Did men at work really rip off Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree?
You Better Take Cover is a 30 Minute documentary that explores and celebrates the creation of Men At Work's hit single Down Under. Using interviews from band members, artists, and academics, the film explores how it was created, how it became a culturally important song, how it became Australian's de facto national anthem.
25 Years after its release, in 2007, the music quiz show Spicks And Specks asks the question: What Australian nursery rhyme is the flute line from Down Under based on? The contestants think about it, hear it again, and eventually notice a resemblance with Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree.
It turned out that Kookaburra, the 1932 ditty was still in copyright, by a company called Larrikin Music Publishing, (owned by the company Music Sales). They acquired the copyright of Kookaburra after the original composer Marion Sinclair's death, and pursued Men At Work in a copyright infringement case that shocked the nation.
You Better Take Cover is an investigation into whether Men At Work knowingly referenced Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, while exploring the relationship between copyright and influence, music and law.
"Harry Hayes brings renewed interest and new perspectives on the tragic story."
Nicolas Suzor & Rachel Choi
"a documentary that is both thought provoking and poignant"
The AU Review
"I have been involved in student films for well over 15 years. I have to say that [this] student film is probably the most accomplished, well-researched, thoughtful and creative student documentary film that I have ever seen"
"I love this film. It sheds great light on mysterious developments regarding copyright, morality and business bastardry with one of Australia’s most iconic songs, and the fallout it had on all the players involved. Amazing!"
Musician and producer