David versus Goliath: Local artist takes on global giant for song plagiarism!

It takes a lot of guts to take on a global superstar but Daniel is not backing down from this Goliath!


South Africa – In a story which could become one of the biggest musical scandals South Africa has ever seen; striking similarities between Daniel Baron’s 2016 hit single ‘Children Of The Sun’ and David Guetta’s new collaboration with Sia, ‘Light Headed’ have been discovered.

The song in question appears on the DJ’s latest album which was released in September 2018 and subsequently peaked at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart.

It has been found that ‘Light Headed’ contains an identical melodic, chordal and rhythmic similarity to what has become Daniel Baron’s most successful single to date. In a video released onto YouTube, the two tracks play simultaneously, and the similarities can be heard.


But Daniel is not backing down from this Goliath and many South Africans are standing behind him!

Shortly after hearing Guetta’s infringing track following its release late last year, Daniel appointed top South African musical professor Jean Zeidel-Rudolf to conduct a musicologist report which analyses the two tracks and has subsequently ruled that plagiarism is clear. The similarity can be heard in the main hook melody of Guetta’s song which appears seven times throughout the song. The tones and rhythmic positioning of the notes are of exact resemblance to the chorus melody of Baron’s song. ‘Light Headed’ even shares the same root key signature of C-Major, identical to Baron’s ‘Children of The Sun.’ This result prompted local royalty society SAMRO to freeze the royalty stream until the matter has been dealt with.

The South African artist confirmed that he is currently involved in a legal battle with the famous French DJ and that his legal team, led by Stephen Hollis of Adams & Adams, have made initial contact with Guetta regarding the copyright infringement. However, the musician confirms that there still hasn’t been a response from the DJ or his team.

Guetta’s local publisher, Geoff Paynter Music Publishing, confirmed that a letter of demand was sent to David Guetta last year.

“We confirm we received a letter of demand in December 2018 which was immediately forwarded to our sub-publisher principles. They confirmed that they, in turn, forwarded the correspondence to their publisher principles,” Geoff Paynter said in a statement.

‘Children Of The Sun’ was written, recorded and produced by Daniel Baron in early 2016 – two and a half years before Guetta released ‘Light Headed’. Baron claims that he remembers coming up with the main chorus melody even a year before that, adding that he has a recording on his phone from 24 June 2015 when he started writing the song.

The song became a massive hit around South Africa reaching the number one spot on multiple radio stations and streaming charts around the country. It was the fifth most played song in South African radio in 2016 and was also one of Baron’s first songs to break into the international music scene with radio play and streams across Africa, Europe and Asia – even featuring on the viral YouTube channel TrapNation – garnering over 1 million views. ‘Children of the Sun’ was also one of the biggest tracks in the country when Guetta performed at Ultra South Africa back in 2017.

While Daniel and his legal team prepare for a court case, the local pop star is just asking to be credited as a songwriter on Guetta’s track.

“I was so shocked when I heard Guetta’s new song for the first time. It felt surreal to hear the tune that I came up with years ago,” Daniel says. 

“I’ve always been a fan of him, and I look up to him as an artist/producer, so I feel rather bewildered and slightly proud that he’s used my melody. I am not the type of person that would want to start a fight with him. All I want is to be credited as a co-writer.”

Daniel adds that while it’s difficult for him to see one of his idols use his body of work without permission, it says a lot for the quality of South African music today.

“South African music is making the world sit up and listen,” Daniel says. 

“While it hurts seeing someone copy something you put your blood, sweat and tears into without making contact and sampling it legally, it’s incredible to see that massive international acts are inspired by local music – and that’s a real honour.”

More updates will be made available once the case proceeds.

Sources: Daniel Baron 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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