Thursday, 4 February 2010

Men at Work lose plagiarism case

Down Under (song)Image via Wikipedia

Men at Work may need to get back to work to pay their legal bills.

The big news today is that Scottish Aussie pop combo Men At Work have been found guilty of plagiarism and a federal court in Sydney ordered compensation to be paid. The old school-exam style crime pertains to their 1981 pop anthem "Down Under" which depicts a backpacker's travels around the world.

The song, seen in some countries as the only hit of a one hit wonder is synonymous with Aussie pride and is played at any event mildly connected to Australia - the closing of the Syndney Olympics, the unofficial anthem of the Australian team that won the Americas Cup in 1983, an iconic Qantas ad and  Australia Day celebrations on any given year.

The passage in despute is the famous flute line that runs throughout the song. It has been deemed this is a direct lift of the children's song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree," written by Marion Sinclair in 1934.

Music copyright lawyer Stephen Digby told ABC Online he was surprised by the court's decision. "I think it could have gone either way but my initial reaction was always that this was going to be a very hard case for (publisher) Larrikin to win," he said.

With a win in the bag for Larrikin, a court hearing is to take place later this month to determine exactly how much of the royalties for the song Men At Work songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert will have to pay back, as well as and record companies Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Songs Australia. The figure bandied about at the moment is 40-60%.

Let's hope Vegemite don't come calling for unlicenced use of a brand name.
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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Spotify's related artists

SpotifyImage via Wikipedia
Spotify have been in the news a lot this week. From founder Daniel E's news that Twitter is their biggest traffic source, to the announcement today about a newly rolled out related artist feature.

According to an article on Tech Crunch, Spotify have been working on a recommendation engine to let you discover new music while listening to your favourite acts. This would act as a replacement for the short, rather static list of related artists that appeared on the artist page. According to Tech Crunch, the recommendation engine is "powered by an algorithm that cross-references data collected over millions of user listening hours, not dissimilar it seems to’s ’scrobbling’ of tracks".

Whether the feature will spur you to on to discover any amazing new finds is still up for debate. A quick perusal of the new system finds me on the Pet Shop Boys page contemplating listening to their related artist Brummie metal Gods "Judas Priest" (maybe it's the gay connection they're going for).

Clearly, though, there's still quite a bit of work to do before I'm actually discovering new RELEVANT music using this feature.

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