Men at Work will not be smiling with a vegemite sandwich after learning that they have lost their final attempt to prove their innocence in court over the matter of their hit song Down Under. A federal court judge had ruled that a riff from their hit song had in fact been stolen from the classic children's song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gumtree.
The classic campfire song was written in 1934 by a music teacher called Marion Sinclair, who entered the song in a Girl Guides competition. Since 1934 the song has gained popular acclaim worldwide, particularly around the campfires of Canada, America and the United Kingdom. Sinclair died in 1988 and since her death the copyright for the song has belonged to Larrikin Music.
The latest appeal by Men at Work was their last and now last year's ruling will be enforced by the courts. EMI Australia, who are the recording company for Men at Work, and the song's writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert have been instructed to pay 5% of royalties earned from the song since 2002 and from any future earnings. So from now on, the women from the land down under may still glow, but the men may not plunder.