Led Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit

From the New York Times’s Monday (June 13, 2016) Briefing:

Back Story

It seems everyone has heard “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” the happy chimney sweep’s anthem from the 1964 film “Mary Poppins.”
That familiarity could play a role in a copyright case involving Led Zeppelin. Two of the band’s founders, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, are expected to appear in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday to defend themselves against a lawsuit claiming that parts of their 1971 classic “Stairway to Heaven” were copied.
They are accused of stealing the opening sequence from another group’s 1968 instrumental piece, “Taurus.” (Judge for yourself while listening to both.)
But in a court filing, Led Zeppelin’s lawyers say that the British band had become familiar with the musical structure from the melody of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and that, in any case, the “descending chromatic scale of pitches” is too common to enjoy legal protection.
Their decision not to settle puts a potential $40 million judgment in the hands of jurors, who will have to determine how similar the opening sequences are, and whether the song element was stolen.
A federal jury found last year that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had copied elements of a Marvin Gaye song in the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.”
The decision in this case could further blur the lines of what’s fair under our copyright law.


UPDATE 6/23/2016: Led Zep wins:

A Los Angeles jury found that Led Zeppelin didn’t steal “Stairway to Heaven” — but the courtroom never got to hear the so-called “original.”

Source: HEAR IT: ‘Stairway to Heaven’ vs. ‘Taurus’ – NY Daily News

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