Wesley Lewis in AP: New Trial Ordered in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Lawsuit


The Associated Press quoted Haynes and Boone, LLP Associate Wesley Lewis about a U.S. appeals court ruling in a case decision involving alleged copyright infringement in Led Zeppelin’s hit song “Stairway to Heaven.”

Here is an excerpt:

A federal court jury in Los Angeles two years ago found Led Zeppelin did not steal the famous riff from the song “Taurus” by the band Spirit.

But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously that the lower court judge provided erroneous jury instructions that misled jurors about copyright law central to the suit. It sent the case back to the court for another trial. …

The jury found “Stairway to Heaven” and “Taurus” were not substantially similar, according to the 9th Circuit ruling.

But it also said U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner failed to advise jurors that while individual elements of a song such as its notes or scale may not qualify for copyright protection, a combination of those elements may if it is sufficiently original, 9th Circuit Judge Richard Paez said.

Wesley Lewis, an attorney who handles copyright cases at the firm, Haynes and Boone, said that was an important copyright principle that could prompt jurors to think differently about the case.

To read the full article, click here.

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