Loading...

Led Zeppelin Did Not Steal ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Riff, Court Rules

March 10, 2020by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
Led Zeppelin Did Not Steal ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Riff, Court Rules
ENTER-LEDZEPPELIN-RIFF-1-GET

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court decided Monday that the British rock band Led Zeppelin did not steal portions of its iconic hit “Stairway to Heaven” from a guitarist from another band.

The ruling, by an 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, stemmed from a lawsuit that accused Led Zeppelin of stealing portions of “Stairway to Heaven” from a song called “Taurus,” which was written by Randy Wolfe of the Los Angeles-based band Spirit.

A jury ruled for Zeppelin, deciding the two songs were not substantially similar. A three-judge 9th Circuit panel later threw out the verdict on the grounds the trial judge gave faulty jury instructions.

Led Zeppelin asked a larger panel to reconsider, and Monday’s decision reinstated the verdict and abrogated a legal rule that the 9th Circuit adopted more than a decade ago.

Under the rule, the stronger the evidence that an artist had access to another’s work, the less compelling the similarities between the two works needed to be in order to prove a copyright violation.

“As a practical matter, the concept of ‘access’ is increasingly diluted in our digitally interconnected world,” wrote Judge M. Margaret McKeown, appointed by President Clinton.

“Given the ubiquity of ways to access media online, from YouTube to subscription services like Netflix and Spotify, access may be established by a trivial showing that the work is available on demand,” she added.

The court noted that the majority of federal appeals courts that have considered the rule have declined to adopt it and that the trial judge did not err by failing to instruct the Led Zeppelin jury on it.

The estate of Wolfe had argued that Led Zeppelin members heard either performances or recordings of “Taurus” before creating “Stairway to Heaven” and therefore had the ability to copy it.

———

©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

Law

May 25, 2022
by Dan McCue
4th Circuit Rules Civil War Era Amnesty Rule Does Not Apply to Later Insurrectionists

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has ruled that the protections inscribed in an amnesty law passed in the... Read More

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has ruled that the protections inscribed in an amnesty law passed in the aftermath of the Civil War do not apply to other insurrectionists. Tuesday’s ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the limits of the... Read More

May 24, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Appeals Court Hands Gov. DeSantis a Loss

ATLANTA, Ga. —  A Florida law intended to punish social media companies from allegedly barring conservative politicians from their platforms... Read More

ATLANTA, Ga. —  A Florida law intended to punish social media companies from allegedly barring conservative politicians from their platforms is unconstitutional, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. “Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what... Read More

May 23, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Leak of Employee Survey to Media Prompts DC Courts Investigation

WASHINGTON — The federal judiciary in Washington, D.C., is investigating how embarrassing results of an employee survey were leaked to... Read More

WASHINGTON — The federal judiciary in Washington, D.C., is investigating how embarrassing results of an employee survey were leaked to the media recently. The confidential survey revealed that some employees of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals were bullied by judges, which... Read More

May 23, 2022
by Reece Nations
Federal Judge Postpones Planned End to Title 42 Expulsions

LAFAYETTE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Friday blocked the Biden administration from letting Title 42 expire as... Read More

LAFAYETTE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Friday blocked the Biden administration from letting Title 42 expire as it was originally planned to do this week. District Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for Western Louisiana issued his ruling one week after... Read More

May 20, 2022
by Dan McCue
Bipartisan Lawyers' Coalition Raps Cruz on 2020 Election Efforts

AUSTIN, Texas – A bipartisan coalition of attorneys asked the Texas State Bar this week to sanction Sen. Ted Cruz,... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas – A bipartisan coalition of attorneys asked the Texas State Bar this week to sanction Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for regularly repeating “demonstrably false and misleading statements to the public” in an effort to keep former President Trump in office. According to its website,... Read More

May 14, 2022
by Reece Nations
Louisiana Judge Hears Oral Arguments in Challenge to Title 42 Termination

LAFAYETTE, La. — Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for Western Louisiana heard arguments on Friday in a... Read More

LAFAYETTE, La. — Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for Western Louisiana heard arguments on Friday in a federal lawsuit that seeks to delay the planned end of the Title 42 migrant expulsion public health authority. Lawyers for a coalition of states made their... Read More

News From The Well