Death Announcement: Music Originality

Very famous song by Alice Cooper. A favourite when it comes to covers. You may have heard Groove Coverage’s trance cover, or Tarja Turunen’s symphonic metal version or maybe even the bluegrass cover by Hayseed Dixie or the cover by South African singer Nicholis Louw…you may have even seen the cover that was used in a Volkswagon Passat add in Israel!

In this situation it isn’t copyright that is the issue the hand. It is the lack of originality. Of all the cover’s, I think the only one that shows thought having been put into the script is the Israeli commercial. It can be understood that cover’s are just cover’s, but surely artists could change the sound and structure to make it a more personal account.

In 2009, Australian band Men At Work were sued by Larrikin Music for copyright infringement, alleging that part of the flute riff from “down Under” was copied from iconic Australian children’s rhyme “Kookaburra”. “Kookaburra” was written in 1935 by Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition. Sinclair died in 1988, and the rights to “Kookaburra” were transferred to publisher Larrikin Music on March 21, 1990.

On February 4th, 2010, Justice Jacobson ruled that Larrikin’s copyright had been infringed as “Down Under” reproduced “a substantial part of Kookaburra“.

On July 6th 2010, Justice Jacobson passed the decision that Larrikin would receive 5% of the royalties. In October 2011, the band lost its final court bid when the high court of Australia refused to hear an appeal.

This case of infringement came as a shock to not only Australians, but many people worldwide.

With the rise of remix culture are there going to be more incidents like that of Men at Works? Even 30 years later?


HIV/AIDS in the Public Sphere

What is the public sphere? According to the Oxford dictionary of Critical Theory, the public sphere is a term for any realm of social life in which public opinion can be formed. This can be done via magazines, newspapers, radio news, tv news and the internet. In the way of HIV/AIDS though, how many newspapers, magazines, radio news channels etc have placed an info sesh  for people to voice their opinion and educate the otherwise uneducated public? Not many. Recently, I asked a bunch of my friends to give a brief overview of what they knew about HIV/AIDS. The answers they gave me very much so varied, but there was a very visible gap in between who was educated and who wasn’t. I will keep the responses anonymous, but here is the result:

“Its a sexually transmitted disease that can be passed on to unborn babies even years after being diagnosed, it can also be passed on through dirty needles or if your blood and someone who has HIV/AIDS blood are mixed. It isn’t curable but there a ways to help with symptoms…”

“There are ways of ensuring that mothers don’t pass it onto the babies… It’s preventable but lack of education and meds in poorer countries as well as environmental conditions affect its transmission….”

“can be transmitted by breast feeding as well, hiv is a retrovirus, kills helper cell(c4, cd4 something like that) or attaches to them then the t cell(cd8?) come in and destroy them. This results in the immune deficiency or aids, which leads to a reduction in ones ability [to] fight cancer, disease, viruses, germs. this means something like the cold can kill you…”

“It should be avoided at all costs”

“Yeah what they said lol”

Just in the small group of people I asked, a big differ can be seen not only in the way they’ve been educated but also in the manner in which the topic was approached. The small “lol” at the end of the last response shows not only a possible lack of confidence about the issue but it could also act as an indicator of ignorance.  Recently radio station Triple J hosted ‘Sex Week’, where every weekday evening between 5-5:30pm people would call in and talk about their ‘sex’ stories. One of the days was STI day, and the story heard was that of 20 year old’s, Steph; where the question posed was ‘would you date someone who is HIV positive?’ I think the outcomes of this particular story and other people’s STI stories acted as an excellent way to get much needed information out there as Triple J is a nation wide radio station and even has international access aimed at a younger audience. These stories make people realize, ‘wow, these people are actually normal!’

On a note of finalisation, I am going to conclude this post with a video from Australian website TuneInNotOut about Australian youth sufferers of HIV/AIDS. I’ll let you form an opinion on how you think the public sphere has created the way we look at HIV/AIDS.



