Men at Work ‘stole’ riff

Court finds hit 'Down Under' plagiarized 'Kookaburra'

Australian band Men at Work’s worldwide hit “Down Under” breached the copyright of a children’s nursery rhyme, according to the Australian Federal Court.

The court found Thursday that the song’s famous flute riff reproduced a “substantial part” of the tune “Kookaburra Sits in an Old Gum Tree.”

Larrikin Music, which owns the copyright to “Kookaburra,” written in the 1930s by Marion Sinclair, will now seek to recover damages of up to 60% of royalties.

Written by Colin Hay and Ron Strykert in 1981, “Down Under” became an Aussie anthem and topped the local charts as well as charts in the U.K. and the U.S. The tune has been widely used in television shows and in films, including “Finding Nemo.” Because of this, Larrikin’s claim could run to millions of dollars.

The legal action was launched in 2007 against Hay, Strykert and diskery EMI after the similarity was pointed out on music quizzer “Spicks and Specks,” which airs on pubcaster the ABC.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0


    Leave a Reply

    No Comments

    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    More Biz News from Variety