JPF Home Page

Stairway Lawsuit

Posted By: Ray E. Strode

Stairway Lawsuit - 06/11/19 02:05 PM

I read a short blurb on MSN that once again the courts will hear the case if Led Zepplin stole the melody or some such thing from an obscure melody someone else wrote. Now wouldn't you just love to be on that Jury!
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/11/19 03:24 PM

Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
I read a short blurb on MSN that once again the courts will hear the case if Led Zepplin stole the melody or some such thing from an obscure melody someone else wrote. Now wouldn't you just love to be on that Jury!


Well i guess if you go to court enough times your odds of winning increase. Especially when you now know how the court process will go and what possible mistakes you made the first time and fix them.

I guess if I was the band Spirit, and I really thought I had a case Id keep trying too. They must be working with a lawyer who will work on the "only if you win" premise. Im sure its pretty expensive to fight Led Zeppelin in court.

Personally, I dont think it sounds very similar at all, some agree with me others dont. It sounds like a minor scale being picked up and down, with Led Zeps piece being more interesting and more musical

Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/11/19 11:29 PM

I I think that it is pretty clear that they lifted it from a spirit song. Particularly given the history. In my opinion, it's unmistakable. I was surprised that Led Zeppelin prevailed the last time.
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 06:36 AM

Do you guys know which songs are being discussed? I bet there's a YouTube video showing an A/B comparison somewhere.
Posted By: Ray E. Strode

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 01:52 PM

Well,
I believe the song is Stairway to Heaven but have no idea when it was first released or if it was lifted from the other music. Did you know Slim Whitman recorded a song with the same Title but not the same song. Well they say bad news is better than no news at all eh.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 03:09 PM

Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Do you guys know which songs are being discussed? I bet there's a YouTube video showing an A/B comparison somewhere.


There are tons of people exploiting this on youtube to garner views. Here's a musicians take: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCEg9gMJakU

My take? This guy has a more convincing argument than Spirit does. I mean this sounds a lot more like it in spots. His name never appeared anywhere in any case. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeejHJxGjs

It was ruled that the song borrowed from classical music, so it couldnt be stolen from somebody modern. Well wait and see, never know how these cases go
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 08:44 PM

Give me a break. It's just a chord progression. And yes, it was used by classical composers back as far as J.S. Bach. I think Jim Croce's "Time in the Bottle" had a similar chord progression. Just a way for people without scruples to make money. No different than those lowlifes that stage falls in a stores.

John smile
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 08:50 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Give me a break. It's just a chord progression. And yes, it was used by classical composers back as far as J.S. Bach. I think Jim Croce's "Time in the Bottle" had a similar chord progression. Just a way for people without scruples to make money. No different than those lowlifes that stage falls in a stores.

John smile


Disagree. It is a unique sound that identifies arguably, what I think is the biggest pop song of all time. Led Zeppelin toured with spirit and the song was subsequent to that. If I was a juror, the defense attorney would have his work cut out for him.
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 09:26 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Give me a break. It's just a chord progression. And yes, it was used by classical composers back as far as J.S. Bach. I think Jim Croce's "Time in the Bottle" had a similar chord progression. Just a way for people without scruples to make money. No different than those lowlifes that stage falls in a stores.

John smile


Disagree. It is a unique sound that identifies arguably, what I think is the biggest pop song of all time. Led Zeppelin toured with spirit and the song was subsequent to that. If I was a juror, the defense attorney would have his work cut out for him.



So it's the sound not the music that's at the heart of it. So if I played that progression on clavichord in a classical style, there would be no copyright infringement. Got it...

John smile
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 10:31 PM

John,

It's the exact same chord progression for 3 bars of 4/4 at around 67 BPM (or 6 bars at 134BPM), played in the same style on the same solo instrument (at the start) by a band that as Marty mentioned toured with Led Zep before the latter "wrote" Stairway, so there is a case, here. That last fact is very important. An attorney could prove that Page heard Spirit's guitarist (Randy California?) playing that, night after night.

Another song that came out around that time (with an almost identical chord progression for a few bars) is Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" but it's at different tempo played by a full band with a driving rock sound, so no one thinks about Stairway or Taurus when they hear it. "Time In A Bottle" also has the descending half-step at work, but is in a brisk 3/4 or 6/8 and has different inner melodies playing with, so no one thinks of "Time In A Bottle" as being like Stairway or Taurus.

To have a case, everything must be the same, or a jury can't be made to hear it, and it's really about what those folks think, right? Normal folks will tend to hear similar things as different, unless the presentation is really similar, and the chords, melody, tempo, et al..are exact..

Having said that, I'm not sure how I feel. There is definitely a case here, though.

Mike
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/12/19 11:09 PM

What Mike said.

Revision to my last post...it is a unique sequence of sounds. I have no doubt that Page lifted.

Also...point out the natural sequence in the first 3 albums that led to Stairway. I don't hear one. The only antecedent I hear in the song that accords with Page's natural inclinations is the solo. I hear that modality in "SInce I Been Loving You"...on LZ3.

And John....if you were to play "You Really Got Me" on hapsicord and claim it as yours...that would be plagiarism.
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 02:54 AM

Similar chord progression, though the guitar picking is a bit different. There's no doubt that both songs are easily identifiable from the other. If copyright infringements start using chord progressions as an infringement issue, we’re all in trouble. If one considers the songs in their entirety, there’s no copyright issues in my opinion.

John smile
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:04 AM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Similar chord progression, though the guitar picking is a bit different. There's no doubt that both songs are easily identifiable from the other. If copyright infringements start using chord progressions as an infringement issue, we’re all in trouble. If one considers the songs in their entirety, there’s no copyright issues in my opinion.

John smile


Answer a question John....
If LZ had not toured with Spirit and had Page not heard TAURUS repeatedly...do you think that STAIRWAY would exist at all?
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 01:55 PM

I'm with John, If you could copyright a chord progression, every 50's song in the catalogue would be liable.

People are inspired by others all the time. If you want to use the circumstantial evidence of "they heard it from us" on tour, you could use the same argument for anything that sounds like Chuck Berry, so all your early Stones songs were stolen.

Everybody who ever played a pentatonic scale for a riff might have to pay chuck something.

How bout this for circumstantial evidence? imagine....that Spirit heard Jimi Page doodling on his guitar this sequence, before Jimmy completed the whole song. Lets say it was an ide he had brewing for a long time. But he started doodling and played it at rehearsal. Then Spirit hears this and writes their own song, and completes it first.

That's what your dealing with. He said, she said.

Hey im for the underdog, and if I knew the truth about it id be furious too. But as outsiders we don't.

Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 02:41 PM

Yes, but if the similarity is striking enough (see Mike's post) and the accused plagiarizer had access which Page clearly did, and there is not a trail of musical compositions by the accused that obviously led to the content under question... Then in my opinion, you are making a rhetorical argument in defiance of the obvious.

It seems that someone somewhere agrees with that.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 02:52 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Yes, but if the similarity is striking enough (see Mike's post)



But isnt that the whole argument? IS it striking enough? I dont think so, John doesnt, Mike Does and You do.

The Jury already ruled once that it wasnt, Musicologists have already said it leaned heavily on Classical music. Most musicians dont think it's stolen.

Hey, there's also the "art of the steal" and Picasso said “good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

I guess either way we can call Led Zep a great artist, lol

What bugs me though, is nobody will even acknoweldge this. If it was stolen from Spirit, then Sprit surely stole it from this guy. If im Led Zeppelin, I bring this clip in and say who stole what from whom?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeejHJxGjs
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:05 PM

Imo... you and John are making a rhetorical argument that is incorrect.

If you borrow from a piece of music that you had clear access to and was not a musical track that you were on, or showed any relation to anything that you did prior to the composition in question, and is clearly very similar, and a case can be made that your composition would not even exist had you not heard the borrowed one... Then I think most songwriters would agree that you should credit a co-writer.
You can talk about chord progressions and everything else but if that sound is uniquely and clearly identifiable as the same in the minds of the jurors, then the defense has a problem. If I was on the jury... The defense would have a problem.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:07 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Imo... you and John are making a rhetorical argument that is incorrect.

If you borrow from a piece of music that you had clear access to and was not a musical track that you were on and anything that you did prior to the composition in question, and is clearly very similar, and a case can be made that your composition would not even exist had you not heard the borrowed one... Then I think most songwriters would agree that you should credit a co-writer.
You can talk about chord progressions and everything else but if that sound is uniquely and clearly identifiable as the same in the minds of the jurors, then the defense has a problem. If I was on the jury... The defense would have a problem.


Isnt the burden of proof on the accuser?
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:09 PM

Sure it is.

And someone, in addition to me, apparently agrees that they have a case. So we shall see. I think it's interesting. It's also apparently a david-and-goliath type of thing.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:31 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Sure it is.

And someone, in addition to me, apparently agrees that they have a case. So we shall see. I think it's interesting. It's also apparently a david-and-goliath type of thing.


The only people who really know are Page and Spriit. If i knew Spirit was in the right, id back them 100%.
Posted By: Ray E. Strode

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:47 PM

Well,
It is true you can be inspired by many others. I once thought a song had already been written so I asked my then Publisher if he had heard the song. He said he had not so I proceeded to write the song. It is Entitled: I'LL TAKE IT FROM HERE and is posted on the Web Site. Much later I remembered Ralph Emory interviewing George Jones. When Elvis came along George who liked Traditional country booked himself as Thumper Jones. Evidently Trying the Rock Craze that came along with Elvis. I never saw George as Thumper Jones but the interview came back to me so I wrote the song THUMPER JONES that is also on the Web Site. At times good ideas come to you and it turns into a song. No idea if Stairway was lifted from the other song or not. With the difference opinions here who knows how it will turn out. Write a Hit!

During the 2000 Presidential Election the LOST CHAD SONG came to me. The songs that come spontaneously probably are the best kind.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 03:57 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
If copyright infringements start using chord progressions as an infringement issue, we’re all in trouble.
John smile


Riddle me this: When are chords also melody?

When they're broken chords, like the intro to Taurus and Stairway!

IOW, you can't hum a block chord, but you can an arpeggiated one. And if it's soloing with no background music, a listener is certainly hearing chords as melody

I imagine this get's explored in the case.. It's a fuzzy area, at least to me.

Mike
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 04:00 PM

Guys, make me happy, SOMEBODY please acknowledge this! He has a case against both artists, if we go there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeejHJxGjs
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 04:02 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Similar chord progression, though the guitar picking is a bit different. There's no doubt that both songs are easily identifiable from the other. If copyright infringements start using chord progressions as an infringement issue, we’re all in trouble. If one considers the songs in their entirety, there’s no copyright issues in my opinion.

John smile


Answer a question John....
If LZ had not toured with Spirit and had Page not heard TAURUS repeatedly...do you think that STAIRWAY would exist at all?



Is that a trick question Martin? laugh We are all influenced by what we hear through the years. Would Beethoven’s music exist as it is, if it weren't for Mozart. Mozart was a hell of an influence on Beethoven. My music is influenced by Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Chopin, and Mancini. Bottom-line… Taurus and Stairway are both distinctive & different musical entities. Each stand on their own merits. Any music professor of composition and copyright law would agree. A jury of uneducated music listeners may not. The similarity of the guitar pickin’ chord progression doesn’t cut mustard with me buster. laugh

Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 04:38 PM

Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Guys, make me happy, SOMEBODY please acknowledge this! He has a case against both artists, if we go there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeejHJxGjs



I listened and yes, there's similarities, and I see your argument. "If Spirit can sue Led Zep then why can't Graham sue Spirit" --and then perhaps no one sues anyone because it becomes apparent that the 2-3 bars of music is fairly common.

There are probably hundreds more, post Spirit/Led Zep, like this Dolly Parton song from 1975:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGt0fvYadLQ


Ultimately, Spirit will probably lose because there are tiny differences between the two. If this receives more argumentative weight than intention (on Page's part) then Spirit probably won't sway a jury.

But I do think weight should be on if there was opportunity, motive, an acknowledgement on the part of Page, at the time, etc.

Look..Spirit has a right to feel bitter--there was opportunity and motive, and given the lack of Page ever even acknowledging it, I can understand that bitterness. It's like Paul Simon's blatantly ripping off Martin Carthy's intro to Scarborough Fair and never acknowledging he did so, though he was in England and saw Carthy playing the song live, when "Scarborough Fair" wasn't even on Simon's radar. Rita Coolidge has a right to be bitter over Stigwood/Gordon and eventually Clapton for ripping off "Time" and using it for the second (instrumental) half of Layla.

Bitterness can be damaging--the fame, the money, goes to someone else....and so wanting recompense seems organic in all of the above.

I wonder if Page had had a conversation with Randy California such as, "hey mate, I like that little arpeggiated part of that instrumental you do Capricorn is it? Taurus? Can I nick it for this frankenstein of a song I'm writing, with like, ten parts in it? Just a few bars? I'll maybe change it a little." ... I wonder--would we be here today with this lawsuit?

I think part of the reason there can be sustained bitterness is that Simon, Page, Gordon, etc..did not AT LEAST attempt SOME FORM of friendly attribution, after their songs changed their careers (in Simon's case*) or made them a bunch of money (in Clapton's and Page's)...


Mike


*Simon would eventually acknowledge his deed and offer retribution to Carthy, decades later.

Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 04:40 PM

No John, It is a specific question.
One that will be asked.

And it wont to be lost in rhetorical arguments about the history of music and composers.

Someone on a jury to whom music is a sequence of sounds, not notes or other music nomenclature will be asked if the absence of that specific sequence of notes anywhere in Jimmy Page's life would have also meant the absence of stairway???

If you were a juror and had to be specific, how would you answer,

And if you would reference Bach or Mozart, then spefically indicate which of their songs sounds like the intro to STAIRWAY and therefore is free to use.

Thanks
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 05:03 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
No John, It is a spefic question.
One that will be asked.

And it wont to be lost in rhetorical arguments about the history of music and composers.

Someone on a jury to whom music is a sequence of sounds, not notes or other music nomenclature will be asked if the absence of that specific sequence of notes anywhere in Jimmy Page's life would have also meant the absence of stairway???

If you were a juror and had to be specific, how would you answer,

And if you would reference Bach or Mozart, then spefically indicate which of their songs sounds like the intro to STAIRWAY and therefore is free to use.

Thanks

You misunderstood my reference to Beethoven Martin.

So, copyright shouldn't have anything to do with notes, only sequence of sounds? Whatever that means.

If I were on the jury, I’d want the case thrown out. And as far as possible, so others are discouraged about filing frivolous lawsuits.

John smile
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 05:17 PM

John

I know you would. So would MAB I suspect, from what he's written previously. And if I was the defense attorney , I would load the jury with like minded professional composers.

