Men at Work Lose Plagiarism Case over "Down Under"
Published Feb 04, 2010You know that children's song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" and that flute riff from the Men at Work song "Down Under"? Well, turns out they're mighty similar. In fact, they are so similar that Men at Work have just lost a lawsuit accusing them of plagiarism.
"Kookaburra" was written by teacher Marion Sinclair in 1934 for the Girl Guides and the rights to the song are now owned by the Larrikin music group, who took legal action to settle the claim that the flute riff from Men at Work's No. 1 hit was directly lifted from the children's favourite.
A federal court in Sydney, Australia ruled in Larrikin's favour today (February 4), and ordered that Men at Work compensate the group for royalties the song has made since its release in 1981. We're guessing that's a lot of money.
The next hearing is scheduled for February 25, at which time the court will decide what percentage of the song's royalties should be paid to Larrikin, who are currently asking 60 percent. Yep, definitely a lot of money.