In ‘Stairway’ suit, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Burred Lines’ cast shadow

April 15, 2016Article
Los Angeles Daily Journal

Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger partner William I. Hochberg was quoted in the article “In ‘Stairway’ suit, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Burred Lines’ cast shadow,”. The article addresses an infringement lawsuit moving to trial related to Led Zeppelin’s classic song, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and reviews a recent rulings between the heirs of Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke over "Blurred Lines.”

The lawsuit was filed by the trust of Randy Craig Wolfe, the frontman of Spirit, a band that shared the stage with an up-and-coming Led Zeppelin in the early 70s and similarities to their song ‘Taurus.’

"Here, you have two songs that in my view are more similar in terms of chord structure, bass line, melody, than what you had in 'Blurred Lines'," said William Hochberg.

The greater similarity in the Zeppelin case could bode well for the plaintiffs at trial. But Hochberg noted that the plaintiff's victory in the "Blurred Lines" case "was very controversial," and a decision in the Zeppelin case could either reinforce or undermine that ruling.

"If the verdict in this case goes the way of 'Blurred Lines,' I think it could have a chilling effect on the music industry," Hochberg said, adding that the portion of "Stairway" in contention, a minor chord with a descending bass line, has been around in some form or another since the days of Johann Sebastian Bach.