If I was the prosecution I would look for writers who felt that they had been plagiarized. Such as Rita Coolidge and Randy California. ( deceased I think)


If reality prevails, the jury will find that Page expanded the Riff into Stairway to Heaven...imo. If and when they decide that, I don't know where it might go from there.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 05:41 PM

John and FD,

The whole argument of "but is it striking enough" shouldn't be the only criterion inmho. If it was, then you open the door to ANYONE being able to figure out the maximum amount of notes/bars/etc one can use that can be exact, and how many one can use if one "tweeks" one or two notes. And then "plundering" becomes part of one's compositional process.

Although I often encourage clients who can't sing their melody to point me to pieces of music to base parts of their songs on, I then tweek and pivot far enough away that there's very little resemblance, so I can understand "plundering" as part of the modern compositional process, for sure. But if it becomes okay to "almost duplicate exactly" ANY work for soloist for 3 or 4 bars, John, then we are truly in trouble. Broken chords are ALSO melodies, so THAT fact opens the door to ANY solo introduction being "nickable" --if one follows your train of thought to its ultimate conclusion.

This is why I believe, intention and opportunity, as well as "did anyone acknowledge" etc...should have much weight in these kinds of cases..

Mike
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 05:49 PM

John, how would you feel if one of your more accessible solo piano pieces had an intro that someone used the exact same notes, melody, chords, rhythm..exact for almost four bars, but they add or change a couple little incidental notes...and the piece went on to make millions...

How would you feel if they were a member of this forum and you knew they probably heard your piece?

Would it be different from how you might feel if they were total strangers?

Just trying to generate some empathy for the plaintiff from you, regarding this case.

Mike
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 05:57 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
John and FD,

The whole argument of "but is it striking enough" shouldn't be the only criterion inmho. If it was, then you open the door to ANYONE being able to figure out the maximum amount of notes/bars/etc one can use that can be exact, and how many one can use if one "tweeks" one or two notes. And then "plundering" becomes part of one's compositional process.

Although I often encourage clients who can't sing their melody to point me to pieces of music to base parts of their songs on, I then tweek and pivot far enough away that there's very little resemblance, so I can understand "plundering" as part of the modern compositional process, for sure. But if it becomes okay to "almost duplicate exactly" ANY work for soloist for 3 or 4 bars, John, then we are truly in trouble. Broken chords are ALSO melodies, so THAT fact opens the door to ANY solo introduction being "nickable" --if one follows your train of thought to its ultimate conclusion.

This is why I believe, intention and opportunity, as well as "did anyone acknowledge" etc...should have much weight in these kinds of cases..

Mike



Beautifully stated.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 06:23 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
John, how would you feel if one of your more accessible solo piano pieces had an intro that someone used the exact same notes, melody, chords, rhythm..exact for almost four bars, but they add or change a couple little incidental notes...and the piece went on to make millions...

How would you feel if they were a member of this forum and you knew they probably heard your piece?

Would it be different from how you might feel if they were total strangers?

Just trying to generate some empathy for the plaintiff from you, regarding this case.

Mike


John

I want to add to the above, please don't say no one would do that cuz "my pieces are so dissonant, if they stole it would be obvious that they stole it from me because every bar of my music is fairly unique." --please avoid that. Notice I said, "one of your more accessible pieces" and that means something more common, and therefore bits and pieces used before, but not exactly how you put it together....

Then someone comes along and puts it together exactly the same way, save for an incidental note or two...and they make millions off it..

I am guessing you might be a little bitter?

Especially if you knew they listened to your stuff..

Mike
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 06:32 PM

I’d have to accept it Michael. As long as the music met the copyright criterion. "Went on to make millions" - Mike … yes, and that's the only reason for these frivolous lawsuits. No one cares until there's money in the equation.


John smile
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/13/19 06:50 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
I’d have to accept it Michael. As long as the music met the copyright criterion.


John smile


And if it did not or was as suspicious, as this case is?

Fact is, I thought that this was done and settled. The further fact that they are back in court means someone somewhere thought that there is something to it.

Do you think that the plaintiff should realize their frivolity, withdraw the suit and disappear?
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/14/19 04:17 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
I’d have to accept it Michael. As long as the music met the copyright criterion. "Went on to make millions" - Mike … yes, and that's the only reason for these frivolous lawsuits. No one cares until there's money in the equation.


John smile


Fair enough, John. But your reply told me that you would at least be curious enough to find out if indeed copyright laws were violated. If they were, I imagine you would proceed accordingly.

I also imagine that if the encroaching million-dollar-piece-of-music was considered "on the wire" but just barely NOT a violation, it might create a little rankle in your stoic demeanor? wink

And one reason to file a lawsuit, even if you were told you "just missed" a copyright violation is because the law is not written in cement but is simply a foundation from which unfolds a much footnoted history. IOW, judges can create precendence. Every generation brings with it new technologies and so old laws can need updating.

I imagine a majority of these cases start out with a feeling of betrayal. We hung out together and played music. You heard that song I wrote. Suddenly a part of it is on your album which went platinum. That can create animosity and unless you learn how to "let go" it can become something to obsess over. The fact that the artist who lifted your work made millions is just grease on the fire. Why should they be getting that money? It's my work, and they never even acknowledged that.,,such is the train of thought of a Randy California, I imagine, and I can empathize. I don't think I could rule for the plaintiff, though, unless I heard a believable narrative from Spirit as to why only now, is this an issue. It's not like they lived on another planet and only heard Stairway To Heaven once arriving on earth.

I DO think that if Page had owned what he did early on, we wouldn't be here. As I said, these things start with a feeling of betrayal or of feeling violated. There are stand-up comics who lift each others stuff, often just changing names and incidentals but leaving the mechanics intact.. But the real "stand-up" stand-ups ask first. Letterman relates a story how he was bombing night after night in Denver in the late Seventies..and so after a few nights he called his buddy comedian George Miller and said, "George, I'm stealing your act.."

I have completely different views, btw, when it comes to actual audio samples and sampling, as it's an art (which some do not acknowledge as such) and has a history not just of hip-hop/rap usage, but of pop collage artists like Beck, Momus, and others..but that's another train of thought for a different thread..

A link to the news story:

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture...tairway-heaven-copyright-lawsuit-n914831

Mike
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/14/19 04:20 PM

Sounds about right Mike.

Best, John smile
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/18/19 11:58 AM

Wow. How many times does a case have to be tried and dismissed to make it actually go away? This is an example of "sue and sue and sue again, no matter how many times you are defeated until you get the result you want.

This case was overturned before when it was demonstrated that the guy who wrote the Tarus song, stole the melody from a song ten years before him, and then that was taken from a melody from the 1500's. It is a long standing progression and another nonsense case.

My favorite statement from the trial was when Page said something to the effect as 'I don't remember the SIXTIES. If you think I remember some obscure riff, your daft." Half of what Zepplin did were melodies and riffs from old blues songs, and of course there is NEVER a BLUES SONG that sounds like another BLUES SONG. And if you think a major headliner is going to go and even LISTEN to an opening act, especially when you have babes, drugs and every kind of distraction in your dressing room you apparently have NEVER been around a major rock tour, especially in that era. Read "WHEN GOD'S WALKED THE EARTH" by Mick Wall.

Another example of the "Sue Somebody" mentality of today's lawsuit lottery. Those that can't do, sue. Nonsense no matter how many times it's done. But another real world example of why money for music will someday simply be gone.

