Australia's Men At Work have been ordered to pay just 5% of royalties from their iconic '80s hit "Down Under" following an earlier ruling they had plagiarized another song.

With the copyright damages ruling, handed down today (July 6), the pop-rock band has effectively dodged a bullet. Men at Work's songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert were facing a much stiffer penalty.

While the compensation figure should reach into six figures, attorneys for Larrikin had argued that damages in the region of 40% and 60% of royalties accrued by "Down Under" was reasonable.

Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobsen today described Larrikin's compensation call as "excessive, over-reaching and unrealistic," and he ordered Hay, Strykert and EMI to pay Larrikin 5% of future profits, as well as royalties dating back to 2002.

Back in February, Jacobsen found that Men At Work's popular tune had reproduced a "substantial part" of the "Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree," a Girl Guide campfire anthem.

Sydney-based Larrikin Music Publishing had launched proceedings against Hay and Strykert, EMI Songs Australia and EMI Music Publishing Australia, claiming the flute refrain in "Down Under" was lifted from "Kookaburra."

Larrikin, a division of the U.K.'s Music Sales, had rights to represent "Kookaburra," which was written in the 1930s by music teacher Marion Sinclair, a life-long supporter of the Girl Guide movement.

Men At Work became members of an elite circle of artists when in 1982 they secured simultaneous No. 1 singles and albums in the U.S. and U.K. with "Down Under" and "Business As Usual," respectively.

The track is a favorite with Australians everywhere, and is regarded in these parts as an "unofficial" national anthem, particularly during sporting occasions.

In his keynote conversation last month at the APRA Song Summit in Sydney, Hay spoke of his "special relationship" with the song, which he told the audience he played every night.

Hay and Strykert were not in court for the judgment. A ruling on legal costs was adjourned to a later date.

"Given two appeals are pending in this matter Larrikin has no comment at this stage to make about the recent judgment," Adam Simpson, managing director of Larrikin's legal firm Simpsonns Solicitors tells Billboard.biz. "The appeal issues are due to be heard in early August and the judgment is being considered further in that light," he adds.

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