Men at Work must pay for copied riff

Colin Hay former Men at Work singer
Colin Hay former Men at Work singer

The distinctive flute riff in the band Men at Work's biggest hit, "Down Under," will cost the Australian musicians 5% of its royalties earned since 2002 after a judge ordered the band to pay up in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

A Sydney judge had previously ruled that the riff was copied from the children's campfire song, "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." That song was written more than 70 years ago by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair and its rights are now owned by publishing company Larrikin Music, which sued for copyright infringement last year. Sinclair died in 1988.