Month: June 2016

Led Zeppelin Attorneys Ask Judge To Dismiss Case

Led Zeppelin’s lawyers asked a judge Monday to throw out a case accusing the band’s songwriters of ripping off a riff for “Stairway to Heaven.”

The estate of Randy Wolfe, founder of the band Spirit, failed to prove it owned the copyright to his 1968 song “Taurus” or that it was substantially similar to “Stairway,” attorney Peter Anderson said.

“Plaintiff rested and failed to carry his burden of proof on multiple issues,” Anderson wrote in a motion to dismiss.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner is expected hear arguments on the motion when the trial resumes Tuesday morning.

Wolfe’s estate claims that guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant incorporated a unique musical phrase from “Taurus” in the introduction to their 1971 rock epic.

Anderson said attorney Francis Malofiy had failed to show that members of Led Zeppelin were familiar with the song and experts had not presented a convincing case that the tunes were similar enough to amount to copyright infringement.

Musical experts for the Wolfe estate said there were many similarities between the obscure instrumental “Taurus” and “Stairway,” but a defense expert testified Friday that the main similarity was a common descending chord sequence used as a musical building block for 300 years.

Anderson also said the plaintiff failed to show actual damages from any infringement or present evidence of revenues from “Stairway.”

An economist testified that Led Zeppelin works that include “Stairway” earned nearly $60 million in revenues in the past five years, but that included other works, as well, and didn’t include manufacturing costs or other expenses that could be deducted.

Anderson asked Klausner to make the judgment before the case goes to the jury. The motion is fairly typical after the plaintiff rests in a case.

Messages left for Malofiy were not immediately returned.

Article by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press.

Tennessee Court of Appeals on Attorney’s Fees in Domestic Criminal Contempt Matters

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently ruled on awarding attorney’s fees in Domestic Criminal Contempt Matters.  The Opinion stated that the award of attorney’s fees in pursuit of a Criminal Contempt Petition are not provided for in Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-9-103(b) and expressly limits the punishment a court may award, therefore, it does not warrant an award of those fees.

Read the full Tennessee Court of Appeals Opinion at:

Doctor Assisted Suicide in California

Physician-assisted suicide is about to become legal in the nation’s largest state.

The California End of Life Option Act takes effect on Thursday. The law allows terminally ill adults in California with less than six months to live to get a doctor’s prescription for a lethal dose of “aid-in-dying” drugs.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation in October after it cleared both houses not without with some opposition from lawmakers.

The law makes California the fifth state to legalize doctor-assisted dying. Oregon, Vermont and Washington have enacted similar “end of life” measures. Montana’s highest court in 2008 ruled that terminally patients have a right to terminate their lives with the help of a physician.

Excerpt from article written by Jacob Gershman on The Wall Street Journal Law Blog.  Read full article at: