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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Men at Work's Down Under a rip off

    Men at Work's Down Under ripped off Kookaburra: court
    KIM ARLINGTON
    February 4, 2010

    Men at Work's No.1 hit Down Under reproduced a "substantial part" of the children's folk tune Kookaburra Sits In the Old Gum Tree , infringing copyright in the song, a Federal Court judge found today.

    Larrikin Music, which owns the copyright to the song Kookaburra , is now entitled to recover damages - potentially a huge sum - from band members and their record company.

    Larrikin alleged that the band's famous flute riff came from the children's tune, written in 1934 by school teacher Marion Sinclair.

    The court has heard that Ms Sinclair had entered the competition calling for entrants to submit a song in the round, a short story, a poem or a picture that could be used for a Christmas card. Competition details were printed in a circular and the official Girl Guide magazine Matilda , stating that all material entered would become property of the Girl Guide Association of Victoria.

    Larrikin claims it had won a tender for the copyright for Kookaburra from the South Australian Public Trustee in 1990, after Ms Sinclair died.

    Legal action was launched by Larrikin's managing director, Norman Lurie, in 2007 after the television show Spicks And Specks raised the alleged similarities.

    Larrikin sued songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert and record company EMI seeking backdated royalties and a share of future profits.

    Down Under topped the charts in Australia, the US and Britain and is an unofficial anthem for Australians everywhere.

    After a hearing in the Federal Court last year, Justice Peter Jacobson delivered judgment today.

    "I have come to the view that the 1979 recording and the 1981 recording of Down Under infringe Larrikin's copyright in Kookaburra because both of those recordings reproduce a substantial part of Kookaburra ," he said.

    "I am also of the view that Larrikin is entitled to recover damages ... for the infringements.

    "Nevertheless, I would emphasise that the findings I have made do not amount to a finding that the flute riff is a substantial part of Down Under or that it is the "hook" of the song.

    The judge said Larrikin had succeeded in its bid by proving the similarities between the songs.

    But he said a Qantas advertisement, which also used a small similar section of the riff, was not in breach of copyright laws.

    The parties will meet again on February 25 to discuss the findings and begin discussions about costs.

    Larrikin's lawyer Adam Simpson said EMI and the band may be forced to hand over as much as 60 per cent of their earnings from the international hit record.

    "It's a big win for the underdog," Mr Simpson said outside the court today.

    When asked how much Larrikin would be looking for, he replied: "Obviously, the more the better but it depends - anything from what we've claimed, which is between 40 and 60 [per cent], and what they've suggested which is considerably less."

    smh.com.au


    youtube.com

  2. #2
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    aging one's Avatar
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    bet they are a bit "slacked jawed and not too much too say" Memories good ones.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    And in related news the band shall be changing its name to: 'Men Ripping Off Other Peoples Work'.


  4. #4
    Mid
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    pay that one ant

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Don't see the resemblance myself, but Hey, I'm not a judge.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Maybe ?

  7. #7
    Knows fok all
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    Must have been one of those kangaroo courts.

  8. #8
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    1979/81 to 2007, not exactly quick off the mark were they?

    As it's, from memory, the only big hit Men at Work ever had they've probably pissed the lot up the wall and now haven't a pot to do it in. They could always offer to pay it off in Vegemite sandwiches.

  9. #9
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    bit silly really.

  10. #10
    Mid
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    the only big hit Men at Work ever had


    youtube.com

  11. #11
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    Mai khaw chai.

    I was meaning musical hit, I assume they had something to do with Australia II.

  12. #12
    Mid
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    indeed , was the theme song , boomed out across the docks as Oz II sailed out to do battle .

  13. #13
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    ^ mate great clip and I remember that like yesterday. I was eight years old. Big thanks.

  14. #14
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    The first time I, and most other Aussies heard Down Under must of immediately recognized the Kookaburra riff and thought nothing else of it.

    Fooking ell and after all these years they now have decided to sue them for using it.

