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‘Stairway’ Verdict May Rein in Lawsuits Claiming Song Ripoffs

  • Led Zeppelin’s win shows copyright cases aren’t easy to prove
  • Plant, Page won’t have to share song credit, pay royalties
Jimmy Page, right, and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, 1972.

Jimmy Page, right, and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, 1972.

Photographer: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns via Getty Images
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Led Zeppelin’s victory over allegations the band stole the opening chords of “Stairway to Heaven” may reverse the swell in copyright infringement lawsuits over pop songs that followed last year’s “Blurred Lines” verdict.

"‘Blurred Lines’ left everything wide open,” William Hochberg, an intellectual property lawyer with Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview. “This sends the right message that you need to be cautious and it’s not going be a dance through the rose garden.”