned about these accusations and have been listening to the many frustrated Romanian fans. They immediately installed an external committee to look closer at the two songs, but found that the similarities were not of a character that would mean disqualification. They provided us with proof of that. It was then mentioned to us that the notes they sent with the comparison was taken from a part of the song, which is not the very similar chorus. EuroVisionary presented the comparison to British Andrew Brook who is totally independent in this case. He concluded the following:

The choruses of both songs begin with a phrase of six notes, which are the same. In the Romanian song this phrase is repeated later in the chorus, which may reinforce an impression that the song is a copy of the earlier, Spanish song. However, the musical phrase used in both songs is a very simple one, which almost certainly has its roots in classical music, and has probably appeared in hundreds of songs over the years. One example, which is very well known, is the Barbara Streisand standard ‘Evergreen’ where the same phrase appears as the introduction to the song.
[It is a general assumption in the music industry that up to six notes are allowed to be identical, but it is not directly mentioned in EBU’s rules – Ed]. 

The matter of whether or not the song met EBU’s rules about not being aired before the 1st of October 2007 was another matter. TVR said that they had been checking play lists, but many still claimed that it was aired on Radio Romania Actualitati on the 15th of September 2007 and that host Andrei Partos should have confirmed this. EuroVisionary have been in contact with him and his answer to the matter is short and clear: “No, I didn’t air the song before 1st October 2007 and there are no play lists or recordings that can prove otherwise”.

With that in mind EuroVisionary has chosen to call it a closed case. We have been listening, taken the accusations seriously and have investigated. Nothing irregularly was found and unless new evidence turns up, we must conclude that indeed the two songs are similar, but it is not plagiarism. We didn’t manage to find evidence that the song has been aired before the 1st of October and from here we would like to wish Nico & Vlad Mirita the best of luck in Belgrade in May.

Source: EuroVisonary
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