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Culture / Music

U.S. court of appeals for "partially secured" claim in the case of plagiarism in the song LED ZEPPELIN "Stairway To Heaven"

Music news : DARKSIDE.ru 01.12.2018 at 12:39

Russian web magazine dedicated to rock, metal, gothic and industrial music

In the dispute, stating that the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin had copied the song "Stairway to Heaven" from a song of another group, the U.S. court of Appeals annulled the decision in favor of Led Zeppelin, citing inadequate instructions to the jury on the legal issues of copyright protected musical elements and originality, reports the National Law Review.

years after the death of Randy Wolfe, a member of the American rock band Spirit of the composer's songs and Spirit of 1967 "Taurus", steward Wolfe Michael Skidmore filed a claim for copyright infringement against Led Zeppelin, as well as band members, record companies and publishing companies, claiming that the opening notes of the hit "Stairway To Heaven" was copied and almost identical to what was in "Taurus". The case went to trial in which the jury returned its decision, finding that these two songs were not similar in the "external criterion", which objectively compares the protected part of the work.

Skidmore filed an appeal, challenging (1) different instructions for the jury, (2) the district court's ruling that substantial similarity must be proven with the use of a registered deposited instance, (3) the district court's ruling that sound recordings cannot be played, to prove that the defendants had access to the song “Taurus” and (4) some other evidence.

the Ninth hearing began with a discussion of the burden of the copyright owner on proof of copyright violation and explaining that, since the right of ownership of the copyright in “Taurus” has not been challenged, the analysis included the second element of infringement, that is, could the defendants copied protected elements of songs through copying and misappropriation. In cases where there is no direct evidence of copying, the plaintiff may try to establish by circumstantial evidence that the defendants had access to plaintiff and that these two works have significant similarities concerning aspects of the work of the plaintiff, which are original and therefore copyrighted.

At the ninth hearing was first discussed with the jury, and the court came to the conclusion that the district court erred in not informing the jury that the selection and arrangement of non-securable right musical elements are essentially protected. Noting that the external test for substantial similarity is difficult to implement in the context of music, the court concluded that the refusal of the district court from instructing the jury that the material may be copyrighted by the original combinations of unprotected copyrighted musical elements was biased. #Led_Zeppelin #LedZeppelin #RockRock #Rock_Rock #HardRock #Hard_Rock