An Australian copyright case involving Men At Work's anthem "Down Under" is still heading for the Federal Court, despite a confidential agreement struck between two of the parties, Billboard.biz has learned.

Sydney-based Larrikin Music recently launched proceedings claiming the flute refrain in the 1982 hit was lifted from the classic nursery rhyme, "Kookaburra."

As previously reported, Larrikin wanted compensation from the “Down Under” songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, together with Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony DADC Australia, EMI Songs Australia and EMI Music Publishing, and met with all parties during a mediation session Nov. 7.

A legal representative for Larrikin tells Billboard.biz that Sony have reached a confidential settlement. The EMI companies, however, have not. "The case is not closed," he said.

Sources say a Nov. 27 "directions hearing" has been set. If the case is eventually heard in the Federal Court, the earliest this would likely happen would be September 2009.

EMI Music Publishing strenuously denies Larrikin's claims.

"EMI Music Publishing Australia has represented the copyright in the iconic Men At Work song 'Down Under' for in excess of 25 years," contends an EMI Music Publishing Australia statement. "Larrikin Music Publishing has raised allegations of infringement of copyright in Larrikin's song 'Kookaburra' by EMI and the songwriters of 'Down Under'. EMI Music Publishing strenuously denies those allegations and is vigorously pursuing Larrikin for making groundless threats of copyright infringement."


Marion Sinclair, a music teacher at Melbourne's Toorak College, wrote "Kookaburra" in the early 1930s when the song reportedly came to her in a moment of clarity after an inspired session in church. Larrikin, a division of the U.K.'s Music Sales Group, represents "Kookaburra" through an agreement, which dates back to 1990. "Kookaburra" is synonymous with the Girl Guides movement, which the late Sinclair had patronized.

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