Men At Work Ordered to Pay Out Royalties on "Down Under"

Men At Work Ordered to Pay Out Royalties on 'Down Under'
Back in February, we reported that Men At Work were being sued by Larrikin Music Group for the band's alleged plagiarism of "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" in their hit song "Down Under." After a federal court ruled in Larrikin's favour, Men At Work's label, EMI, appealed the case, and now a new ruling has come down, stating that the band must pay Larrikin five-percent of all royalties earned by the song.

CBC reports that this morning (July 6), Sydney Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson ordered both the band's recording company (EMI Songs Australia) and the song's writers (Colin Hay and Ron Strykert) to forward five-percent of all royalties since 2002 to Larrikin.

In a way, one could consider the ruling favourable for EMI and the band - Larrikin was originally seeking 60-percent of the royalties - but a lawyer for the record label insists that the ruling will once again be appealed.

Hay and Strykert (Men At Work's principal songwriters) were not in court and have not yet issued a statement following the ruling. Since February, Hay has admitted the later version of the song does reference "Kookaburra" in the flute loop, but that when he and Strykert first wrote it, the riff was not a part of the song.

"Kookaburra" was originally written in 1934 for the girl guides by Australian Marion Sinclair.