COPYRIGHT
Music Publishing

A judge in Australia has ordered Men At Work and their publishers EMI to hand over 5% of the royalties from their eighties hit ‘Down Under’ to the owners of the song ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’, Larrikin Music. The Australian courts had already ruled that Men At Work’s most famous track used a segment of the famous Aussie children’s folk song without permission, and that the owners of that song were therefore due a cut of the pop hit’s royalties although it should be noted that EMI are appealing the original ruling – partly by claiming the use of a little bit of the ‘Kookaburra’ melody in ‘Down Under’ was at most a “tribute” to the folk song, and partly by again disputing Larrikin’s ownership of the song – today’s decision regarding royalty share really went in Men At Work’s favour. Larrikin had been pushing for up to 60% of the royalties generated by ‘Down Under’. Under the ruling, EMI and ‘Down Under’ writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert will have to give Larrikin 5% of all money generated by the song since 2002, and 5% of all future royalties. Royalties received prior to 2002 stay with EMI and the songwriters because Larrikin’s claim is constrained by the statute of limitations. It remains to be seen if EMI continue to appeal the original ‘Down Under’ ruling given the relatively modest royalty share awarded to Larrikin. Whether they do may depend on whether Larrikin appeal today’s royalty share judgment
CMU 6th July 2010  www.thecmuwebsite,com