If you’ve had the now saved 6 Music on recently, you’ll have noticed that 80’s Band, Men at Work have been prosecuted by the Federal Court for copying ‘significant parts’ of children’s classic Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree in their famous track Land Down Under. See for yourself below:

What implication does this have for advertising? Also as an Art Director, I’m interested to know legally where inspiration ends and copying legally begins?

It’s a line we’ve all walked on at some point in the creative industry. And if we take this decision to its logical conclusion we’d never have had the brilliant John Lewis ad, surely inspired by this one, we’d never have the Honda Cog commercial, inspired by numerous references, namely this film from 1987, we’d never have, well, you get my drift.

Creation, as the name suggests, not always invention. It’s a matter of relevance, and copying IS cheating, don’t get me wrong, however, using an old idea to leverage a new one to a greater level forms part of the creative backbone, especially for TV adverts.

Anyway, was it right that Men At Work right were sued? Where do you think the line between copying and inspiration begins?

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