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Wasn't this sorted out years ago???

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Sean G, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  2. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    OK...now while we are on the subject...

  3. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    Spirit must be "getting the band back together" and need some buzz.

    As far as ripping off goes, all of rock owes the Blues "a haw haw haw" ;)
  4. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member


    damn....that's buzz Cuz!
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    While there's no doubt that Taurus and the intro Stairway are undoubtedly (and eerily) very similar, the legal issue may now come down to one of the amount of time involved - in that Randy California ( Spirit guitarist and the writer of Taurus) had over 25 years - arguably an ample opportunity - to bring forth a lawsuit against LZ; between '71 ( the year Stairway was released) and '97 (the year of his death), and he never did.

    What might further complicate things, is that there's a published record of his sentiments on the subject that exists, where he gave his "blessing" to LZ to use Taurus.
    In a 1991 interview, he said, "Led Zeppelin used to come up and sit in the front row of all our [Spirit’s] shows and we became friends … and if they wanted to use it [Taurus], that’s fine,” adding: “I’ll let them [Led Zeppelin] have the beginning of Taurus for their song without a lawsuit.”

    LZ is claiming that "they can't remember" if they ever toured with Spirit, but, according to the depositions in the suit, Spirit’s surviving band members remember quite clearly that they did; recalling backstage conversations between the two bands and performing after each other at festivals.

    If the claimants are awarded a settlement, whatever that settlement may be - money, or writing credit, or both - it could not only set a legal precedent - in that there would now be be no statute of limitations for cases like this - but it could also act as a motivation to other past writers who may feel as though they have been "wronged" in some way as well; and regardless of the amount of time that has lapsed, they could still have a legal foundation on which they could bring forth their own lawsuits. According to Andy Millmore, a copyright lawyer for Harbottle & Lewis, the case could have broad and far-reaching implications across the music industry, because of the length of time that has passed since the song was written. “What’s different about this case from other recent copyright cases, and therefore potentially worrying for record labels and big heritage artists, is that this a case from nearly 50 years ago. If the claimant succeeds, it could lead to people coming out of the woodwork from years ago – composers and smaller artists, who for decades might have harboured some sort of mini grudge because something they wrote was ripped off – and this case might give them the courage to take it to the courts.”

    As Millmore has mentioned, this particular case is a big one, in that it involves a song that has become so very popular, and which has firmly entrenched itself into popular music history to the point of reaching an iconic status; and, if a 50% settlement is awarded to the claimant(s), we're talking about a fairly serious amount of money - unless the judge would rule that the damages rewarded to the claimants would only be based on song's earned revenue over the last three years - which is entirely possible, based on past similar judgements involving other copyright infringement settlements.
    Even so, there's still enough money at stake to make it worth it for former Spirit members and California's surviving family members to seek damages. It's not as if this song's popularity has faded all that much over the years. STH continues to garner heavy rotation on classic rock radio, (both public and subscription/satellite stations) - and younger generations have continued to buy the Led Zeppelin IV album, on which the song originally appeared.

    In 2008, Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine published an estimate that included royalties and record sales for Stairway, citing that the hit had earned at least $562 million.
    I think we could be fairly certain that this figure has grown since '08.

    This is not the first time that a copyright case has been brought against Led Zeppelin, and Page in particular, either. Previous legal challenges against Page and LZ have proven successful for various other claimants in the past, and have resulted in songwriting credits being added to Whole Lotta Love, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, The Lemon Song and Dazed And Confused.

    Appropriately, I suppose that if nothing else, it does beg the question, if Page truly was the genius songwriter that he's been credited as being .... or was he just really good at "interpreting" other artists works?

