Can You Hear The Kookaburra?

When you hear the song “Down Under” by Men at Work, when they get to the flute part, do you cry ripoff? Do you think it’s a total copying of the Kookaburra song created in 1934 and sung by a bunch of Girl Guides? I sure don’t. It didn’t even enter my head until I heard about this lawsuit. Larrikin Music, who bought the rights to the old nursery rhyme in 1990, has just now thought maybe it could sue its way into getting millions of dollars of royalties from Men at Work by accusing them of stealing the song.

Uh, first, what took you so long? The song existed long before you got the rights, and it’s been 19 years since you got them. Why did you just think of suing them now?

And second, how about no? even when they’re played together, it doesn’t sound like they’ve stolen anything. Melodies have all kinds of bits of other melodies in them. Need proof? How about this or this?

I hope the kookaburra isn’t the only thing laughing. I hope Larrakin Music gets laughed out of court.

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