Men At Work lose song plagiarism appeal

Men At Work Down Under reached number one in Australia, the US and the UK

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Australian band Men at Work have lost an appeal against a ruling which found their 1983 hit single Down Under was partly copied from a folk song.

Australia's Federal Court upheld the decision which stated part of the song's melody came from the tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.

Record label EMI argued the writers did not plagiarise because the inclusion of two bars from the tune was a tribute.

The music company has also been ordered to pay costs.

The latest decision clears the way for Larrikin Music, the copyright owners for Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, to claim millions of dollars in unpaid royalties from Down Under writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert.

The company had originally claimed 60% of royalties for Down Under.

In July the judge ordered that the band must pay 5% of money earned from the song since 2002 as well as future royalties to the music company.

Men At Work bandmates Hay and Strykert have previously said any reference to Marion Sinclair's folk song was "inadvertent, naive, unconscious".

Men at Work is the only Australian band to score a number one album and single at the same time in the US charts with Down Under and Business as Usual.

Down Under tells the story of an Australian backpacker touring the world and made references to beer, chunder and Vegemite sandwiches.

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