As we previously told you, a group of more than 100 artists recently filed an an amicus brief in support of Led Zeppelin in the band Spirit’s copyright trail over the classic tune “Stairway to Heaven.” A rep for the late Spirit songwriter Randy Californiais trying to prove that Zeppelin stole their iconic “Stairway To Heaven” opening riff from the band’s song “Taurus.”
Well, now the U.S. Department of Justice is getting in on the action, filing a friend of the court brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
The initial ruling in the case sided with Led Zeppelin, but after the verdict, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of hearing the appeal again since the actual music was never played in court, since the initial judge had ruled only the sheet music was protected by copyright law.
Well, now the Department of Justice in their brief agreed with the initial trial judge’s assessment, noting that audio recordings weren’t protected by copyright protection until after 1973, five years after “Taurus” was written. They also noted that the court should only rule in favor of “Taurus” if the two songs are “virtually identical” and they don’t think that can be proven.
Source:Consequence of Sound