Men At Work Stole Down Under Riff

Band faces hefty payments for borrowing kid song
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Feb 4, 2010 3:24 AM CST

(Newser) – The Australian rock band Men at Work is facing major royalty penalties now that a court has ruled they stole "substantial parts" of popular kids' song Kookaburra in their '80s hit Down Under. Music publishing company Larrikan, which owns the rights to the song, could now collect damages from Sony, EMI and the band amounting to as much as 60% of Down Under's royalties.

The song topped sales charts in Australia, the US and Britain and has become the unofficial anthem of Aussies everywhere, notes the Sidney Morning Herald. Kookaburra was written in 1934 by a Melbourne teacher and sung in schools as far away as America. A flute riff in the song is nearly identical to part of the Kookaburra song, a judge ruled.

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