When Larrikan sued Men At Work for copyright infringement for ‘Down Under’ claiming it used parts of ‘Kookaburra Sitting In An Old Gum Tree’ Colin Hay says everyone lost.
“I have no problem with Kookaburras as such. It is deeply disappointing for me,” he tells Undercover.fm. “What I really regret in looking back on it is that the feeling that I always have is that it was avoidable. The huge cost of litigation for three years was probably avoidable if they hadn’t come in wanted 60% of ‘Down Under’, which is a ludicrous amount to want in the first place, and in my view completely opportunistic”.
According to Hay, had Larrikan asked for a reasonable amount to start with both sides would have saved a lot of money. “The crux of it is that they claim infringement took place and we didn’t think it did. I still don’t but the judge sided with them and ruled infringement had taken place and awarded them 5% of the Men At Work version of the song. When you think of it, even though I don’t think an infringement did take place, if you look at 5% it is a much more reasonable number than 60%. Its not like if somebody asks for 60% you can say well that’s in the ballpark. You have to defend it and although they won it was a hollow victory at best. It was just that they lost less than us because there are still huge costs and what they got is something that cost them a lot for relatively little gain.”
And its not over yet. The lawyers are still dealing with the outcome. “Larrikan are talking to EMI now and trying to work out the next step. Hopefully it will be over soon,” he says.
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