MAB
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/18/19 01:59 PM

Agree with you 100% Marc.

John smile
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/19/19 07:07 AM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Wow. How many times does a case have to be tried and dismissed to make it actually go away? This is an example of "sue and sue and sue again, no matter how many times you are defeated until you get the result you want.

This case was overturned before when it was demonstrated that the guy who wrote the Tarus song, stole the melody from a song ten years before him, and then that was taken from a melody from the 1500's. It is a long standing progression and another nonsense case.

My favorite statement from the trial was when Page said something to the effect as 'I don't remember the SIXTIES. If you think I remember some obscure riff, your daft." Half of what Zepplin did were melodies and riffs from old blues songs, and of course there is NEVER a BLUES SONG that sounds like another BLUES SONG. And if you think a major headliner is going to go and even LISTEN to an opening act, especially when you have babes, drugs and every kind of distraction in your dressing room you apparently have NEVER been around a major rock tour, especially in that era. Read "WHEN GOD'S WALKED THE EARTH" by Mick Wall.

Another example of the "Sue Somebody" mentality of today's lawsuit lottery. Those that can't do, sue. Nonsense no matter how many times it's done. But another real world example of why money for music will someday simply be gone.

MAB


I actually think the opposite of what you're saying here, not on this specific case, but in general. If you're a drugged out dude partying and albums are due, you're not at your best remotely. So stuff pops into your head and you likely don't know WHY it does, but you go, okay this works let's use it. He might not have INTENTIONALLY stolen it, but it isn't unlikely that he picked it up while it was playing some night and it stuck in his head. I can't imagine you've never once started working on your own song, gotten most of the way done, listened back and realized you've simply played the melody of an existing song. I know I did that several times over the years. What I would usually do in those cases was to keep the lyrics but write a new melody often basing it off my own orchestration ideas and I would make the adjustments and laugh about it. I remember being really excited one time to play a song I had written for a band I was in and I played it and they all said "that was great when Depeche Mode did it" and sure enough it was the same melody and there was even a similar lyric idea. It wasn't intentional in the least, and we had a laugh and moved on. With all the writing you've done I would be shocked if you never once had that happen to you. Melodies or lyric ideas often just pop into your head and often you have no idea where they came from. It is similar to when McCartney wrote Yesterday but was CONVINCED he had plagiarized someone else but his bandmates insisted no, it was amazing and original. In that case he thought that it was so well crafted it must have come from elsewhere. Ideas come like that. Now and then it was clearly from another source, unintentionally. Additionally, most melodies have been written before. Patterns that work, work. With the number of songs crafted worldwide, it is rare to come up with something new. And with all the music we are exposed to, especially songwriters, picking up inspirations from what pops into your head is quite common. It isn't an elitist thing either. Just because someone is an opening act doesn't make them scum of the earth devoid of talent compared to the great Jimmy Page. He's notorious for lifting ideas from other sources by his own admission. Why not the "opening act?"

Brian
Posted By: Cheyenne

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/19/19 10:41 AM

Marc you state the quote " Those That Cant Do Sue"


Well sorry to disagree but Beatle George Harrison was sued for copying melodies

of two songs And George could definitely write hit songs re "Something " and

"My Guitar Gently Weeps" to mention just two However his song "' My Sweet Lord "-

was definitely the melody written for " He's So Fine " a massive hit for THE CHIFFONS

and George was successfully sued by the Copyright owners of "He's So Fine "


The same thing happened with the melody of another earlier song, I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing

written by writers David and Jonathan , it was a close copy of "' There's a Blue Ring 'round My Heart Virginia '

written way back in the 1930s ------ So in fact many well known Song Writers have had their songs Plagiarized


Of course other cases have been unsuccessful, bought about by claimants who were basically tone deaf

and their complaints were thrown out of court , so to speak ------David and Jonathin have a catalog of Hit Songs

and so has George Harrison so "Those who cant do" does not apply to them

Posted By: Cheyenne

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/19/19 10:54 AM

CHORD PROGRESSIONS CAN NOT BE Copyrighted I thought everyone

was aware of that ???? And many of those old blues songs are out of copyright and

in fact in Public Ownership many of those songs were never even registered i

the first place ;

Uk Singer Lonnie Donnegan had Mega Hits buy updating old songs that were and

are classed as Traditional (In Public Ownership ) and he would have collected the full

royalties on those songs, as if he had been the original writer
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/19/19 11:19 AM

Originally Posted by Marc Barnette

My favorite statement from the trial was when Page said something to the effect as 'I don't remember the SIXTIES. If you think I remember some obscure riff, your daft."

MAB


If I was Page's attorney, I would not have been happy when he said that. It opens the door to an assessment of him as living in a drug addled stupor incapable of legal considerations. "You're daft" adds an arrogant and entitled dimension to Page.

"Obscure rift?"

Here is how I think that it happened...

Page toured with Spirit and was possibly stoned every night. The opening bars (riff) was an ear bug that got in his head. He started messing with it and following where it took him. Being a very talented songwriter, it took him through several movements which include, what I think, is the most emotionally concise and expressive guitar solo in rock music. When he finished it up he decided that a few bars at the beginning of a long song did not merit acknowledgement.

Possibly he did not think about that at all. Stoned rock gods who tear up hotel rooms and are rumored to keep underage girls locked away in their house do whatever they want...after all.

And all these years later someone is trying to decide if a few bars does merit an acknowledgement. It's interesting to me.

ps...Which melody from the 1500's? (did Page's attorney dig up?)
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 06/19/19 12:34 PM

Never mind. I think that I found it....

https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/did-this-17th-century-work-influence-stairway-to-heaven

Ps...the 17th century is the 1600's. wink

An excerpt...

"Page, for his part, has testified that he never heard “Taurus” until a few years before the trial. Witnesses for the plaintiff did not tell the court they ever saw Page, who composed the music for “Stairway,” at a Spirit concert where the song was performed. Though Page’s extensive record collection includes a copy of Spirit’s 1968 debut album, which contains “Taurus,” the guitarist claims he has never played it, and it’s unknown if the album was in his collection at the time that he wrote “Stairway to Heaven” in 1971."


"That's my story and I'm sticking to it." wink
Posted By: Pat Hardy

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 07/10/19 10:38 PM

I would and I've heard the so-called "original", and it is just an arpeggio with a descending bass line over a minor chord. Well, the harmonic idea has been around since classical music, but Led Zep's take on it is original. I reject the claim that it was stolen. Therefore, I would vote in favor of Led Zep, for sure.
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 01:35 PM

"Stairway" case will apparently be decided by an appeals court in September...

Wall Street Journal

https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-wr...y-braces-for-copyright-suits-11564934400
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 04:14 PM

If there is closer scrutiny on Led Zep than on others in regards copyright violation, I believe it's rather humble to suggest that they have brought this upon themselves:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/led-zeppelins-10-boldest-rip-offs-223419/

It seems that they have garnered a bad reputation over the years..

Mike


Posted By: Mark Kaufman

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 05:02 PM

There was a time when I thought musical copyright only applied to lyrics and melody. But looking at a lot of the cases tried, it's clearly about more than that. The Katy Perry lawsuit over her song "Dark Horse" was lost because of the synth riff...which I guess is melodic...but it seems odd to me that you can't do that, but you CAN write unlimited blues songs with the exact same structure and similar melodies.

