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'Men At Work' -- Plundered 'Down Under'

2/4/2010 6:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

This is going to blow your mind -- but the people who wrote "Down Under" ripped off the melody in their 80s hit from the classic campfire song, "Kookaburra" ... this according to a new court ruling.

'Men At Work

An Australian judge just ruled that "Men at Work" owe a Fosters-size can of royalties to the music company who owns the rights to the 70-year-old song.

If you've ever been to summer camp -- it's all starting to come together now.

So far the band isn't talking.

"You better run ... you better take cover."

19 COMMENTS

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1.

bschurb    

Merit or no merit, the lawsuit is about 30 years too late... perhaps they should have filed it in 1985 when the money train was pulled into the station?

1619 days ago
2.

lilu    

It took them 25 years to figure this out? WTF? Little late on the uptake. Or did they want to wait until the song had made as much money as possible?

1619 days ago
3.

I BE DARNELL    

JOE JACKSON .....IS NOT INVOLVED WITH THIS IS HE?

1619 days ago
4.

PaddyBoyy    

Like the others, the fact that this song is 30 yrs old and the "owners" are just getting around to this assertion now???

There should be a limit of 2 yrs to notice this kind of thing and report it. Wait any longer and you would be SOL.

These pigs are simply slithering up to the money trough like slobs.

1619 days ago
5.

wallace    

Under US law there IS a 3 year statute of limitations.. not sure what it is down under in Australia, but there must be some limit!

1619 days ago
6.

MindyD    

Yeah-I'm not seeing it. I mean, it's like saying Band on the Run is a rip off of Jingle Bells.

1619 days ago
7.

Tymcat    

Logic down under?
I heard it in the German news and thought, no way to lure money out of this, at least not under European jurisdiction: It is only a 4 second snip and its interpretation is slightly different (better). There is a difference between quoting and stealing a melody. The opening of "Down under" is not what made it a hit - that was the whole composition. There are many examples of sampling and reusing an old melody.
Go on boys, go to court (a different one), mere logic rebuts this ruling. The owner of the rights himself might not be able to put a few smashy notes together - the temptation is comprehensible. But - who bribed the court???
After 30 years... ridiculous.

1619 days ago
8.

Christopher Shookla    



Nuts, Hope Colin Hay and Ron Strykert appeal and win, Kookaburra mY bALLS.

1619 days ago
9.

Robyn    

This is RIDICULOUS! I don't even think the songs sound alike. I say it's a little too late for this BS.

1619 days ago
10.

Kevin    

The article is misleading. It is only the flute part that is the song in question.

The main melody of the song is not in question.

The song was originally released without the flute and was later added in to throw in some Aussie roots.

Next thing you will see is "Mary had a little lamb." scenes in movies will create lawsuits.

1619 days ago
11.

James    

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be

That?

Maybe it's the Alsheimers but I just don't get the similarity.

1619 days ago
12.

Billy    

I just listened to the old campfire song "Kookaburra" via you tube.
Imho I think the band is safe as "Down Under" is a different tune.

1619 days ago
13.

andrea HOWARD    

For crap's sake, if you're going to report the story TMZ, make sure you get it right. Down Under is an original song however the flute solo is what they are referring to as being a part from Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Got it?

1619 days ago
14.

andrea HOWARD    

oh yeah, and Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree is not a bloody camp fire song, it's a childrens' classic. I feel like vomiting now, that's what irresponsible journalism does to me.

1619 days ago
15.

mel    

Just so you know, Aussies dont really drink Fosters its just our crap beer we flog overseas

1619 days ago
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