Korn, Tool and Others Supporting Led Zeppelin in “Stairway To Heaven” Case

More than 100 artists filed an amicus brief on the band's behalf

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is celebrating its 50th anniversary. (Dick Barnatt/Redferns)
By Evan Bleier / August 7, 2019 10:19 am

Many musicians who likely grew up listening to Led Zeppelin have asked a court to let them weigh in on the iconic band’s Stairway To Heaven copyright case.

More than 100 artists including Sean Lennon, Jason Mraz, Eddie Money, and musicians from Tool, Korn Judas Priest, Bad Religion, Linkin Park, Tears for Fears, Primus, Dust Brothers and Heart filed an amicus brief along with the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters of North America.

The brief states the artists and the songwriters groups have a vested interest in Zeppelin’s case as the potential ruling by the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals “truly does impact (adversely) every songwriter and musician.”

“In their amicus brief filed this week, the group of artists echoed arguments Zeppelin made in its rehearing petition, pointing out that the panel’s decision would create significant confusion among artists about what is infringement and that would stifle creativity,” according to Law360. “It would also encourage excessive and unwarranted litigation and drastically expand the basis for finding copyright infringement in music cases, the artists said.”

A jury cleared Zeppelin of wrongdoing after trustees from the band Spirit alleged Zeppelin ripped off portions of “Stairway” from Spirit’s 1967 instrumental ballad called “Taurus” in 2016. But the full Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear the case in June.

“The brief is unimpressive and dull. It represents 123 songwriters out of roughly 500,000; a whopping .02 percent! It’s really nothing more than a blast piece for the industry,” an attorney on Spirit’s side of the litigation told Law360 in an email.

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