Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Proving that it’s never too late to try and capitalize on another’s success, Australian band Men At Work has been ordered to pay five percent of the royalties from its 1983 hit “Down Under” to Larrikin Music, after the latter convinced a federal judge that the song borrows its distinctive flute riff from the traditional folk song “Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gumtree.” Larrikin acquired the rights to “Kookaburra” back in 1990 for a mere $6100, but only decided earlier this year to file a suit—reportedly after a television quiz show suggested the similarity. At the time, principal songwriter Colin Hay argued that it was an “unconscious reference,” but the judge upheld Larrikin’s claim. Still, he recently decided that the company’s demands of 60 percent of the “Down Under” royalties were “excessive, overreaching, and unrealistic,” considering the riff appears only in two bars of the song. Instead, he’s awarded the company just five percent of past and future earnings, and only from those the song has acquired since 2002—a number that could still reach into the area of “several hundred thousand dollars.” Guess we can be expecting a reunion tour at some point?

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