Skip to comments.Men at Work to Pay for Borrowed Flute Riff
Posted on 07/08/2010 12:36:49 AM PDT by nickcarraway
The pop band Men at Work has been ordered to pay a music publishing company 5 percent of the royalties it earned in Australia for its song "Down Under."
A judge said Tuesday the group must pay Larrikin Publishing because it borrowed without permission a flute riff from the popular Australian nursery rhyme "Kookaburra," penned by the late Marion Sinclair in 1932, CNN said. Sinclair died in 1988.
Larrikin holds the copyright to the "Kookaburra" but did not became aware of the similarities between it and 1981's "Down Under" until they were compared on a game show in 2007, the U.S. news agency said.
Tuesday's ruling regarding payment followed a February decision by Federal Court Judge Peter Jacobsen, who found the flute riff featured in "Down Under" was similar to that in "Kookaburra" but that it is not "a substantial part of 'Down Under' or that it is the 'hook' of that song."
CNN did not say what the estimated amount of the damages is.
This should be under ‘breaking news’ man. I always thought something was fishy about that riff.
hmmmm, having to pay a royalty for barrowing from a nursery rhyme. Me thinks there are more that a few Rap groups that might be worried with this ruling.
They deliberately put the flute riff in to assert their Australianess.
Just listend to the song on Youtube and it is definately full of flute
I wonder what kind of royalities they still receive for that song? I suspect the money is long gone and it will take many, many years to get 5% of the total of what it has made.
Also note that this publisher didn't buy the rights until after the songwriter had died, nearly a decade after the original release of "Down Under." That's probably a factor in why the judgment was so low and not the 40%-60% the publisher requested.
Of course, I am just speculating as a layman...I know nothing of Australian law except what I read in news reports.
Of course they did.
It's a shame that this didn't happen before Marion Sinclair passed away. I wonder if she ever commented on it. It's also a shame that this judgment is just going to the publishing house and not the Girl Guides...but I suppose that for the Girl Guides to get it, the judge would have to side with Men at Work and there'd be no judgment at all.
gunsequalfreedom> Just listend to the song on Youtube and it is definately full of flute
They bootlegged the riff old style...
They played it on an instrument.
Time was songs written in 1932 would be public domain by now.
I loathe the corrupt entertainment industry which has bought the lawmakers.
This is Australian law.
The laws are being changed globally.
In Europe rock and roll by Elvis, Little Richard, and others is now Public Domain. Same with the songs of Frank Sinatra.
All of that is changing because the damned Beatles didn’t earn enough from their songs in their day and the recordings are about to go P.D. in two years.
Good enough for other living artists, good enough for the British Invasion acts.
You’re right. I wasn’t clear. This is under Australian law, which used to be better...but with the fair trade agreement, the USA forced a change on them. My point is that it’s spreading, not just getting worse here. And I see that’s your point, too.
No worries, as long as they don’t mind being paid in Vegemite ...
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Other reports say it will be under a million Australian dollars.
This crap is so tiresome.
“Oh gee! Didja hear that note? It sounds just like a note I played in my last song!”
I never saw the harm in Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” and I fail to see the harm expressed in “Down Under”. In both cases even if we accept that there is a similarity existing between the two tunes, the net result was an increase of plays for the “injured” source song.
Oh well, I guess it is the age of nit-picking...
“hmmmm, having to pay a royalty for barrowing from a nursery rhyme. Me thinks there are more that a few Rap groups that might be worried with this ruling.”
If copyright law were rigorously enforced with regard to stuff like this, the entire genre of rap and hip-hop would cease to exist.
I know; it’s abhorrent how long copyright runs now. I always teach my law students how the founders specifically noted the rationale for intellectual property regulation in the Constitution: the rationale is for the promotion of progress. With copyright now generally running 95 years for corporate works of life of author plus 75, big entertainment has made it impossible for anyone alive at the time of the creation of a copyrighted work to create a derivative work...and thus “promote progress.”
Fifty-six years was plenty long for a copyright to run, as it did under the 1909 act. I’m glad we got rid of the renewal concept but copyright now is just ridiculously long, and it serves no one except big entertainment and heirs who should be working for a living anyway.
I should add “big entertainment has made it impossible for anyone to create a derivative work without paying big entertainment a license fee for the privilege.”
This is but one more example of how structurally untenable our economy has become with to many folks trying to live off of the production of everyone else and too few actually producing anything that folks will elect to purchase with their own money of their own free will in an free market.
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