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Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

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Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby supaunknown » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:48 pm

Have you heard about this thunder?
An Australian court just ruled that Men at Work appropriated the melody from the children's song "Kookabura Sits in the Old Gum Tree" for the flute section of their big hit "Down Under". Damages in the millions.
Here's a heartfelt statement from Colin Hay in response to the ruling:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/men-at-works-colin-hays-statement-on-court-battle-over-down-under-and-kookaburra-in-full/story-e6frf7jo-1225826917098

Image
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby depinmad » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:16 pm

i agree with colin hay. i also like that song of his "overkill".
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:48 pm

That award is a little bigger than what Allen Klein got over "My Sweet Lord."

Do-lang-do-lang-do-lang.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:24 pm

I kinda always thought that this little quotation was intentional.

The real question is: how the hell is "Kookaburra" not public domain? That song's older than red dirt.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:45 am

It had never struck me before, but now that I hear it, it's unmistakable.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:49 am

"Kookaburra" is in a major key, and "Down Under" is in a minor key. I suspect the different harmonization is one reason I hadn't noticed the "Kookaburra" melody line in "Down Under." It doesn't announce itself in a big way -- it's like a little, almost private joke. Stuff like this is what makes music music. If courts considered harmonization in these matters, this plaintiff wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Or maybe I'm just tone-deaf.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:01 am

TheBookPolice wrote:I kinda always thought that this little quotation was intentional.

The real question is: how the hell is "Kookaburra" not public domain? That song's older than red dirt.

Same thing with "Happy Birthday (to you)." That's why it's usually not song by restaurant staff when customers are out celebrating a b day.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:12 am

Kenneth Burns wrote:"Kookaburra" is in a major key, and "Down Under" is in a minor key. I suspect the different harmonization is one reason I hadn't noticed the "Kookaburra" melody line in "Down Under." It doesn't announce itself in a big way -- it's like a little, almost private joke. Stuff like this is what makes music music. If courts considered harmonization in these matters, this plaintiff wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Or maybe I'm just tone-deaf.

All the similar quotations in bop-era jazz...god, the lawyers would have had a field day with that stuff in this climate of oversensitivity to copyright.

And for the record, I think Colin Hay hit it out of the park with his response, both emotionally and logically persuasive.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Adam Powell » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:19 am

Clearly the judge doesn't know anything about music.

That's pretty much the norm in these matters, unfortunately.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:42 am

Colin Hay performs at the Majestic in May.

http://www.isthmus.com/theguide/details ... ent=233125
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:29 pm

I'm baffled by the moronic lead of this Seattle Post-Intelligencer post about Kookaburragate:

It's hard to hear Men at Work's "Down Under" without shuddering at just how truly bad music was in the '80s


1) Yes, all music was truly bad in the '80s, and do you know what else was truly bad in the '80s? Film, theater, visual art, dance and the entirety of culture, and everything else. Well done. Glad that's settled. Very helpful.

2) Is "Down Under" actually bad? I'll admit the tune has a nostalgic hold on me, and nostalgia has a way of making bad things good. But I do think this is a fairly nifty bit of songcraft. Memorable hook, funny lyrics, inventive arrangement. I learned things from that song, like the fact of Vegemite. Colin Hay is a distinctive singer.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby depinmad » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:38 pm

as far as i know, he still wrote this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqOU7r4hdmw
Last edited by depinmad on Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby ArturoBandini » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:42 pm

This settlement should help pay for itself in boosted iTunes (and similar) downloads over the next few days.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:41 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:This settlement should help pay for itself in boosted iTunes (and similar) downloads over the next few days.

I'll bet you're right. That, and the rights media outlets will be paying to play the snippet in question.

In related news, Vegemite sandwich sales are at an all time high worldwide.
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Re: Copyright case: "Down Under" = "Kookaburra"

Postby massimo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:18 am

depinmad wrote:as far as i know, he still wrote this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqOU7r4hdmw


Yeah, but I still prefer the original:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcu7OCIqlqE
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