“… if you listen very hard …”: Stairway to Heaven Verdict May Have Unblurred Lines in Music Infringement Cases

ILN IP Insider

James P. Flynn, a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practices, in the firm’s Newark office, authored an article in ILN IP Insider titled “…if you listen very hard…”: Stairway to Heaven Verdict May Have Unblurred Lines in Music Infringement Cases. The article was also listed by LexBlog as a “Top 10 in Law Blogs” for July 20, 2016. 

Following is an excerpt:

Among the last few lines of Led Zeppelin’s rock ballad Stairway to Heaven are the lyrics “And if you listen very hard/The tune will come to you at last./When all are one and one is all …”  Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe brought suit against Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement, apparently thinking that one did not even have to listen very hard to hear the similarities between the Zeppelin song and his song Taurus after a side-by-side comparison.  After the recent victory of Marvin Gaye’s heirs in the Blurred Lines suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, where the similarities were, to many, not as striking when the songs were juxtaposed, the Spirit plaintiffs may have had visions of victory and “all that glitters is gold.”  But, last month, a California jury rejected the Wolfe claim, and “it really makes me wonder” what the implications may be for music copyright infringement claims.