‘Stairway to Heaven’ copyright case revived
Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 07 September 2016« Return to Reading Room
Copyright protection in music is a hot topic at the moment.
Numerous cases involving well known faces have come and gone leaving no clarity of what actually is considered as music copyright infringement.
A recent decision given by a Californian jury, found that Led Zeppelin had not copied the opening chords from ‘Stairway to Heaven’ from the song ‘Taurus’ performed by the band Spirit.
This however is not the end of the matter.
In another appeal to keep an eye on, Michael Skidmore who is acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Craig Wolfe, one of the songs creators is pursuing a copyright claim appeal.
In the initial trial, only sheet music was used as evidence. The Jury found that the songs were not extrinsically similar therefore not a sufficient copy. However, Skidmore wants the songs to be played during the appeal to show that the valid copyright in ‘Taurus’ that was heard before the release of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ had been infringed.
This appeal could go on for some time, predicts music litigator Christine Lepera. Therefore it is one to keep your eye on.
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