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Lawsuit Accusing Led Zeppelin of "Stairway" Theft, Proceeds.

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posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:27 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A lawsuit claiming Led Zeppelin plagiarized "Stairway to Heaven" moved forward after a move for dismissal failed.
The suit claims the band stole the song from Randy Craig Wolfe -- aka Randy California -- founder of the band Spirit. Now his heirs are suing for credit and royalties to the iconic rock song.

"What happened to Randy California and Spirit is wrong. Led Zeppelin needs to do the right thing and give credit where credit is due. Randy California deserves writing credit for "Stairway to Heaven" and to take his place as an author of Rock's greatest song," said the plaintiffs in their complaint.

The representation for Led Zeppelin challenged the suit, saying Pennsylvania courts had no jurisdiction in the matter.

"The individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here," they wrote in a memorandum to dismiss.

U.S. District Court Judge Juan Sanchez denied the motion to dismiss without prejudice, opening the door for Led Zeppelin's attorneys to ask for dismissal again.

Art icle

A little background on the two bands and the situation in question:



The group's first album, Spirit, was released in 1968. "Mechanical World" was released as a single (it lists the playing time merely as "very long"). The album was a hit, reaching No. 31 on The Billboard 200 and staying on the charts for over eight months. The album displayed jazz influences, as well as using elaborate string arrangements (not found on their subsequent recordings) and is the most overtly psychedelic of their albums.
They capitalized on the success of their first album with another single, "I Got A Line On You". Released in November 1968, a month before their second album, The Family That Plays Together, it became their biggest hit single, reaching No. 25 on the charts (#28 in Canada). The album matched its success, reaching No. 22. They also went on tour that year with support band Led Zeppelin, who were heavily influenced by Spirit—Led Zeppelin played an extended medley during their early 1969 shows that featured "Fresh Garbage" among other songs, Jimmy Page's use of a therein has been attributed to his seeing Randy California use one that he had mounted to his amplifier,[1] and Led Zeppelin is thought to have adapted the iconic opening riff for "Stairway to Heaven" from the Spirit's tune "Taurus".[2] In 2014, Mark Andes, and a trust acting on behalf of Randy California, filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin in an attempt to obtain a writing credit for "Stairway To Heaven".[3]
Wikipedia Link

Song allegedly plagiarized(skip to about 43 seconds in):


Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven:


Sounds like he has a pretty good case to me.




posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:33 PM
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it's slightly similar but not enough. I think he's pulling at strings. All the music out there, someone will have a few similar notes here and there.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:35 PM
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Seems like they did plagiarize a 17 note progression from the tune, "Taurus" but does that constitute a lawsuit for the whole song by Led Zeppelin, "Stairway to Heaven"?



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: blackcatmagic

Yikes, sounds pretty close to me...oh Led Zeppelin how could you...don't ever recall this song in a movie despite it's huge popularity or in commercials...but I'm sure the men and women of ATS can correct me...



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:41 PM
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a reply to: blackcatmagic

Don't get me wrong, Zepp were a great band, but:




posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:44 PM
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If this is true, why did they wait over 40 years to sue?



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:44 PM
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The one by Spirit was very badly played with string scrapes between notes. Hate that. It depicts a lazy guitar player that can't keep his fingers off the strings when changing notes.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 08:59 PM
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The guitar stringing and progression in both are very different if you listen closely. There are many symphonic pieces that have used progressions like this, and they all remind me of "GreenSleeves" as a root piece.


+6 more 
posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:12 PM
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Most people don't realize it, but Led Zepplin was more of a 'cover band' than they were for producing their own music.

They did a ton of other people's music, particularly from the blues genre.

This isn't the first time they've been sued over plagiarism and copyright infringement....

They've been sued by:
- Anne Bredon for "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"
- Jake Holmes for "Dazed and Confused"
- Howlin Wolf for both the "Lemon Song" and "How Many More Times"
- Willie Dixon for "Whole Lotta Love"

... and a whole bunch of others.

