Justice Department backs Led Zeppelin in 'Stairway to Heaven' copyright case
Added 08-18-19 01:20:03pm EST - “The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the? Katy Perry "Dark Horse" decision, and taken? Led Zeppelin's side in the? long-running copyright dispute that pits the…” - Foxnews.com
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The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by Spirit.
The DOJ filed an amicus brief late Thursday supporting Zeppelin against a claim by the trustees of the late Spirit singer/guitarist Randy Wolfe — a.k.a. Randy California — that it lifted a musical passage for its song from “Taurus.”
Michael Skidmore, the trustee of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, sued the band in 2014, arguing that “Stairway to Heaven” ripped off elements of Wolfe’s composition. A jury ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in 2016, finding that the two songs were not substantially similar.
Skidmore appealed, and on Friday a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial. The panel found that U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner gave instructions that failed to make clear that an arrangement of otherwise unprotectable elements in a song can be sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.
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