EMI appeals Down Under copyright ruling
Record company EMI has launched an appeal against the recent Australian court ruling that Men at Work's 1980s hit Down Under contains a melody lifted from a popular children's song.
EMI filed papers with Australian Federal Court Thursday, arguing that Men at Work's Colin Hay and Ron Strykert did not breach copyright with their song.
According to EMI, similarities between a flute melody in Down Under and the campfire song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree might be detected by "the highly sensitized or educated musical ear," but were unlikely to be noticed by the average listener.
Australian teacher Marion Sinclair, who died in 1988, wrote Kookaburra for a Girl Guides competition more than 70 years ago. Along with its popularity in Australia, it has also become a popular children's tune in countries from New Zealand to Canada.
The publishing company Larrikin Music now holds the copyright for the song and filed the lawsuit against the Grammy Award-winning pop group in 2009.
On Feb. 4, an Australian Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson ruled "the flute riff in Down Under … infringes on the copyright of Kookaburra because it replicates in material form a substantial part of Ms. Sinclair's 1935 work."
Larrikin is now seeking millions in royalties from EMI and the two songwriters.
With files from The Associated Press