Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just Because I Come From The Land Of Plenty

Larrikin Records Management are today rubbing their hands with glee over today's court ruling that said the flute riff from Men At Work's iconic song Land Down Under is from the folk tune Kookaburra to which they hold the rights.

While the ruling itself wasn't unexpected - anyone who was aware of the story when it broke in 2008, was expecting it.

The song's author penned it for a Girls Guide jamboree in 1934, she then bequeathed the song to the South Australian State Library a year before her death in 1988 and in 2000 Larrikin picked up the rights back dated to 1990 (still not sure how that works).

Eight years later the publisher takes legal action after the similarity was observed on a TV quiz show.

And Larrikin lawyer Adam Simpson is salvating at amount of money he reckons his client (and no doubt Simpson is in for a share too):

Larrikin Music's lawyer Adam Simpson says EMI and Down Under may be forced to hand over as much as 60 per cent of their earnings from the international hit record.

"It's a big win for the underdog," Mr Simpson told reporters outside the court.

When asked how much Larrikin would be looking for, he replied: "Obviously, the more the better but it depends - anything from what we've claimed, which is between 40 and 60, and what they've suggested which is considerably less."
Frankly Larrikin should entitled to exactly nothing.

What loss exactly are they suing for?

Did generations of school children sing Kookaburra less because of Land Down Under? Obviously not.

If the judge awards more than token damages (keep in mind it took Larrikin eight years to discover their 'loss' and would never have known if not for a TV show), then Australian songwriters (who are not millionaires by any stretch) will be the big losers.

-- Nora

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