'Down Under' goes down

Court rules that '80s band Men at Work plagiarized Girl Guides song

An Aussie court has delivered what would be a bombshell ruling, if the year were still 1981. The once internationally popular band Men at Work plagiarized part of its hit “Down Under,” according to a judgment released today. More precisely, it stole the flute solo—from “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” The song, written in 1935 for a Girl Guides competition by Marion Sinclair, a school teacher who died in 1988, is now owned by an Australian company Larrikin Music. They filed a copyright suit last year, and are seeking as much as 60 per cent of the royalties “Down Under” has earned since its release at the beginning of the ’80s. Given that singer Colin Hay’s most recent gig was playing in Ringo Starr’s “All-Starr Band”, they’d better buy a time machine.

Toronto Star

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