Most lawsuits were settled quietly and the band was forced to credit these songs to the originators.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:21 PM
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a reply to: CranialSponge

True enough and great example. Perhaps it cannot be helped, because when you are in the creative process, you have your ears open to so many riffs, and since you are usually around musicians that are doing the same thing, subtle exchanges happen. I doubt that most were directly plagiarized.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:35 PM
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I hope Black Sabbath doesn't sue me for playing power chords and jamming the minor scale.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:47 PM
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a reply to: Zcustosmorum

There are a lot of bands who stole, sampled, or covered a previous bands music. I hate to break it to the music nuts, but we have been listening to a lot of recycled stuff for decades.

Oh, youtube. What would we do with out you.




edit on 10/20/2014 by blackcatmagic because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:52 PM
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Yeah it's really similar. I have that Spirit album on CD and when I first heard it, it popped right out.

Media is filled with recycled ideas. Look at tv nowadays. The same scripts, plots, gags, imagery, same people they want you looking at. It's become so old and I wonder just how long they can keep fooling people.

I've read people defending LZ by citing how blues songs are often covered. Cream, The Gun Club, etc all covered classic blues songs. Or how rap can be like pure theft, stealing beats and all that stuff.

I like a lot of music but really, what else can we do with music? Or TV, or movies? It's all the same. Insects feeding off the dead, trying to regurgitate a new product each time.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: blackcatmagic

In my opinion, it will not matter if Spirit obtains the rights to the song, receives a notable mention, etc. because Zeppelin will always be known for it. It's just like a Marilyn Manson cover -- a lot of people think that he wrote "Sweet Dreams", and for those who know that it is just a cover, most still think of him when thinking about the song in general.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:55 PM
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a reply to: BucketOfPMA

This one doesn't. I like Manson's early work (Spooky Kids, Portrait era) but I think of the first band when I hear of that. Or his cover of Tainted Love. He's catered to disenfranchised, misfit teenagers for how long now? People still buy into this stuff? Ridiculous.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 09:58 PM
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Don't know whether they did this or not, but it seems the article is describing what is nowadays called sampling...




In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.


Sampling (wiki)



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 10:07 PM
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a reply to: Musing

So is it paying homage? Taking "cool" sounds and remixing them? Pure theft? Laziness?

Maybe a bit of both. I mean Public Enemy did wonders with the Flash Gordon theme but I have to admit, total thievery.



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 10:08 PM
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a reply to: BucketOfPMA

They aren't going for just credit. They are going you royalties too. That's a lot of money over the years. But you're right. Win or lose, Zeppelin will always be remembered for the tune.

People who think Manson wrote sweet dreams must not know how to google. It's a good cover, though. However, I must be the exception. I always think Eurythmics first, but I grew up in the 80's-90's.
edit on 10/20/2014 by blackcatmagic because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 10:09 PM
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originally posted by: Zcustosmorum
a reply to: blackcatmagic

Don't get me wrong, Zepp were a great band, but:



Uhh, Case 1, and Case 3 are both covers. Do you not know what covers are...? A band takes a song, and re-does the very same song. That's why the songs HAVE THE VERY SAME NAME LISTED IN THE YOUTUBE VIDEO. I stopped watching after that.

Led Zeppelin is one of, if not the most legendary bands of all time. Each song of theirs is unique, and different from the next. It's very hard to do that, and stay unique. Their talent was in the stratosphere. Yeah, I'm a huge fan. But this "evidence" isn't really that much. Yes, just as the article states, I can see where they were influenced by Spirit. Influence is not plagiarism.

It is not the same song...



posted on Oct, 20 2014 @ 10:11 PM
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Perhaps the concept of plagiarism wasn't as clear back then...

For example, much as I love the Doors, I found lyrics ripped off from earlier writers, most notably the line "not to touch the earth, not to see the sun" which comes from James Frazier's earlier book The Golden Bough. Another, "spy in the house of love" comes from Anais Nin's book (House of Incest perhaps as I can't remember which at the moment ) Jim Morrison is known to have been interested in authors from these writer's literary circles.

Off topic a bit, but the same general attitude toward intellectual property from the same era and in rock music also.

Both bands excelled and used the plagiarized work masterfully though. (not condoning though)




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