Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of Kookaburras and Gum Drops and Men at Work

The Australian group Men at Work is facing a plagiarism accusation over a riff in its hit "Down Under." The popular song, says Larrikin Music, uses part of the tune "Kookaburra" (remember "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree/Merry, merry king of the bush is he) which is copyrighted (Oh, yes). It's not a folk song. Men at Work claimed to have bought the rights in 1990 but an Australian judge has ruled that the author, Marion Sinclair, who wrote the work for the Girl Guides (as Girl Scouts as called Down Under) never actually completed the transfer of the rights. Read more here.

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