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Copyrights Entertainment and Sports Law Litigation

“Potentially Monumental” Ninth Circuit En Banc Decision in Infringement Case Over Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

For the past five years, the copyright bar and the music industry have carefully followed the many twists and turns of the potentially monumental infringement case that asserted that the opening of the iconic Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” was copied from the introduction of a little-known 1967 instrumental “Taurus,” written by the late Randy California. In March 2020, a unanimous en banc panel of the entire Ninth Circuit affirmed portions of a prior three-judge appellate ruling that “Stairway” did not infringe the Spirit song — and in the process resolved some thorny issues involving substantial similarity and copyright scope that will be important for future litigants

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For the past five years, the copyright bar and the music industry have carefully followed the many twists and turns of the potentially monumental infringement case that asserted that the opening of the iconic Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” was copied from the introduction of a little-known 1967 instrumental “Taurus,” written by the late Randy California, the guitarist for the 1960s rock band Spirit.

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