Than there's Led Zeppelin. This isn't the first time they've been accused of lifting other people's stuff...I don't think an album went by without them re-writing and rocking up a blues classic with basically the same lyrics and claiming it as their own, entirely. Here's a good list: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/led-zeppelins-10-boldest-rip-offs-223419/

I don't know where the line should be drawn, but Zeppelin definitely liked to push the boundaries further than any other band I can recall.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 07:01 PM

Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
There was a time when I thought musical copyright only applied to lyrics and melody. But looking at a lot of the cases tried, it's clearly about more than that. The Katy Perry lawsuit over her song "Dark Horse" was lost because of the synth riff...which I guess is melodic...but it seems odd to me that you can't do that, but you CAN write unlimited blues songs with the exact same structure and similar melodies.

Than there's Led Zeppelin. This isn't the first time they've been accused of lifting other people's stuff...I don't think an album went by without them re-writing and rocking up a blues classic with basically the same lyrics and claiming it as their own, entirely. Here's a good list: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/led-zeppelins-10-boldest-rip-offs-223419/

I don't know where the line should be drawn, but Zeppelin definitely liked to push the boundaries further than any other band I can recall.


I guess a riff is considered a melody. If you take most of the classic riffs of all time.... Smoke on the Water, Back In Black, Brown Sugar, etc, youd be sued instantly if you took it note for note, or even close. But if you took "In the Still Of the Night" there are so many songs that sound exactly like it.

I think true original music is rare, but I think without copyright protection, why create anything?

There's way more to songs than melody and lyric. if you remove The Beatles voices and performances and arrangements, and had somebody else do them, they will not come close to being as great. It will sound good probably and be enjoyed by many, but wont be as iconic.

Creativity is in all parts of music, why cant Stewart Copeland copyright his drum beats? He has some amazing beats. Why cant some vocal groups copyright their harmony structure. Why cant somebody copyright a guitar sound they formulated and made popular? I could find the sounds on Guitar Rig to any classic tune and use it, why arent the creators of such things protected. Even a production technique, why cant wall of sound be protected, if a melody can.

its all creativity, from the notes you use to support a melody to the sounds you use, to the style.

HOW COME!
Posted By: Mark Kaufman

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 07:58 PM

Originally Posted by Fdemetrio

HOW COME!


I know, right? bite
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 08:31 PM

Originally Posted by Fdemetrio


I think true original music is rare, but I think without copyright protection, why create anything?



This is a question only modern (Westernized) people could ask.

Creativity in and of itself is part of what it means to be human. Certainly it's at the top of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs and is only a concern after food, shelter, etc. have been met.*

http://austinhillshaw.com/creativit...-leap-from-lack-to-creative-fulfillment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


But still, in this our modern age, without SOME outlet for creativity, suicide rates would more than likely skyrocket, with a "loss of (life's) meaning" at the center and the recurring pattern in the suicides.

And in non-Western cultures, music is less ego driven and more driven by community and spirituality.

But in ours and European societies, and all cultures transformed by The Internet and social media (most of them at this point!), we have "designated receptacles" for our creativity like music, art, literature, and moving visuals, that can be copyrighted but also have "natural" protection from theft. Meaning that if you can prove you wrote the damn thing, that will probably be good enough in a court of law.

Before the modern age, In the world of rural musics, folk, blues, etc..the practice of sharing was commonplace. Rural society at least seemed less ego driven and more about standing on the shoulders of elders and building something, watching something grow and participating in that growth..

Back to Led Zep..

They took advantage of people who were making music at the tail end of this less ego-driven way of doing things, like bluesmen Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Sonnyboy Williamson, and folkies like Bert Jansch and Joan Baez.

And as Brian pointed out earlier, the whole process of theft can evolve organically and innocently enough, simply by getting together with bandmates and jamming. "What'll we play" "I dunno..I learned this cool new Howlin Wolf lick.." (begins to play lick..exciting the singer to recall another bluesman's words)..and then...MAGIC HAPPENS....and then attempts are made to transform the words and music into something else..but no magic...so....

--I am not excusing this practice, but it's the basic foundation of how many bands create, when they get together without an agenda..

As a composer, my main love, currently, is the act of transforming existing "works" or pieces of audio into completely different things that are only remotely connected. I say this just so you understand that I am not theoretically opposed to the act of creating derivative works from existing works. I think it's basically what we are all doing anyway, in varying degrees. smile


Mike

Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 08:49 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio


I think true original music is rare, but I think without copyright protection, why create anything?



This is a question only modern (Westernized) people could ask.

Creativity in and of itself is part of what it means to be human. Certainly it's at the top of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs and is only a concern after food, shelter, etc. have been met.*

http://austinhillshaw.com/creativit...-leap-from-lack-to-creative-fulfillment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


But still, in this our modern age, without SOME outlet for creativity, suicide rates would more than likely skyrocket, with a "loss of (life's meaning" at the center and the recurring pattern in the suicides.

And in non-Western cultures, music is less ego driven and more driven by community and spirituality.

But in ours and European societies, and all cultures transformed by The Internet and social media, we have "designated receptacles" for our creativity like music, art, literature, and moving visuals, that can be copyrighted but also have "natural" protection from theft. Meaning that if you can prove you wrote the damn thing, that will probably be good enough in a court of law.

Before the modern age, In the world of rural musics, folk, blues, etc..the practice of sharing was commonplace. Rural society at least seemed less ego driven and more about standing on the shoulders of elders and building something, watching something grow and participating in that growth..

Back to Led Zep..

The irony is..

They took advantage of people who were making music at the tail end of this less ego-driven way of doing things, like bluesmen Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Sonnyboy Williamson, and folkies like Bert Jansch and Joan Baez.

And as Brian pointed out earlier, the whole process of theft can evolve organically and innocently enough, simply by getting together with bandmates and jamming. "What'll we play" "I dunno..I learned this cool new Howlin Wolf lick.." (begins to play lick..exciting the singer to recall another bluesman's words)..and then...MAGIC HAPPENS....and then attempts are made to transform the words and music into something else..but no magic...so....

--I am not excusing this practice, but it's the basic foundation of how bands create, when they get together without an agenda..


Mike



I have always maintained that music stemmed from a basic human need. And that it was never supposed to be a business. So your right in saying its a question only asked by modern people cerca 1500 and there on. SLowly when Classical music came about it became more of a business.

Anways, im not defending Led Zep, ive had many many arguments that I always seem to lose with my Led Zepplin friends. The debate of which was the better band The WHO or ZEP, i always seemed to lose, but couldnt understand why. Best rock drummer, Moon, Best rock bassist ever, Entwhistle, Best front man ever Daltry, next to Jaggar, and one of the best howls in rock, and one of the greatest songwriters in rock history in Pete, the songs were songs not just riffs.

And no copyright infringements! The Who still blow my mind more than Zep ever could, but I do love zep as well.

But Zep followed the blues tradition, you become unique by the way you interpret whats already there. SO maybe they felt they were entitled to borrow, and or steal.

They didnt have to do all that, some of their ballad and folk stuff was strong enough so as to never be accused of stealing.

