Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Men at Work ordered to pay 5% royalties on "Down Under"

Having been found guilty this past winter of plagiarism for one of their biggest hits "Down Under", it has been announced this week that Men at Work are to pay a mere 5% of song royalties accrued since 2002, as well as on future earnings.

The track, an unofficial Aussie national anthem, tells the story of a backpacker travelling the world and includes a number of iconic Aussie images - including the narrator being offered a Vegemite sandwich.

Featured throughout the song is a flute riff that has now been proved to be ripped off from the Aussie folk song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree."

The 5% awarded is a fraction of the 60% royalty claim Larrikin Music, owners of the copyright to "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" were seeking.

Lead man at work Scottish-born Colin Hay, who co-wrote the song with fellow bandmate Ron Strykert, has maintained that any reference to the Aussie folk song was "inadvertent, naive, unconscious".

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