  6. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    I have a pen pal called Jim Wagner who tried a very loud and public case years ago against Tom Petty. I am sure he will be watching this with a lot of interest.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    What was his case?
  8. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    I'd have to look back through his emails to me Donny, but it was a full rip off of one of Jims songs.
  9. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Men At Work were also sued over their iconic song Down Under, where the flute riff was similar to the melody of the song Kookaburra which was written for a Girl Guides' competition 70 years before. Larrikin Music which now holds the copyright to Kookaburra successfully sued Men At Works' record label EMI and songwriters Colin Hay & Ron Strykert in 2011 who were ordered to pay 5% royalties dating back to 2002 and from future earnings.:eek:

    Some of you on the other side of the Pacific may remember Down Under... a huge hit for Men At Work which was the theme of our amazing 1983 Americas' Cup victory, capturing our entire nation to a standstill where Australia II came back from 3-1 down to beat the Dennis Connor skippered Liberty 4-3...taking the Americas Cup from the New York Yacht Club for the first time in 132 years.

    The yacht Australia II was 20 years ahead of its time with its futuristic winged keel designed by the late, great Ben Lexen.

    (come on....I know its been 33 years but its still one of our greatest sporting moments so we can still gloat about it !!!...) ;)

    One wonders if the song wasn't such a huge hit riding on the crest of that Americas' Cup win, whether Larrikin music would have sued all those years later.


    But what I find a most ironic twist, is the fact the boat which defended the Americas' Cup 4 years later in 1987 was named Kookaburra III, which lost the Americas' Cup to...you guessed it, the Dennis Connor skippered Stars & Stripes 87...

    Believe it....or not
  10. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  11. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Have you heard the song? If so, do you feel as though there is any basis for Jim Wagner's accusations? I searched Youtube, and while I found Petty's "The Last DJ", I couldn't find Wagner's "The Last Great Radio DJ", so it's impossible to comment, other than to say that Petty is one of those artists and songwriters who has never had any issues in the past in giving collaborators due credit for their contributions.

    I will say that the circumstances appear to be a bit "suspicious" - in that both Wagner and Petty knew Jim Ladd - the DJ who Wagner claims to have written the song about - but that wouldn't be enough to decide a case, as it's merely circumstantial evidence.
    Ladd, who is a well-known Los Angeles jock, would have access to - and likely be acquainted with - lots of different musicians... both Wagner and Petty included.

    Without being able to hear Wagner's version, it's impossible to tell. If anyone can locate the Wagner song, I'd like to hear both songs to compare the two and see if there is a similarity.
  13. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    @DonnyThompson honestly I had never heard of Jim and happened to meet over him being interested in buying my old Kurzweil synth, I'd never heard of him, or that song. All I know is from my correspondence with Jim and some articles. He strikes me as a troubled man, but honest and broken over what he clearly feels rightly (if true) slighted over it.

    I only ever found one song of Jims and that is one someone put up for him. It's very good, so, who knows hey. Just brought it up because it was very relevant to the topic.
  14. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    So he IS dead?
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL... maybe not. Up until her death a few years ago, at the tender age of 99, my grandmother had almost daily conversations with my grandfather, who had been dead for over 30 years.

    Her conversations with him were very animated, too. For all I knew, maybe he actually was there. He certainly was to her, anyway. I remember once walking in on a one-sided discussion about "that damned John Kennedy not being half the man that Richard Nixon was", and how there was no way in hell she was ever gonna vote for him. LOL
  16. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    Hehe, yeah I re-read that. I meant to say he said he was good mates.. Joys of typing on the phone :-/
  17. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Lol...I read the original post Tony about still being friends with Joplin and thought "wow, he must be troubled..."

    I searched for the Wagner song too Donny, no such luck.

    I even tried to google Jim Ladd Last Great Radio DJ theme song to no avail, just to find more pages dedicated to the lawsuit.
  18. Brien Holcombe

    Brien Holcombe Well-Known Member

    Well, never let it be said that I do not read what each of you have to say. To that end, how much of this is you Donny?

  19. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I have nothing useful to add, but I grew up listening to Jim Ladd, along with the likes of Bob Coburn, "Paraquat" Pat Kelley and Dr. Demento. It's interesting to see what's become of these people.
  20. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    About the only American DJ that reached our shores was Casey Kasem with his American Top 40 broadcast...

    I really enjoyed listening to it, which was usually on a Sunday evening here in Oz, it kept us abreast of what was happening musically in the US, well before the likes of MTV came along and it ran for maybe 20+ or so years here.
    Makzimia likes this.

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