Friday, 14 October 2011

Men at Work case won't go to appeal

That interesting Australian copyright case involving the song Down Under by Men at Work, which was held to infringe copyright in the well-known, or "iconic" as it was called in the litigation, Kookaburra, has come to a halt with the High Court rejecting EMI's application to appeal. Mallesons have the story on the IP Whiteboard blog, which is always full of good stuff.

I'm not only old enough to recall the song, I am old enough to consider it new, in the sense that it is post-New Wave. And I couldn't remember anything in it that sounded like Kookaburra. Seems I was right, because the court needed expert assistance to find the bits that had been copied: there was no "ready aural perception" of the copied bars but they were there. But that does seem difficult to square with the notion of a musical work, which is intended to be enjoyed by being listened to (a literary work, by contrast, being enjoyed by being read). If you can't hear the similarity, is music copyright really engaged?

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