The Business Litigation Blog

Led Zeppelin Calls for Copyright Infringement Trial to be Dismissed

Led Zeppelin requested that judgment be made in their favor in the copyrighting infringement trial against them because the plaintiff hasn’t presented evidence of infringement. This is due to their belief that when the Plaintiff rested their case the burden of proof to present similarities between Spirit’s “Taurus” and “Stairway to Heaven” had not been presented effectively enough to continue with the case.

Judge Gary Klausner has requested that similarities between the songs can only be observed through performance of the sheet music and not recordings. Recordings of Taurus and Stairway both sound similar to the average listener. The sheet music presents a much different representation than what is heard. Representatives for Led Zeppelin argued that a descending chromatic scale is a musical building block and not able to be copyrighted. Professor and musicologist Lawrence Ferrera states that musicians have used descending chromatic scales for “more than 300 years… [and are] something nobody could possibly own. ”

Jimmy Page testified to having never listened to Spirit and specifically “Taurus” before writing “Stairway to Heaven.” Led Zeppelin and Spirit had shared the same billing three times before the release of Stairway in 1971. Regardless of the trial’s outcome, Zeppelin fans will be hurt by the shocking admission by Jimmy Page that “Stairway to Heaven” was not written at Bron-Yr-Aur, which is Jimmy Page’s family retreat.  This destination is one that many Zeppelin fanatics have visited due to the belief that Stairway had been written at the home with no electricity or running water.

For questions regarding intellectual property infringement and disputes, please contact Tom Patterson at tpatterson@pattersonlawfirm.com, Alexander Passo at apasso@pattersonlawfirm.com,  or your attorney at The Patterson Law Firm. 

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