Judge Rules “Men At Work” Song Contains Mimicked Riff
February 7, 2010
Australia (ChattahBox) – A judge has ruled that the well-known flute tune from the Men at Work song “Down Under” mimics an old nursery rhyme.
The flute riff comes from the the “Kookaburra”, a Girl Guides Association of Victoria song written by Marion Sinclair.
It was popular amount the Girl Guides, and has been sang in primary schools and in the organization itself ever since.
Larrikin Publishing purchased full rights to the song after the death of Sinclair in 1988. They did not become aware of the similarities until 2007.
“I would emphasise that the findings I have made do not amount to a finding that the flute riff is a substantial part of Down Under or that it is the ‘hook’ of that song,” Judge Peter Jacobsen said of the ruling.
Greg Ham originally added in the flute riff in 1979, a year after “Down Under” was written and performed. He admits he knew the song “Kookaburra” from school.
Larrikin is now seeking 40% to 60% of all royalties from Australia plays in the last six years, or the maximum length they can seek compensation.