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jim6225

Lawsuit over Stairway to Heaven

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Just now, IpMan said:

Without a doubt, and beside, what is Jimmy's problem with just saying, "...hell yes I love Spirit, great music and lovely people." What would saying so do to bolster the argument of plagiarism? By that line of reasoning any musician any other musician is influenced by is by extension a victim of plagiarism? That is stupid. So, does that mean Dave Grohl stole all of his music from the Sub-Pop lineup? If so maybe one of Darby Crash's cousins can sue Dave and get the big payoff.

Page needs to pull a Donald Trump here, get on the stand and tell the truth about how he loved Spirit and took influences from many sources, including 18th century sources for the lament bass structure for the opening chords of Stairway. Then when sleazy opposing counsel says, "well, you said here in this deposition you did not remember their music" Page just comes back and says, "In the manner you framed the question I did not remember particular songs per se since it has been decades, however I never said I did not love or appreciate their music."

BAM! Even better than the Chewbacca Defense.

Well I'd like to assume their lawyers are smarter and more knowledgeable than either of us, but still it seems like there's risk in putting Page on the stand. Plant I'm not worried about, what could he say? And besides, Plant could carry on for six minutes and nobody in the jury would have any idea what the hell he'd said.

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1 minute ago, Balthazor said:

Well I'd like to assume their lawyers are smarter and more knowledgeable than either of us, but still it seems like there's risk in putting Page on the stand. Plant I'm not worried about, what could he say? And besides, Plant could carry on for six minutes and nobody in the jury would have any idea what the hell he'd said.

Without a doubt, old Robert would go into one of his Celtic diatribes about the Welsh King Owain Glyndwr and have the court scratching their heads for hours.

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1 hour ago, IpMan said:

Without a doubt, old Robert would go into one of his Celtic diatribes about the Welsh King Owain Glyndwr and have the court scratching their heads for hours.

Yeah that or badgeholders or something equally bizarre. Then again, if he decided to proclaim himself a golden god, that probably wouldn't play well with a jury. :)

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Jimmy Page and Robert Plant do indeed plan on showing up to a trial beginning June 14 that will explore whether Led Zeppelin copied the 1968 instrumental "Taurus" to create the iconic song "Stairway to Heaven." And attorneys for the musicians are reacting strongly to the plaintiff's demand they be compelled into attendance.

"Plaintiff's motion is a PR stunt in the hope of tainting the jury pool," states an opposition brief filed on Tuesday (May 24). "Despite being told that Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones fully intend to appear at the trial, plaintiff’s counsel misrepresented to the Court at the April 25, 2016 Pretrial Conference that Messrs. Page, Plant and Jones 'are refusing to appear in this court in the claims against them,' and plaintiff’s counsel repeated that misrepresentation to news cameras on the Courthouse steps, causing a flurry of press reports repeating plaintiff’s false accusation. When those reports died down, plaintiff triggered renewed reports of his misrepresentation by now filing a belated motion that is so devoid of merit it can only be seen as playing to the press."

 

According to Led Zeppelin, Francis Malofiy -- the attorney who represents the Trustee who manages the estate of Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe -- has been shooting his mouth off about notices and subpoenas despite never properly serving them.

The attack on Malofiy (who was once sanctioned by a judge in a song theft case) could be moot anyway since Led Zeppelin band members do figure to make an appearance. As to any suggestion that Led Zeppelin is running from its court date, a footnote in the latest opposition brief states, "There simply is no merit to plaintiff’s attempt to pursue a 45-year-old claim that the actual copyright owner and Randy Wolfe never bothered to file."

The case over such an old song is happening now thanks to a huge assist from the U.S. Supreme Court, but that doesn't mean the plaintiff will succeed. There are plenty of challenges to show copyright infringement. Besides not getting the opportunity to present the sound recordings he wants, Malofiy may be precluded from using the depositions Page and Plant gave in the case. Peter Anderson, attorney for the defendants, insists that his adversary is flouting legal procedure by failing to mark deposition transcripts as required.

 

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7385106/led-zeppelin-stairway-to-heaven-trial-jury-pool

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On ‎5‎/‎20‎/‎2016 at 11:41 AM, IpMan said:

What did Page say in this interview which is so damning? "Oh, ha, he, he, he....I stole the riff from Taurus to construct STH and Peter threatened to cut off Randy's balls if he ever said anything. He, he, he, do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law...MY LAW!!!"

I have read what I believe to  be all of those interviews between Page & Tolinski and I do not recall such an exchange, nor any exchange which could be construed as damning IMO. Any ideas here???

He's coming off as evasive regarding his knowledge of/familiarity with Spirit's music, as has Plant (re. his presence at a Spirit concert).  An American jury is not going to look very favorably on this, hence it's bad for their case.  It doesn't matter that it's a very common chord progression, that something similar was written by Davey Graham in the 50's (has Page ever referred to Graham as an influence for STH?), etc.  The jury is going to hear very similar-sounding parts of two songs, see that the guys who came later are acting like they have something to hide, and there you go.

Needless to say, the outcome of this case is not going to affect my love of Zep in any way, but overall Page has taken a lose-lose situation and made it worse.  I understand the perspective that of all their songs he had to stand firm on this one, but he really should have thought harder about just how strong his case really was. 

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Not sure whether this has been reported elsewhere but the Meltdown event at the Royal Festival Hall withRobert in The Boat We're In has now ben cancelled due to the Court Case in the States.

It appears that Robert is preparing to appear. Shame this case is now effecting what would have been a unique and beautiful performance and a highlight of the Meltdown festival organised by Guy Garvey.

 

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-boat-were-in-96896

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

He's coming off as evasive regarding his knowledge of/familiarity with Spirit's music, as has Plant (re. his presence at a Spirit concert).  An American jury is not going to look very favorably on this, hence it's bad for their case.  It doesn't matter that it's a very common chord progression, that something similar was written by Davey Graham in the 50's (has Page ever referred to Graham as an influence for STH?), etc.  The jury is going to hear very similar-sounding parts of two songs, see that the guys who came later are acting like they have something to hide, and there you go.

Needless to say, the outcome of this case is not going to affect my love of Zep in any way, but overall Page has taken a lose-lose situation and made it worse.  I understand the perspective that of all their songs he had to stand firm on this one, but he really should have thought harder about just how strong his case really was. 

You're making some wrong assumptions. For example, there's court documents you can find online where Jimmy states in his own declaration; "Before 1968, I also was familiar with other songs that included a descending line, such as songs by the Beatles and Cry  Me a River by Davey Graham." 

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16 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I understand the perspective that of all their songs he had to stand firm on this one, but he really should have thought harder about just how strong his case really was. 

I couldn't disagree more. Everyone, outside of Spirit's scuzzy lawyer and apparently the judge, can tell that Stairway is NOT the same song as Taurus. And even if the opening of Stairway was inspired by Taurus, which itself is highly questionable, that hardly constitutes plagiarism. An artist shouldn't be expected to roll over and hand away writing credits every time someone else pops up to say hey, part of your song sounds a teeny tiny bit like part of my song! I totally think Page did the right thing in standing firm on this one, despite my fear that his lawyers may be incompetent and the jurors may well be idiotic enough to make a stupid decision. If it goes that way, I'm sure Page is likely to appeal, as well he should.

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I don't know why anyone - bar the actual parties involved - would get overexcited or indeed upset about this case, which would appear to be a money sniffer. Should it go in favour of the plaintiff (snarl dammit curses for stealing the Precious), there's a looong road ahead with appeals etc.

I mean, it's not like courtrooms worldwide have made clanging errors in the past only to be overturned later on. And, it's an American courtroom in California, where legal history tells us anything can happen. I rest my case. (Been holding off that pun for 20 pages on this thread).

Edited by FavouriteTipple

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15 hours ago, zeplz71 said:

You're making some wrong assumptions. For example, there's court documents you can find online where Jimmy states in his own declaration; "Before 1968, I also was familiar with other songs that included a descending line, such as songs by the Beatles and Cry  Me a River by Davey Graham." 

I stand corrected, I thought he was sticking with the "immaculate conception" account of the origins of the song.  But he says he recalls influences before 1968, but not a 1976 interview where he praises Spirit's music?  Again, not going to look good to the jury.

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7 hours ago, Balthazor said:

I couldn't disagree more. Everyone, outside of Spirit's scuzzy lawyer and apparently the judge, can tell that Stairway is NOT the same song as Taurus. And even if the opening of Stairway was inspired by Taurus, which itself is highly questionable, that hardly constitutes plagiarism. An artist shouldn't be expected to roll over and hand away writing credits every time someone else pops up to say hey, part of your song sounds a teeny tiny bit like part of my song! I totally think Page did the right thing in standing firm on this one, despite my fear that his lawyers may be incompetent and the jurors may well be idiotic enough to make a stupid decision. If it goes that way, I'm sure Page is likely to appeal, as well he should.

Largely agree with your points re. plagiarism, but unfortunately they're not relevant to the decision the jury is capable of making.  And yes, it appears Page's lawyer is pretty incompetent.

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15 hours ago, anniemouse said:

From following this case what puzzles me is how do you defend against an accusation of "Feel". I can see if there are arguments about lyrics and structure but is this case being used as some kind of legal test  on a new aspect of copyright.

 

You're exactly right, and the same argument was made in regards to the Robin Thicke Blurred Lines case, although the Stairway case does I think take it to a new level. If "feel" or "style" become elements of plagiarism, then like I've said before, couldn't Led Zeppelin sue virtually every hard rock band that came after? Couldn't Black Sabbath sue every heavy metal band that ever existed? Couldn't the Beatles sue practically every British Invasion band? In any other artistic pursuit, this isn't even a thing. Directors are openly talking about their desire to capture the "look" or "feel" of someone else's movie. An entire genre of fiction literature tries to capture the "feel" of Lord of the Rings. The old Battlestar Galactica TV show was obviously trying to dovetail off the Star Wars phenomenon. But in music, this is something we're going to call plagiarism?

I strongly hope that Spirit and their scuzzy lawyer lose this one, not just for the sake of Zeppelin and Stairway, but because it establishes what is really an unhealthy precedent. Music, and in fact really any creative endeavor, has always been about taking what's been done before and expanding it, building on it, and making something new out of it. But now we're going to say that musicians are legally prohibited from doing so? Might as well kiss the music business goodbye, although it's not like it's much of a loss given what passes for popular music nowadays.

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20 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

I stand corrected, I thought he was sticking with the "immaculate conception" account of the origins of the song.  But he says he recalls influences before 1968, but not a 1976 interview where he praises Spirit's music?  Again, not going to look good to the jury.

Sorry mate but that dog don't hunt. Page is 72 years old and anyone familiar with the man knows of his drug use in the 70's. I am sure the jury would take an interview from 76' along side Jimmy's current testimony and draw the obvious conclusion...he can't remember every word from every interview over the past 48 years, nor should he be expected to. Jimmy covered his ass in his deposition when he made mention of influences for the song, nothing else needed to be said nor remembered. I mean really, is Jimmy supposed to remember what he had for breakfast on October 20th 1976 as well?

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20 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

Largely agree with your points re. plagiarism, but unfortunately they're not relevant to the decision the jury is capable of making.  And yes, it appears Page's lawyer is pretty incompetent.

Well sure, one can never underestimate the ability of jurors to display an alarming level of stupidity.

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Man, if this jerk wins can you imagine? On every magazine cover "GIant KIller!!" David and Goliath, etc... He'll be on every fucking TV show...OMG, just...NO

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Some of the recollecting dear Jimmy has made regarding Spirit sounds a bit questionable,  but
how can Francis prove that to a jury?

Let me say I don't think Zep is guilty of plagiarism,  but for Jimmy to say he had NEVER heard
of the song Taurus until ? 2014 sounds a little silly.   Many moons ago he would've heard the
rumblings of people claiming Stairway's intro sounded somewhat simular to Taurus,  and in my
personal opinion I would think out of mild curiousity he would have checked that  out.  And what
does that matter?   Listening to a song does not make somebody guilty of jack shit does it! 

I  guess Zep is being told to deny deny deny when it comes to hearing Spirits music  since
there really isn't any evidence proving otherwise.   Old interviews can't be used as evidence
can they?  At least they shouldn't be.  Magazines can be fudged,  words taken out  of context or
down right made up.  That is not proof for me,  since those things can easily be misconstrued.
Besides who knows how many of these music journalist were interviewing  the bands in their
hotel suites,  or on Zep's plane  sniffing, swallowing, smoking or shooting up the drug  du jour as
well. 

I need to add that I  hate that this trial has taken away from the the members doing anything
productive musically / artistically.  A lot of walking on egg shells and being all hush hush waiting for
this trial to start.

And to ever thinks this thread is depressing  :console: *Hugs*   Whatever the outcome we still 
love Zeppelin!!

Edited by KellyGirl

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Thank you Kelly It was me so thanks for the hug. I just this is an almighty mess. To me you could state that Mary Quant could sue ever designer and fashion house for having hemlines above the knee if this case is lost.

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What is such a shame is that  by now the plaintiffs, their lawyer and his flunkees  have through research and discovery read enough to realize their case has no merit, yet the money grubbers persist. Maybe in the beginning they truly thought there was a case for plagiarism.  However, certainly by now they are fully aware of the history of many songs that use a similar structure (and in the case of Davy Graham's Cry Me a River,  songs that sound even more like to STH than Taurus does) .  All these comments about justice in the hands of  a jury being a crapshoot at best are valid and worrisome. And easily explains why lawyers for the Plaintiffs keep on, knowing they could have a shot even with a horse crap case.  They surely by now should know what they are doing to Led Zeppelin, and their reputation is wrong, and I hope that within two weeks they get what bad they flow out back at themselves

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On ‎5‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 0:57 AM, KellyGirl said:

Some of the recollecting dear Jimmy has made regarding Spirit sounds a bit questionable,  but
how can Francis prove that to a jury?

Let me say I don't think Zep is guilty of plagiarism,  but for Jimmy to say he had NEVER heard
of the song Taurus until ? 2014 sounds a little silly.   Many moons ago he would've heard the
rumblings of people claiming Stairway's intro sounded somewhat simular to Taurus,  and in my
personal opinion I would think out of mild curiousity he would have checked that  out.  And what
does that matter?   Listening to a song does not make somebody guilty of jack shit does it! 

I  guess Zep is being told to deny deny deny when it comes to hearing Spirits music  since
there really isn't any evidence proving otherwise.   Old interviews can't be used as evidence
can they?  At least they shouldn't be.  Magazines can be fudged,  words taken out  of context or
down right made up.  That is not proof for me,  since those things can easily be misconstrued.
Besides who knows how many of these music journalist were interviewing  the bands in their
hotel suites,  or on Zep's plane  sniffing, swallowing, smoking or shooting up the drug  du jour as
well. 

I need to add that I  hate that this trial has taken away from the the members doing anything
productive musically / artistically.  A lot of walking on egg shells and being all hush hush waiting for
this trial to start.

And to ever thinks this thread is depressing  :console: *Hugs*   Whatever the outcome we still 
love Zeppelin!!

Of course an old interview can be used as evidence here, this isn't a criminal case.  (And I thought Zep's past drug use can't be brought up at the trial, they can't say they were too stoned to remember.)  The issue concerns whether Page and Plant were influenced by Taurus when they wrote Stairway, and hence the extent to which copyright law may have been violated.  It doesn't really matter if Jimmy truly can't remember admiring Spirit, there is evidence that he did and it looks like he's dodging the question.  The jury will not like this.

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When asked, Jimmy can easily and probably completely honestly say...

 

Yeah, I might have heard Taurus, not really sure, it didn't stick with me or inspire me obviously. What did was the masterful work of classical writers that had similar structures, which is where the inspiration is from. And it is inspiration, not a copy. I have not copied anything, I liked the climb structure in classical music, played with my own ideas, and the stairway opening took shape.

 

...or something else entirely that like I said, will be completely honest, and will bolster their argument.

While a jury can indeed be unpredictable, good planning and a good lawyer should see this case dispatched to the footnotes of history.

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What's curious is how the "plaintiff" is getting all this money to spend on legal fees to sue Led Zeppelin for this long over something so flimsy... If it doesn't get thrown out eventually, like it should have in one second flat, as they sound nothing like alike to anyone who isn't Helen Keller, it will set a horrendous precedent for a new breed of "artistic infringement" over any subjective nonsense reason.

This uninspired POS Taurus is nothing more than goofy elevator music which sounds nothing like the masterpiece Stairway. Not even the one second they claim...amazing how Zeppelin rolled up their sleeves and created a beautiful, Beethoven level piece of timeless music that billions of people love and that influenced just about every musician alive directly or indirectly, and yet they're being punished for it by these no talent gold-diggers. And why wait 45 years to sue?!? Flimsy case, that's why.

If LZ somehow loses this, LZ should then sue about 10,000 other bands since Zeppelin are THE most ripped off band in history in so many ways...as 99% of all musicians are influenced by Page, Bonzo, Plant, their songs, etc...and how about all the people that try to sound like Bonzo, but FAIL so badly. LZ could sue so many people if they wanted, even on "sonic" grounds as, to this day, so many people try to emulate LZ's guitar and drum sounds, as well as Page's studio production techniques.

Edited by Tea41

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7 hours ago, Tea41 said:

This uninspired POS Taurus is nothing more than goofy elevator music which sounds nothing like the masterpiece Stairway. Not even the one second they claim...amazing how Zeppelin rolled up their sleeves and created a beautiful, Beethoven level piece of timeless music that billions of people love and that influenced just about every musician alive directly or indirectly, and yet they're being punished for it by these no talent gold-diggers. And why wait 45 years to sue?!? Flimsy case, that's why.

Yeah, that's the elephant in the room isn't it?  All this legal wrangling about venue, whether Randy Wolfe even had publishing rights at the time, whether the Randy Wolfe Foundation is a legit charity (it's shambolic at best ), is really just encouragement for Mike the Spirit bass player and publicity-seeking Malifoy to drop it.  The elephant in the room is that the jury will eventually get to hear Davey Graham and Bach and  Giovanni Granata and the Beatles and some of Page's own work preceding Stairway, and realize how frivolous this suit was. And millennials everywhere in the social media universe, and even grouchy Ritchie Blackmore fans will know once and for all that the descending chord pattern of Stairway belongs to no one in particular and humanity in general, and that the No. 1 influences on Page specifically at the time were Davey Graham (no doubt about this), Johann Sebastian Bach (the Bourree in E minor, which Page was playing live in the Heartbreaker solo).

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16 hours ago, rm2551 said:

When asked, Jimmy can easily and probably completely honestly say...

 

Yeah, I might have heard Taurus, not really sure, it didn't stick with me or inspire me obviously. What did was the masterful work of classical writers that had similar structures, which is where the inspiration is from. And it is inspiration, not a copy. I have not copied anything, I liked the climb structure in classical music, played with my own ideas, and the stairway opening took shape.

 

...or something else entirely that like I said, will be completely honest, and will bolster their argument.

While a jury can indeed be unpredictable, good planning and a good lawyer should see this case dispatched to the footnotes of history.

He can say it now, but there's evidence that he was well aware of Spirit's music around the time he wrote STH.  By denying such knowledge, he either comes across as evasive, or his recollection of other, non-Spirit influences can be called into question.  The time to acknowledge Spirit while simultaneously denying particular influence by Taurus was at the very beginning.  This would have undercut much of the plaintiff's claims.  Unfortunately Jimmy's incompetent lawyer hasn't advised him appropriately.

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8 hours ago, JohnOsbourne said:

He can say it now, but there's evidence that he was well aware of Spirit's music around the time he wrote STH.  By denying such knowledge, he either comes across as evasive, or his recollection of other, non-Spirit influences can be called into question.  The time to acknowledge Spirit while simultaneously denying particular influence by Taurus was at the very beginning.  This would have undercut much of the plaintiff's claims.  Unfortunately Jimmy's incompetent lawyer hasn't advised him appropriately.

He need not lie. He may have been aware of that song along with other songs that had accoustic processions that are of a like. And the structure itself, the idea of something gentle and climbing, based on classical and WELL used ideas around that kind of structure, was what inspired JP to play with his own ideas on similar themes. Nothing at all to do with lifting songs or parts of songs. Taurus is simply NOT the same.

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