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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Men At Work Hit for Using Riff

From the BBC:

Earlier this week, a federal court in Sydney ruled that Men at Work had plagiarised Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree in its 1983 hit, Down Under.

"It's all about money, make no mistake," said Down Under author Hay.

But Norm Lurie, owner of Larrikin Music who filed the case, said it highlighted "the importance of checking before using other people's copyrights."

This is beside the point, but I can't hear the similarity in the two patterns of notes. (One cannot actually own a pattern of notes. But one can get the government to stop others from using a pattern one claims to own.) You can listen to both at the BBC site.


Comments

If I'm not mistaken, "Kookaburra" was written under terms of the Australian Copyright Act of 1912, which provided that "no proceedings shall be instituted in a Court of summary jurisdiction in respect of any offence against this Act after the expiration of six months from the date of offence."

This was considered reasonable when there was perhaps one telephone for every four dozen people in Australia. It was one telephone for every twelve in 1934.

Nowadays, however, one needs over a quarter century after the offense was a number one hit on two different continents.


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