Men at Work must pay Down Under royalties

Australian band Men at Work has been ordered to turn over five per cent of the royalties from its hit 1980s song Down Under.

In Sydney on Tuesday, Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson ordered the band’s recording company, EMI Songs Australia, and the song’s writers, Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, to pay five per cent of Down Under’s royalties since 2002 and forward them to publishing company Larrikin Music.

In February, Jacobson had ruled that a flute melody in Down Under is copied from an internationally known children’s campfire song called Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, for which Larrikin owns the copyright.

Larrikin, which filed the copyright lawsuit in 2009, had sought 60 per cent of Down Under’s royalties.

However, in the ruling issued Tuesday, Jacobson wrote he considered “the figures put forward by Larrikin to be excessive, overreaching and unrealistic.”

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