by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 7th 2011 3:04pm
More copyright insanity coming from down under. As you may recall, a couple years ago, the music publisher Larrikin sued for copyright infringement over the 80s pop hit Down Under by the band "Men at Work," claiming that it infringed on a classic Australia folk song, called Kookaburra. It seemed odd that it would take decades for anyone to make this claim, and even the boss at Larrikin only noticed it when an Australian quiz show mentioned it in a question. Then, suddenly, Larrikin wanted to get paid. The district court sided with Larrikin as did the appeals court. Now, as a bunch of you have been sending in, Australia's high court is refusing to hear the appeal, meaning the appeals court ruling stands... and apparently a big chunk of royalties from the pop song will be going to Larrikin -- who had nothing to do with the song and didn't even notice the weak connection until someone pointed it out.
At best, the Men at Work song is an homage to the folksong. All this ruling has done is demonstrate how copyright can be used to put a toll on culture.
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