Author Topic: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties  (Read 14480 times)

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Offline Rosie125

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Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« on: Tue 06 Jul 2010 20:46:17 »
Still 5% too much IMHO but...
Gotta agree with the judge here:
"In his decision, Justice Jacobson said it was "difficult'' to detect the similarities between Kookaburra and Down Under unless pointed out."

Quote
A MUSIC company's cash grab to share the royalties from Men at Work's iconic song "Down Under'' has been slammed by a judge as being "excessive, overreaching and unrealistic.''

In a long-running Federal Court court battle, Larrikin Music Publishing, owner of the rights to the folk song "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,'' asked for between 25 and 50 per cent of royalties earned from "Down Under.''

This morning, Justice Peter Jacobson awarded the company just five per cent of future earnings and past earnings limited to a period of six years.

Justice Jacobson last year ruled that the flute riff in Down Under was a rip-off of the melody of the children's folk song.

In evidence, Men at Work lead singer Colin Hay denied he or his fellow band members knew they were breaching copyright when they included the flute riff in their 1981 hit.
The breach only came to light through the ABC's music quiz show Spicks and Specks in 2007, which drew attention to the similarity between the two songs.

Larrikin's director, Norm Lurie, saw the program and launched legal action to recover lost royalties.

Lawyers for Mr Lurie argued the flute riff was a significant part of  "Down Under" and was "evocative of the Australian national identity."

The company also presented comparisons of various other copyright agreements between artists, including the likes of Paris Hilton, who pays a third of all royalties earned for her song "Stars are Blind'' which features a part of the reggae hit "Kingston Town.''

In his decision, Justice Jacobson said it was "difficult'' to detect the similarities between Kookaburra and Down Under unless pointed out.

Looking at the portion of Kookaburra reproduced in the whole of Down Under, he said the "most generous approach'' open to him was to award an amount of five per cent in past damages dating back to May 2002.

He said this figure should also be applied to future earnings from the song.

"I consider the figures put forward by Larrikin to be excessive, overreaching and unrealistic,'' he said

"My Poppy says I'm magic to him."
 

Offline motcher76

Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #1 on: Tue 06 Jul 2010 22:43:49 »
Yes, it should never have gotten to this but at least (hopefully) it's the end of this shabby saga. Larrikin should feel lucky to get 5%, but retrospectivity to 2002 seems overly generous IMO. 

The judge describes Larrikin's claim for between 25% and 50% of royalties as "excessive, overreaching and unrealistic". As far as I'm concerned that just about sums up Larrikin's conduct and actions from the very beginning. Utter tools :P

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Offline Austwiz

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #2 on: Wed 07 Jul 2010 01:15:28 »
yup, 0.05% would possibly have been closer.

Considering it took a comment on Spicks&Specks for them to even realise there might be a connection they shouldn't have gotten ANYTHING in my opinion...
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Offline mixin

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #3 on: Wed 07 Jul 2010 14:13:36 »

It took them nearly 30 years to work out that it sounds similar?  Can't be too bloody obvious then can it!

I reckon there should be a 7-10 year statute of limitation in cases like this.

7-10 years is more than enough time to work out if someone plagiarised a piece of music, and take legal action. 
After that they should be told to get stuffed.
 

Offline Lego

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #4 on: Thu 08 Jul 2010 02:16:02 »
I think it's only from 2002 onwards to now, not at the peak time of release when it was #1 in Oz and the US.
 

Offline Beergut

Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #5 on: Thu 08 Jul 2010 03:19:29 »
Larrikin music have won a victory of sorts: but how much has it cost them? Hopefully far more than they'll ever get back from royalties.

And as the band disbanded in 1986, and didn't reform until 1996 with different members, just who is supposed to pay the 5%? Even just post 2002, the period covered by the judges ruling, the line-up has varied greatly, and continues to do so.

I heard that although the ruling was a great one for them, the band is considering appealing the decision; purely on principal. I hope they do and cost Larrikin heaps more in the process.



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Offline motcher76

Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #6 on: Thu 08 Jul 2010 19:04:57 »
I heard that although the ruling was a great one for them, the band is considering appealing the decision; purely on principal. I hope they do and cost Larrikin heaps more in the process.
Yes, this is just the order pursuant to the original Federal Court proceedings and ruling. There will also be a further ruling on legal costs at a later date.

EMI have stated that they will lodge an appeal against the original judgement, so Larrikin could end up with nothing if EMI's appeal is then successful.

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Offline Rosie125

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #7 on: Thu 08 Jul 2010 22:45:56 »
Quote
so Larrikin could end up with nothing if EMI's appeal is then successful.
Sure hope so Motcher.
Nothing except a big legal bill would take care of their greed eh?
Serve as a lesson for any other parasites too!


"My Poppy says I'm magic to him."
 

Offline motcher76

Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #8 on: Fri 09 Jul 2010 19:26:14 »
Based on the recent 5% royalties ruling, industry analysts are suggesting a settlement payout would be a six-figure sum. Even if that was at the lowest end of a six-figure sum - say $100,000 - that would mean the total royalty earnings would be a minimum of around $2,000,000 since 2002 just for one song. Seems a staggering amount, and image what it could be if the payout is at the upper end of the six-figure scale!!

Who said there wasn't money to be made in the music business (at least for the record companies). :P

It wasn't made clear, but perhaps suggesting a six-figure payout could also include future earnings?

EMI must at least be breathing a sigh of relief it's not back-dated to 1981.

Cheers
"... Before you judge a man, first walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who gives a damn. He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!!..."   ;D
 

Offline Vtroll

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #9 on: Sat 10 Jul 2010 03:11:16 »
Royalties include record sales including being released on compilations, movie sound track, advertising, radio play, video clip on TV .... 5% is very generous ...more than generous.
 

Offline Fiery

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Re: Men at Work only to pay 5 per cent royalties
« Reply #10 on: Sat 31 Jul 2010 09:16:46 »
I personally think is stinks a tad when someone else can buy rights to music they didn`t actually write themselves. Fair enough if your the author but there`s something wrong with a system that allows this to happen. I think 5% is extremely generous for a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree, be he merry or not.