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flute crime

Men at Work Will Get to Keep Most of Their Money

Back in February, a judge ruled that the flute riff in Men at Work's 1981 smash hit "Down Under" ripped off the melody of "Kookaburra," an Australian kids' song from the thirties, allowing Larrikin Music, the company that owns the rights to "Kookaburra," to sue. Which they did, for 40 to 60 percent of the royalties earned by the song in the last six years and going forward. Well, Justice Peter Jacobson of Australian federal court apparently doesn't think the flute adds all that much to "Down Under," as he's granted Larrikin a measly 5 percent share. But will the decision effectively deter more bands from ripping off Australian kids' music from the thirties? [ArtsBeat/NYT]