    If I was the M[at]W defence lawyer I would claim Statute of Limitations as I reckon any claim period would of expired by now.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat nedwalk's Avatar
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    was,nt it shakespeare who said ' much ado about nothing'?, as colin hay just stated to his last breath that song is an original, and the only time this load of crap surfaced when th equestion of similarity was raised on an ABC music quiz show 'spicks and specks' and all of a sudden the company who owns the rights to that 'other' song realised that with a bit of court action could turn their small investment into a fortune through the benefit of a bunch of hard working musos effort!..i reckon its a load of shit and should have been thrown out

  16. #16
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    Who gives a shit.
    Bloody good song anyway.

  17. #17
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    I said to the man are you trying to tempt me?

    Because I come from the "Land of Plenty".

    Fvcking love it!

  18. #18
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    another copyright farce.

    the offending piece was written in 1935 - 74 fcuking years ago

    the claimants purchased the "rights to the song"

    recoup the costs of the court farce by selling the arses of the politicians who signed these laws , in kings cross.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedwalk View Post
    was,nt it shakespeare who said ' much ado about nothing'?, as colin hay just stated to his last breath that song is an original, and the only time this load of crap surfaced when th equestion of similarity was raised on an ABC music quiz show 'spicks and specks' and all of a sudden the company who owns the rights to that 'other' song realised that with a bit of court action could turn their small investment into a fortune through the benefit of a bunch of hard working musos effort!..i reckon its a load of shit and should have been thrown out
    Yes. "The Kookaburra its in the old gum tree" could have been a world wide hit in its own right if given the right promotional opportunities.

    Just another case of parasitic profiteering by way of legal technicality.

    Every song writer these days who bangs out a new tune must be terrified that some part of his new creation has a strong resemblance to some kids ditty that is under copyright someplace.

    A bit sad really as it stifles creativity.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda
    Every song writer these days who bangs out a new tune must be terrified that some part of his new creation has a strong resemblance to some kids ditty that is under copyright someplace. A bit sad really as it stifles creativity.
    You're right and not just kids ditties. There are only so many musical notes and only so many melodic combos (that leaves rap out of it) so as more music is laid down the chance of your new composition sounding similar to one in the past increases.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick
    another copyright farce. the offending piece was written in 1935 - 74 fcuking years ago the claimants purchased the "rights to the song" recoup the costs of the court farce by selling the arses of the politicians who signed these laws , in kings cross.
    I was thinking the same.

    If someone had copied bits of the song since the copyright was purchased, then fair enough, but this is all arse about face. Another dumb-fuck judge with his head up his arse.

  22. #22
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    I here no resemblance between the two songs and i listened to the two video.

  23. #23
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    Actually most of the whole album was quite good -

    Track listing

    1. "Who Can It Be Now?" (Colin Hay) – 3:25
    2. "I Can See It in Your Eyes" (Hay) – 3:32
    3. "Down Under" (Hay, Ron Strykert) – 3:45
    4. "Underground" (Hay) – 3:07
    5. "Helpless Automaton" (Greg Ham) – 3:23
    6. "People Just Love to Play With Words" (Strykert) – 3:33
    7. "Be Good Johnny" (Ham, Hay) – 3:39
    8. "Touching the Untouchables" (Hay, Strykert) – 3:41
    9. "Catch a Star" (Hay) – 3:31
    10. "Down by the Sea" (Hay, Strykert, Ham, Jerry Speiser) – 6:53

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick
    another copyright farce. the offending piece was written in 1935 - 74 fcuking years ago the claimants purchased the "rights to the song" recoup the costs of the court farce by selling the arses of the politicians who signed these laws , in kings cross.
    I was thinking the same.

    If someone had copied bits of the song since the copyright was purchased, then fair enough, but this is all arse about face. Another dumb-fuck judge with his head up his arse.
    Copyright's in effect 70yrs from the death of the original author. Since the claimants purchased the right from her estate in 1990, presumably she died sometime around that time. In any event the right was in effect during the authors life, when the Men at Work song was released, and is still well in effect today. Ownership of the right during those intervening years is irrelevant.

    So it's one thing to argue against the law but another to blame the Judge who was simply applying the law to this case. It's not like he listened from the bench and decided: 'yep, that's the same'.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy
    Because I come from the "Land of Plenty".
    Does that lyric refer to uninhabitable desert or singlets? I've never been able to work it out.

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