Music Industry

Sanity prevails: US Supreme Court refuses to hear “Stairway to Heaven” plagiarism case

It’s the plagiarism case that will not go away (it’s been with us since 2014). The estate of Randy California, the guy who headed up the American band Spirit, has been pushing the notion that Led Zeppelin ripped off their instrumental “Taurus” for the opening bits of “Stairway to Heaven.”

After every loss, the Spirit legal team appealed to higher and higher courts. Finally, though, the situation reached the US Supreme Court. The court has officially refused to hear the case. Translation: “Get outta here.” They didn’t say why.

This means that a ruling set down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that no plagiarism existed will stand. This is extremely important because the US courts have been clogged by stupid accusations of plagiarism ever since the dumb “Blurred Lines” decision back in 2015.

Even the US Dept. of Justice thought the case was stupid. They filed an amicus brief last summer saying that there was no basis for prosecution.

Consider this a victory for songwriters and a defeat for lawyers and rightsholders trying to make a big deal out of nothing.

Read more analysis here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38061 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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