Men At Work have been screwed over because a short flute solo in their 80s hit "Down Under" is taken from "Kookaburra Sits In the Old Gumtree". I don't give a shit about Men At Work or their stupid bogan pub rock song, but the scenario is fucking ridiculous.
Anyway, this kind of thing happens all the time. Even Nirvana were guilty of taking a good riff when they heard one. While they certainly did a good job of it there's no denying that "Come As You Are" is very similar to "Eighties" by Killing Joke.
Nirvana - Come As You Are
Killing Joke - Eighties
Wary of the similarity between "Come as You Are" and English post-punk band Killing Joke's 1984 single "Eighties", Nirvana and its management were unsure about releasing the song as the second single from Nevermind....Kurt was nervous about 'Come as You Are' because it was too similar to a Killing Joke song...but we all thought it was still the better song to go with. And, he was right, Killing Joke later did complain about it."
Although members of Killing Joke claimed the main guitar riff of "Come As You Are" plagiarized the riff of "Eighties", the band did not file a copyright infringement lawsuit, which Rolling Stone magazine attributes to "personal and financial reasons". However, conflicting reports state that Killing Joke did file a lawsuit but that it was thrown out of court, or that it was dropped following Cobain's death. Geordie Walker, Killing Joke's guitar player, said that the band was "very pissed off about that, but it's obvious to everyone. We had two separate musicologists' reports saying it was."
Green Day are contrived enough as it is when they're writing original songs, but this didn't stop them from copying The Kink's "Picture Book" for the song "Warning" from the 2000 album of the same name.
Green Day - Warning
The Kinks - Picture Book
Tim Armstrong of Rancid has made a career out of ripping off The Clash, never more obviously than the "11th Hour" from And Out Come The Wolves, which is all but a cover of "Capitol Radio" by The Clash.
Rancid - 11th Hour
The Clash - Capitol Radio
More coming soon...