TuneInNotOut 2010, accessed 28/04/12,

TuneInNotOut 2012, HIV, accessed 28/04/12,

Triple J, 2010, Hack: Positively Dating, accessed 28/04/12,


Four eyes. Freckle Face. Brace Face. Any of these sound familiar? Only ten years ago, these names were so hurful to the “genre” of people known as the nerd. Fast forward ten years and “cool kids” are buying thick lensed glasses and insisting on getting braces. Why? For nothing more than to make a fashion statement. So how is it the once ill-viewed nerd has evolved into the new coolest person on the block? What has happened to make gaming, science fiction and superheroes cool?

The answer is rather obvious. Nerds create good business. They earn a lot of money, are highly employable and are a good asset to computer based businesses (which is this modern day and age is increasing at a rapid speed). Not only that, but with more and more celebrities insisting on being the loner/nerd/geek at school or portraying nerds in video clips, films and tv shows makes the nerd image more socially acceptable. Gone are the days when being socially awkward was … well awkward. Gone are the days of being geeky because you bought a comic book. Popular culture has really taken a turn.

I think this turn is great! It has left me feeling like the coolest person alive! I was never socially awkward or excluded at school, but I did get laughed at for reading a book about an awkward love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf and a girl (aka Twilight) before it hit the big time. Those people who laughed are now obsessed and disgust me. The same story applies with music, with the newest example being Foster the People’s song Pumped Up Kicks. For all you mainstreamers reading this you’re probably thinking ‘yeah, that new song is rocking!’, when in reality, that song is actually two years old and landed number 32 in last years Triple J’s Hottest 100. LAWYERED!

Having observed how little things such as books to big dollar films and music growing from underground to mainstream only makes the “coolification” (a term coined by Rae Campbell) of nerdiness seem natural. Especially when putting into consideration the growth of technology. Having the newest iPod/touchscreen phone/tablet makes one socially accepted. Whereas being without would make you weird. Being tech-savvy is the new black.

According to The Oxford Dictionary the word “nerd” means: – a foolish or contempible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious

– a single-minded expert in a particular technical field.

If this were the 1980’s I would imagine being a nerd very hard. With the rise of technology these “boringly studious, socially inadequate” beings now have the means to find people with similar interests in a wider field. The internet. Making the once socially awkward, no longer awkward.

It can therefore be concluded that being dorky is now socially acceptable. Not that I ever did, but now I will have no shame in telling the world that I know the Sailor Moon theme song off by heart, I own all four series of the cartoon Avengers series on DVD, and I own the Napoleon Dynamite Script. Oh, and I religiously buy the National Geographics each month. And now if you call me a geek, I will happily thank you. In ending this post I am going to leave you with a cool photo of me decked out in my cool jumper and a special call.


Grossman, Lev (2005) “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”, Time Magazine,,9171,1109317,00.html

Oxford Dictionaries, accessed 17/04/12,


Freddie Mercury

The video which “spawned the video age”. The song that still to this day every living soul knows. Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of world renowned band Queen. On the 24th of November 1991, Mercury died of bronchio-pneumonia which was brought on by AIDS. His death was one that shocked the world and put into heavy spin AIDS awareness campaigns. Mercury was only when he died, and had only publicly announced the day before his passing that he was HIV positive. In a newspaper article the following day, Dr Patrick Dixon (an AIDS education charity director) told the BBC that Mercury admitting he was suffering from the disease was his greatest gift to his fans. He said:

“His hope was no doubt that through his openness many people throughout the world would see that AIDS is a real illness – that it’s killing people every day.”

Searching Freddie Mercury’s death on will show how affected the world was by his sudden death. And what was happening to create a world awareness about this disease. On Easter Monday of April 1992, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness was held at the Wembley Stadium in London. 72 000 people attended and the concert was broadcast around the globe to 70 countries and raised approximately £20 million for AIDS charities. Mercury has since been named a rock legend due to his large contribution to music and his premature death. Even now he is still remembered. In August of 2002 Mercury was voted in a topp 100 British heroes poll held by the BBC.

Every year on the first of December since 1995 is World AIDS day. Where people can be seen wearing the red AIDS ribbon. Each year the UNAIDS choose a different theme for World AIDS Day in oder to promote awareness.