Men at Work have just lost a case brought by Larrikin Music, a song publisher who bought the copyright of Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree from the Australian Girl Guides in 1990 and in July 2009 claimed that the flute riff in Down Under plagiarised it. Colin Hay and Ron Strykert are now facing a payout of up to sixty percent of their writers’ earnings from the song, depending on the judge's final ruling.
If a court has deemed that Men at Work ripped off the Kookaburra song, then by that precedent surely Noel Gallagher should be executed for crimes against The Beatles?
I'm no Men At Work fan but look upon them fondly as they make me think of my friend Peita. We once had an assignment in journalism class to write an obituary for a person who wasn't actually dead yet and she chose Colin Hay. She wasn't a fan either and I wish I could remember why she chose him… deadline panic? Ever since when I heard Down Under on the radio I'd think isn't it a shame about Colin Hay for a few seconds, before remembering he wasn't actually dead. But if he WAS he would be spinning in his grave right now over this Kookaburra shit.
"Do you think the lawyers will go after all your other music legends now?" asked Dr G, renowned Australian cultural commentator, "Will Midnight Oil get sued for plagarising Wombat Walking Round The Old Billabong? Or Galah Flying Round The Old Wagga Wagga Train Track?"