But I will say that Jimmy Page might be the greatest riff writer of all time. Its hard to find another, possibly Keith RIchards but not quite as extensive
Posted By: Ray E. Strode

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 08:56 PM

Humm,
Copyright started in England I think. Statute of Anne was written so Creators of Literature could profit some for their creations. All copyright has a life and then goes into Public Domain. You can Google Statute of Anne to read all about it.
U.S Copyright Pre-dates the U.S. Constitution.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 09:10 PM

Put differently, profiting off another's creativity is a modern problem mostly due to the fact that in most societies, distance and space are no longer factors in the distribution of works of music, art, etc. If a Martian came down and proved he was real and said, "just dropping off this music and art we've produced over the centuries, see ya!"...no one would even imagine there was copyrights on such works--not even a "natural" one.. That doesn't make it morally and ethically exceptable to claim the work as one's own, though legally there would be no problem, other than who gets to plunder the Martian art first. Sounds like a satirical sci-fi comedy ripe for the making, cuz of course, they're coming back and they want attribution. Attribution or instant liquidation, and "we're not talking assets!"

And yes, perhaps Led Zep felt some entitlement..

And one could delve endlessly into the implications of Cultural imperialism in all its forms and come to no solid conclusions, but I still believe that it's morally wrong to steal from ANY person or culture--yet I believe that to create a work that is derivative is okay, and that except for the most experimental of works, most works are in fact derivative of what has come before in some degree..in varying degrees..

It's a big, messy world..

Mike
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/05/19 09:17 PM

Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio


I think true original music is rare, but I think without copyright protection, why create anything?



This is a question only modern (Westernized) people could ask.

Creativity in and of itself is part of what it means to be human. Certainly it's at the top of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs and is only a concern after food, shelter, etc. have been met.*

http://austinhillshaw.com/creativit...-leap-from-lack-to-creative-fulfillment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


But still, in this our modern age, without SOME outlet for creativity, suicide rates would more than likely skyrocket, with a "loss of (life's meaning" at the center and the recurring pattern in the suicides.

And in non-Western cultures, music is less ego driven and more driven by community and spirituality.

But in ours and European societies, and all cultures transformed by The Internet and social media, we have "designated receptacles" for our creativity like music, art, literature, and moving visuals, that can be copyrighted but also have "natural" protection from theft. Meaning that if you can prove you wrote the damn thing, that will probably be good enough in a court of law.

Before the modern age, In the world of rural musics, folk, blues, etc..the practice of sharing was commonplace. Rural society at least seemed less ego driven and more about standing on the shoulders of elders and building something, watching something grow and participating in that growth..

Back to Led Zep..

The irony is..

They took advantage of people who were making music at the tail end of this less ego-driven way of doing things, like bluesmen Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Sonnyboy Williamson, and folkies like Bert Jansch and Joan Baez.

And as Brian pointed out earlier, the whole process of theft can evolve organically and innocently enough, simply by getting together with bandmates and jamming. "What'll we play" "I dunno..I learned this cool new Howlin Wolf lick.." (begins to play lick..exciting the singer to recall another bluesman's words)..and then...MAGIC HAPPENS....and then attempts are made to transform the words and music into something else..but no magic...so....

--I am not excusing this practice, but it's the basic foundation of how bands create, when they get together without an agenda..


Mike



I have always maintained that music stemmed from a basic human need. And that it was never supposed to be a business. So your right in saying its a question only asked by modern people cerca 1500 and there on. SLowly when Classical music came about it became more of a business.

Anways, im not defending Led Zep, ive had many many arguments that I always seem to lose with my Led Zepplin friends. The debate of which was the better band The WHO or ZEP, i always seemed to lose, but couldnt understand why. Best rock drummer, Moon, Best rock bassist ever, Entwhistle, Best front man ever Daltry, next to Jaggar, and one of the best howls in rock, and one of the greatest songwriters in rock history in Pete, the songs were songs not just riffs.

And no copyright infringements! The Who still blow my mind more than Zep ever could, but I do love zep as well.

But Zep followed the blues tradition, you become unique by the way you interpret whats already there. SO maybe they felt they were entitled to borrow, and or steal.

They didnt have to do all that, some of their ballad and folk stuff was strong enough so as to never be accused of stealing.
grin laugh laugh grin
But I will say that Jimmy Page might be the greatest riff writer of all time. Its hard to find another, possibly Keith RIchards but not quite as extensive





100%

Circa 1500 Gutenberg's printing press..I knew sooner or later reading Marshall McLuhan would pay off laugh
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 12:30 AM

I think it comes down to how immediately recognizable some aspect of a piece of music is.

If someone hears a song and they say..."that reminds me of...." ....Probably not a big deal.
if someone hears a song and thinks that it is another song and then finds out that it is not, I think that draws a clearer line on theft.

And then other things come into play...the Marvin Gaye copyright holders may have never had a case if Robin Thicke had not remarked about the lift.

I personally think that part of it is that the theft has been so blatant and "in your face" by the big dawgs in the music industry fr so long, that the worm finally had enough and turned.

Disclaimer...all of the above is the opinion of a hobbyist who knows nothing about copyright law.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 01:15 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Fdemetrio


I think true original music is rare, but I think without copyright protection, why create anything?



This is a question only modern (Westernized) people could ask.

Creativity in and of itself is part of what it means to be human. Certainly it's at the top of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs and is only a concern after food, shelter, etc. have been met.*

http://austinhillshaw.com/creativit...-leap-from-lack-to-creative-fulfillment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


But still, in this our modern age, without SOME outlet for creativity, suicide rates would more than likely skyrocket, with a "loss of (life's meaning" at the center and the recurring pattern in the suicides.

And in non-Western cultures, music is less ego driven and more driven by community and spirituality.

But in ours and European societies, and all cultures transformed by The Internet and social media, we have "designated receptacles" for our creativity like music, art, literature, and moving visuals, that can be copyrighted but also have "natural" protection from theft. Meaning that if you can prove you wrote the damn thing, that will probably be good enough in a court of law.

Before the modern age, In the world of rural musics, folk, blues, etc..the practice of sharing was commonplace. Rural society at least seemed less ego driven and more about standing on the shoulders of elders and building something, watching something grow and participating in that growth..

Back to Led Zep..

The irony is..

They took advantage of people who were making music at the tail end of this less ego-driven way of doing things, like bluesmen Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Sonnyboy Williamson, and folkies like Bert Jansch and Joan Baez.

And as Brian pointed out earlier, the whole process of theft can evolve organically and innocently enough, simply by getting together with bandmates and jamming. "What'll we play" "I dunno..I learned this cool new Howlin Wolf lick.." (begins to play lick..exciting the singer to recall another bluesman's words)..and then...MAGIC HAPPENS....and then attempts are made to transform the words and music into something else..but no magic...so....

--I am not excusing this practice, but it's the basic foundation of how bands create, when they get together without an agenda..


Mike



I have always maintained that music stemmed from a basic human need. And that it was never supposed to be a business. So your right in saying its a question only asked by modern people cerca 1500 and there on. SLowly when Classical music came about it became more of a business.

Anways, im not defending Led Zep, ive had many many arguments that I always seem to lose with my Led Zepplin friends. The debate of which was the better band The WHO or ZEP, i always seemed to lose, but couldnt understand why. Best rock drummer, Moon, Best rock bassist ever, Entwhistle, Best front man ever Daltry, next to Jaggar, and one of the best howls in rock, and one of the greatest songwriters in rock history in Pete, the songs were songs not just riffs.

And no copyright infringements! The Who still blow my mind more than Zep ever could, but I do love zep as well.

But Zep followed the blues tradition, you become unique by the way you interpret whats already there. SO maybe they felt they were entitled to borrow, and or steal.

