So where do we draw the line? Or is it ludicrous to suggest that this metaphorical ‘line’ is under a protection policy which states: “Use by confused uni students may result in prosecution.” Whatever the case, as a society it is important to be vigilant in regards to copyright laws, and indeed the consequences of breaching these laws.
Men at Work’s classic worldwide hit ‘Down Under’ was subject to flaunted copyright laws after the High Court of Australia ruled the iconic flute riff within the song bared too much resemblance to the campfire folk song ‘Kookaburra’, written more than 70 years ago. Despite reassuring the public that the allegations made were “ridiculous”, Men at Work were ordered to pay 5% of all royalties made from the song after 2002.
Perhaps the most disappointing outcome of this case was the defamation of such an iconic Australian Band. Whilst Down Under remained a hit for 28 years, and aroused no suspicion, Larrakin music gained rights to Kookaburra 20 years after the death 0f the original composer Marion Sinclair in 1988. After this the company wasted no time in optimising an “unfair” and “harsh” case, as labelled by frontman Colin Hay, who insisted there was no intention of plagiarising.
So what’s the message here?
You wouldn’t steal a car (unless you didn’t mean to)
you wouldn’t steal a handbag (unless you didn’t realise)
you wouldn’t steal a television (unless you were unaware you were)
you wouldn’t steal a movie. (unless it unintentionally appeared on your screen)