Friday, 5 February 2010

Men at Work

This is my first (ever) post, so hopefully it will be of interest to some. For those of you with a taste for Aussie pop from the 80s, the following might ring a few bells. If you're hoping for a bit of Kylie, you'll be disappointed; but if you like the slightly earthier sounds of Men at Work, you may be surprised to learn that they have been found by the Federal Court of Australia to have pinched part of the tune for 'Down Under' from the well-known camp fire round 'Kookaburra sits in the old gumtree'. Although consisting of only 4 bars, the Judge felt that this was such an integral part of the tune of 'Down UNder' that it could require 60% of all earnings from the song to be paid to the Claimant. Although nowhere near as obvious as the Verve's use of The Andrew Oldham Orcehstra's version of The Rolling Stones' 'The Last Time' on 'Bittersweet Symphony' it could ultimately prove just as costly. The more musical amongst you will be able to hum along to both songs, the music of which is contained in the judgment:


Guy Osborn said...

Great to see you online and an interesting post Mark. See also the UCLA Copyright Infringement Project which is a great resource and provides lots of examples, see Of course, everything is derivative and all property is theft!

Chris Ellins said...

In a recent example of the long line of similarities between different songs and applying the age old slogan “where there’s a hit there’s a writ”, readers may want to consider if the Black Eyed Peas 2009 hit Boom Boom Pow
is in breach of copyright of the earlier Phoenix Phenom’s Boom Dynamite.

For a comparison that suggests they may be too similar:

I must confess I don't think so after one listen - it seems more about style and using the word ”boom” . If anything the latter recalls to mind the earlier BEP classic, My Humps at times so perhaps they'll counterclaim for breach of copyright in that if sued see:

After writing this I see that somebody had already noticed the My Humps similarity before me (so I’m not alone) and also a resemblance between Boom Dynamite and the BEP song “Fergalicious” and has done a mash-up for comparison: Black Eyed Peas vs Phoenix Phenom, Who Really Copies The Songs:
and this clip links to an interview with the mixer of Boom Boom Pow for a detailed technical explanation of what was done : Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Dylan ‘3D’ Dresdow, Black Eyed Peas, SOS July 2009: