Wendel Rosen's Intellectual Property Blog

Jury Hands Zeppelin a Heavenly Victory

In Robert Plant’s world, all that glitters is not gold, and all that sounds like another artist’s work is not stolen from that artist. Fortunately for Plant and his Led Zeppelin bandmates, a Los Angeles jury agreed. That jury found on Thursday that the estate of Randy Craig Wolfe, the lead guitar player for a Zeppelin contemporary, Spirit, had not proved that the iconic opening guitar riff to “Stairway to Heaven” was lifted from Spirit’s “Taurus.”

CBS Radio Remasters the Art of Not Paying Artists Royalties

Two years ago, a federal judge rocked the music industry in holding that pre-1972 recordings may be protected under state copyright laws and are protected by California copyright law. This holding, in a case brought against SiriusXM, had vast potential ramifications, as it would mean that radio and internet radio stations playing such recordings would have to pay out millions of dollars in royalties that they had never anticipated paying. CBS Radio, however, just scored a legal victory that, if it stands up, would effectively eliminate any artist’s ability to recover royalties for pre-1972 recordings.

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