They didnt have to do all that, some of their ballad and folk stuff was strong enough so as to never be accused of stealing.
grin laugh laugh grin
But I will say that Jimmy Page might be the greatest riff writer of all time. Its hard to find another, possibly Keith RIchards but not quite as extensive





100%

Circa 1500 Gutenberg's printing press..I knew sooner or later reading Marshall McLuhan would pay off laugh


I read that too. I think the first paid concert ever was in the 1600's at some classical composers house. He got the idea to start charging.

But im sure live music had been played in public for probably thousands of years, like the ancient Romans must have had some live venues, after all, they had live executions for public delight, they actually had full bills, execution in the morning, gladiator fights later in the afternoon, but im not sure how they would have played such a big place without amplication
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 01:23 PM

Originally Posted by Martin Lide
I think it comes down to how immediately recognizable some aspect of a piece of music is.

If someone hears a song and they say..."that reminds me of...." ....Probably not a big deal.
if someone hears a song and thinks that it is a another song and then finds out that it is not, I think that draws a clearer line on theft.

And then other things come into play...the Marvin Gaye copyright holders may have never had a case if Robin Thicke had not remarked about the lift.

I personally think that part of it is that the theft has been so blatant and "in your face" by the big dawgs in the music industry fr so long, that the worm finally had enough and turned.

Disclaimer...all of the above is the opinion of a hobbyist who knows nothing about copyright law.


Yeah, the only thing considered unique is a particular phrasing of melody. Hard to believe that 5 notes in a particular pattern can garner so much protection.

For me it seems odd that somebody can blatantly steal a Charlie Watts beat, and people will say "ohh cool he's playing a Charlie Watts beat" but steal Jaggar's melody, and theyll say "wait a minute, he's stealing Jaggars melody"

Or even greater "oh cool he's using a Pete Townshend acoustic rhythm on guitar" no problem, but "wait he's singing the same five notes as Daltry"

it seems odd. I guess the response would be that melody has unlimited combinations whereas a drummer would run out of possibilites.

Then again, there are so many melodys in the world, that finding 5 unique notes for a chorus, it probably impossible.

it comes down to popularity really. They use to say the only way to protect your song is to have a hit with it. you wont win any case against somebody with the copyright from congress. If its a popular song then you have alot of protection cause you can use the argument that it was heard.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 04:53 PM

This conversation is leading towards an area I find interesting which is..should we as composers consider changing the basic structure of how we approach writing a song? (for fear of a lawsuit)

Short answer? No way..

As FD points out it, takes a "hit" to create litigation..

Long answer, "no" with an asterisk...

Like most folks, when I write a song I'm using "the God model" (I like to call it) which is simply the old fashioned way of presumably "writing from the void" --starting tabula rasa and then using our inner editor to tell us when we're encroaching on another's song.

But sometimes I'll start with an existing work, melody, chord progression, and then deviate from it 'til it's unrecognizable as that existing work, which I think is a totally okay practice at this point in time, in the world we live in. Whatever works, yanno..And with non-commercial projects and instrumental work? I am at this point mostly deviating from known works. But DO understand..the processes I use create something FAR, far, removed from the original--and this to me, at this point in my life, is where the fun is. and so I can thoroughly understand and empathize with a Led Zep who worked this way..only I DON'T empathize with how they forgot to deviate enough from the original, or give proper attribution when they didn't!

My mom loved shopping at second hand stores, and I think my love for finding a re-purposing for old, forgotten things (which is mostly the material I'm deviating from) is not so different from her passion..so I think I am partly 'where I'm at' as an homage to her. smile

Consider writing the innocent way, the God model way..I think this works best if we don't listen to a lot of music, cuz we don't want our inner editors hitting a buzzer every time we encroach a little on another's work. I think this would be very inhibiting if you know a lot a music!

Writing from a known source and then deviating is perhaps the best way for someone who knows a lot of music. Consider that "all known melodies" create, to steal a John Luis Borges story title, a "Garden of Forking Paths" with which we must navigate to find a path less traveled..

"Blasphemy!" --some will say.."this is not composing! You are turning the act of creation into an act of circumnavigation!"

--to which my response would be, "but hasn't our modern litigious society in a world full of countless songs more or less forced this upon us?"

And why should "writing from the void" be the only way? I think it is NO LESS creative to start with the known and deviate, ESPECIALLY if you have a head full of other people's music. It's a more honest approach, for those of us who do..and sorry, I'm a broken record here, most works are in fact derivative of what has come before in some degree..in varying degrees..

Mike

Posted By: Mark Kaufman

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 09:24 PM

My goal as a creator is to do something that no one else did. It's a low bar when you think about it, but sometimes a high one too, and also my life goal, just to have done or affected something that would not have happened unless I did it. I find that deeply gratifying, and dead serious, because life and death is real. And so whatever art I attempt is in keen awareness of that reality, of this temporary writing room.

That said, anything we do is something no one else could have done, at least not the same way. So when one band plays another bands song, it rocks anew—it's unique. Plagiarism is a legal thing, but covering, stealing, freely adapting, mangling, reinterpreting, massacring, is all just more art and unique performance to me. Legally I think Zeppelin are pretty much always guilty in any lawsuit...they were just so blatantly lazy about rewriting well-known lyrics even slightly to make them new, and then wondered why it wasn't taken as a tribute when they called them originals, not covers. But artistically, I'll be happily listening to their entire catalog for the rest of my life. They effen rock.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 09:51 PM

Dazed and Confused was my favorite Led Zep track. Then I heard the Jake Holmes original. I am glad he finally sued and they settled out of court. Holmes would no doubt have won, had it gone to trial. Like with Spirit, he opened for them at one point and they heard the song. So there appears to be a pattern, here. Of course, a jury probably cannot have any other songs or cases brought into evidence, and the jury will be selected based on how little they know about the band.

Yes, like you my goals are to create something fresh, and I think there are countless paths that lead to that.

I don't like Led Zep when they are poppy like with D'yer M'aker and "All My Love" --I find them too thin sounding and Bonham is way over the top..give me their bluesier stuff. There's still nothing quite like "Whole Lotta Love" or like Black Dog and it's odd-metered, lead guitar turnarounds!



Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 09:53 PM

I think of composing more like arranging. We’re merely trying to rearrange the elements of music into something new. That said, I dig deep into my musical soul to find meaning beyond the elements. If I had to consider originality, I wouldn’t get past the first measure. My influences like Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Gershwin, Mozart, and on and on… is deeply rooted in who I am as a composer, oh, arranger. So yeah… Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

John smile
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 10:16 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
I think of composing more like arranging. We’re merely trying to rearrange the elements of music into something new. That said, I dig deep into my musical soul to find meaning beyond the elements. If I had to consider originality, I wouldn’t get past the first measure. My influences like Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Gershwin, Mozart, and on and on… is deeply rooted in who I am as a composer, oh, arranger. So yeah… Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

John smile


You prefer to put one note after another, more like the "God model."

Lately, when I'm in "experimental music" mode, I find I'm preferring to have software create a bunch of musical elements, and then sculpt away at that, 'til what I'm left with is a little nugget with which I can then use one of countless compositional techniques (expand, invert, retrograde, etc.) to vary. I am relying far less on "hearing it in my head" as the only way towards authenticity and originality. I find that if I have created fifty possibilities, I can quickly choose the one I "resonate" most with..

I still like to write one note after another, like you, maybe already having a chord progression..but I am also keenly following the advances in modern compositional software and at least mess around with it, when demos are available, and see if it's of any use to me.

Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 10:36 PM

You prefer to put one note after another, more like the "God model. - Mike

More like one phrase after another Mike. The instrumental composer has more possibilities than the songwriter. I use dissonance freely and extraneous modulations. A simple jump to an unrelated chord can open up a new sector of possibilities.

John smile
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 11:05 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
You prefer to put one note after another, more like the "God model. - Mike

More like one phrase after another Mike. The instrumental composer has more possibilities than the songwriter. I use dissonance freely and extraneous modulations. A simple jump to an unrelated chord can open up a new sector of possibilities.

John smile


Aaah...that makes sense when I think upon your ouvre! You do like modulations to unrelated keys, or keys with just a note or two in common! So your basic building block is the phrase? And the cluster of notes that belongs within the scale or chord that is working within that phrase. Very interesting.

Bu the way, I write a lot of instrumental music myself, but much is experimental, jazz, and modern classical, and though I have had far less overall success than you, I find it's a part of who I am that I can't let go of this practice. I have maybe fifty/sixty things up at Audioaparx but stopped submitting a few years back when I started doing demo work, but still receive a little check Paypal payment a couple times a year, I think it is. But I never stopped writing and finishing pieces, so my plan is to start uploading the more recent stuff. The self PR (writing blurbies) and creating submixes is SO damn time consuming, for me, though.

I have a whole series of pieces that like you, freely modulate at the scale and mode level.I find that as long as some musical element remains constant, scales/modes can practically be used serially.

Btw, saying "the damn thing" has become part of my everyday speaking/writing patterns. I attribute this to you, and feel like I must owe you some back royalties on that!

Mike
Posted By: Gavin Sinclair

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 11:43 PM

Like John, I employ dissonance quite extensively, though never intentionally LOL.

For years now, I have had a certain melody swirling around in my brain, which I really love (the melody, not my brain) l. I haven't put a lyric to it or recorded it partly because I have not yet come up with the lyric that would do it justice, but also partly because I feel like I must have heard it before. I must be stealing it from someone. I keep thinking that one day I will hear it again and say, "Of course, that's where it came from!" but I never do. It seems like all I can do is finally put words to it, record it, put it out there and wait for someone to say, "Hey, I know that tune, its...." Or maybe nobody will - maybe I really am just that good smile
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 11:52 PM

Originally Posted by Gavin Sinclair
Like John, I employ dissonance quite extensively, though never intentionally LOL.

For years now, I have had a certain melody swirling around in my brain, which I really love (the melody, not my brain) l. I haven't put a lyric to it or recorded it partly because I have not yet come up with the lyric that would do it justice, but also partly because I feel like I must have heard it before. I must be stealing it from someone. I keep thinking that one day I will hear it again and say, "Of course, that's where it came from!" but I never do. It seems like all I can do is finally put words to it, record it, put it out there and wait for someone to say, "Hey, I know that tune, its...." Or maybe nobody will - maybe I really am just that good smile


What I have found is that sometimes a tune sounds like something that I never heard prior, until I record it. Then it begins too.
Sometimes, on very rare occasions.

I admit to nothing. wink
Posted By: John Lawrence Schick

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/06/19 11:57 PM

Btw, saying "the damn thing" has become part of my everyday speaking/writing patterns. I attribute this to you, and feel like I must owe you some back royalties on that! - Mike


Nah, it's in the public domain Mike. laugh

Most often, I have a good idea of my direction before starting to compose. First the genre, then a title, then a complete mental vision of what I want to accomplish. Doesn't always stay on track. I often rename my work when it doesn't live up to my mental vision. Sometimes I’ll just, without thinking, strike a two-hand chord (often a dissonant mush) and use that as a starting point – with no direction in mind. Or, I’ll compose something specific for a film listing or publisher’s request. Other times I’ll play a single note melody and add the harmony later. So, I use a hodge-podge of methods. Without fail, I compose 10-15 tracks every two weeks. It helps me keep “the eye of the tiger”. laugh
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/07/19 12:22 AM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
[
I use a hodge-podge of methods.


I use a plethora of compositional methods, myself. I find a hodge-podge rather dodgy. crazy
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/07/19 12:31 AM

Gavin, thanks for the nice laugh!

I can sympathize with you and Marty, cuz this too has happened with me, and I suspect with most of us at some point. Once I spent a week going through EVERY Elvis song, convinced I had ripped off about 6-8 bars..

Gavin, you should produce and post the song here. Pretty safe place to find out either way.

I think our subconscious' could just as easily be ripping off two or more things at once, but straddling the line so perfectly that it's undetectable to our conscious mind.

There's old compositional software made in Java (the computer language, not the Country) that came out fifteen years or so ago, that does exactly that. You can input two different songs, in midi format, and it will "spit out" the median between the two. The titles I used will tell you what songs I used for "Bridge Over Hotel California," "Born To Da Doo Ron Ron,"and "I Want Your Sex Machine" laugh
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/07/19 11:04 PM

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Dazed and Confused was my favorite Led Zep track. Then I heard the Jake Holmes original. I am glad he finally sued and they settled out of court. Holmes would no doubt have won, had it gone to trial. Like with Spirit, he opened for them at one point and they heard the song. So there appears to be a pattern, here. Of course, a jury probably cannot have any other songs or cases brought into evidence, and the jury will be selected based on how little they know about the band.

Yes, like you my goals are to create something fresh, and I think there are countless paths that lead to that.

I don't like Led Zep when they are poppy like with D'yer M'aker and "All My Love" --I find them too thin sounding and Bonham is way over the top..give me their bluesier stuff. There's still nothing quite like "Whole Lotta Love" or like Black Dog and it's odd-metered, lead guitar turnarounds!




To me the guitar solo in Whole lotta love is the most exciting guitar solo I have heard to date. Nothing on this planet that sounds anything like it, it's bluesy but nobody quite did it like that. Its hard not to make a face melting grimmace when hearing it.
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/07/19 11:06 PM

Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
I think of composing more like arranging. We’re merely trying to rearrange the elements of music into something new. That said, I dig deep into my musical soul to find meaning beyond the elements. If I had to consider originality, I wouldn’t get past the first measure. My influences like Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Gershwin, Mozart, and on and on… is deeply rooted in who I am as a composer, oh, arranger. So yeah… Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

John smile


I think arranging is a big part of composing. The melody gets all the credit, but take the greatest melody of all time and change the chord progression, there goes your great melody.

When people send off their lyric and melody to a demo maker, you have to wonder whose song it is once the demo maker gets done with it.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Stairway Lawsuit - 08/08/19 05:54 PM

Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
I think of composing more like arranging. We’re merely trying to rearrange the elements of music into something new. That said, I dig deep into my musical soul to find meaning beyond the elements. If I had to consider originality, I wouldn’t get past the first measure. My influences like Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Gershwin, Mozart, and on and on… is deeply rooted in who I am as a composer, oh, arranger. So yeah… Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

John smile


I think arranging is a big part of composing. The melody gets all the credit, but take the greatest melody of all time and change the chord progression, there goes your great melody.

When people send off their lyric and melody to a demo maker, you have to wonder whose song it is once the demo maker gets done with it.


I think what John means by "arranging" is taking the (standard) ideas about arranging for instruments and apply those same ideas to the more detailed musical elements like the notes. Perhaps "rearranging" fits better for what John is intending to mean, or less confusing. John likes to find a handful of notes and "rearrange" them as one of his "go to" tools in the hodge-podge of tools in his toolbox. wink
© 2019 Just Plain Folks Music Organization Message Boards