Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hell's Bells

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  • Lucy Stewart,

    The Men At Work composition itself is wholly original, but Greg Ham's flute break in the song as it has been recorded and performed has been deemed to be infringing, if not identical. Australians who thought they might have some cultural ownership in the old song have another think coming.

    I don't think anyone would dispute that they're the same, I just don't understand how one riff comprising a very small percentage of the whole song - and not anything like the entirety of the song it appears to have come from - can entitle Larrikin to such a large share of the profits.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    I saw this men at work stuff on the news last night and i was a little mystfiyed.

    One iconic australian song sues another... I dont see any winners in Australia...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    They sounded good from Point Chevalier – and, I am told, Mt Albert, Kingsland and a number of other suburbs.

    Oh yes. Thunderstruck in minute detail, whether desired or not.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    I've heard the Down Under flute line and the Kookaburra tune side by side (and overlaid), and I'm buggered if I hear enough of a resemblance to warrant 60% of royalties being awarded.

    Certainly nothing in the order of, say, Springsteen ripping off the Kiss melody from I Was Made For Loving You (try 1:45):

    Off topic a bit, sorry, but anyone know if C4 still have the rights to The Daily Show? Or is it moving to Sky's Comedy Central channel?

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I don't think anyone would dispute that they're the same

    They needed Auckland University's IP advisors on their side. I'm sure it was all inadvertent.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    There was this, in another SMH story:

    The court heard that two of the four bars of Kookaburra were reproduced in Down Under's flute riff, which was added by band member Greg Ham after the song was composed. In an affidavit, Ham admitted adding the flute line to try to inject some Australian flavour into the song.

    Justice Jacobson said perhaps the clearest illustration of the objective similarity between the songs was Hay's ''frank admission of a causal connection between the two melodies and the fact that he sang the relevant bars of Kookaburra when performing Down Under at gigs from 2002.

    I had wondered whether it was accidental/unconscious plagiarism or they had assumed an old folk song was public domain. The latter, I would guess.

    Story here: http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/news/2010/02/04/1265151932344.html

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I stayed away from Laneway, because I thought it might be an open-air Black Hole of Calcutta, with bonus queues. It seems I was right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'm buggered if I hear enough of a resemblance to warrant 60% of royalties being awarded

    Damages have not yet been determined. Larrakin are making noises about 60% in the hope they'll scare the hell out of EMI and the other defendants and encourage them to settle for a reasonably meaty amount (e.g. 20%). Standard litigation tactic.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    A sampling of both songs.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Will I be hauled through the streets and battered to death with tire jacks if I say that AC/DC are truly awful?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2219 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    In the dross of pop music I can't remember which one it is, but didn't K Perry or Emina sample Savages Swing recently?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    There are some near-identical fragments. They sound different because MAW set those fragments over a (harmonically) very different accompaniment. I would say that's a rather nice musical effect, to play a familiar phrase over an unfamiliar harmony.

    This is an excellent demonstration of the crippling effects of aggressive copyright enforcement on composition.

    In the old days, composers regularly quoted and referenced their contemporaries and near predecessors (as in that memorable aphorism, "minor composers borrow, great composers steal"). This is basically impossible now unless your work is too minor to attract attention or you are rich enough to negotiate rights.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Will I be hauled through the streets and battered to death with tire jacks if I say that AC/DC are truly awful?

    Don't worry - I'll attempt a rescue. From a distance though.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Will I be hauled through the streets and battered to death with tire jacks if I say that AC/DC are truly awful?

    I'd leave Hamilton first.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'd leave Hamilton first.

    Heh. Don't know about being battered to death, fans are probably quite mellow than most, but back in the day I liked them a lot.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Between 40 and 60 per cent?

    Greedy pricks. If it was up to me, I'd advise Men At Work to have a very good look at old Irish and Scottish folk tunes; there's a reasonable chance, IMO, that you'd find that riff.

    'It's Choade My Dear'

    That's quite a title.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Yesterday saw the release of another major Australian copyright decision. In a landmark case the Australian arm of the Motion Picture Association sued the ISP iiNet - and lost.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    This David Merrott fellow sounds like my kind of author. Am off to do some purchasin'.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Will I be hauled through the streets and battered to death with tire jacks if I say that AC/DC are truly awful?

    I doubt it, it's hardly a radical perspective.

    I'm not a metal fan but I think ACDC were a bit of big dumb fun back in the Bon Scott days. They should have called it quits like Led Zep when he died though, instead of bringing in that ear-gratingly awful Geordie to replace him.

    No metal band can beat Motorhead for the non-metal fan though of course.

    \m/

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'd leave Hamilton first.

    Sound advice

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Alien Lizard (anag),

    re: Men at Work song
    can't say I can hear the two pieces as being exactly the same either...

    what next VW wanting dosh for the Kombi reference...
    and Kraft Corporation wanting their cut for the Vegemite namecheck?

    The Arrrgh Complex • Since Jan 2010 • 158 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    sued the ISP iiNet - and lost.

    And established some precedent for ISPs not being liable for what is done over their networks, as I understand.

    Much interest burbling, and possibly worthy of its own thread to avoid swamping others - though the title of this one might be appropriate.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    \m/

    Is that a goat-throw?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    I could hear AC/DC's drums, even with the full bulk of Mount Albert standing between my back fence and Western Springs. The must have some serious acoustic insulation on their practice room...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    One of Bon Scott's pre -AC/DC bands.

    So Spinal Tap "The Originals / The New Originals / The Thamesmen" era it hurts.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

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