Saturday, June 04, 2016

Stairway to riches

Here we go again. Now the estate of Randy Wolfe, someone the boys in Led Zeppelin used to hang with, is suing Led Zeppelin, because the music in Stairway to Heaven sounds similar to a song this (now dead) guy made.

Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971. The whole world knew about the song, including, I'm sure, Randy Wolfe and his band, Spirit. Why didn't he sue Led Zeppelin at the time?
After his death in 1997, why didn't the estate sue during those 17 years? It turns out, the reason for the late lawsuit stems from the statute of limitations. Once Led Zeppelin re-released the album, it created a new window of opportunity. But my original question still stands. If the artist that inspired Stairway to Heaven was upset about the steal, why wait to sue? I bet this is all about the fact that Spirit did not make it big, and Zeppelin did.

I hope the world soon grows weary of people profiting just by finding similarities between songs. It has always been understood among artists, that any music produced is influenced by numerous other sources.

My favourite example of a lawsuit I despise to this day is the suit against The Verve for their song Bittersweet Symphony. The Rolling Stones song that makes up the centrepiece of The Verve's song is something I'd never even heard of before. If anything, I would have expected that The Rolling Stones would have been elated that a modern band found a way to breathe new life into a song that pretty much languished in obscurity.

In case you need more examples of why lawsuits against music influences are pointless, check out Everything is a Remix. The key point starts at 23:27.

No comments: