Intellectual Property Partner Helene Freeman is named a 2020 Top Music Lawyer by Billboard Magazine07/28/2020
Freeman and her co-counsel successfully defended Led Zeppelin against the claim brought by a trustee of the estate of deceased Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe that “Stairway to Heaven” infringed on the copyright of the Spirit instrumental “Taurus.” In March, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s earlier decision of no copyright infringement. Significantly, the appeals court rejected the “inverse ratio rule,” which declared that the higher the degree of access to a work, the lower the bar for proving substantial similarity. “As a practical matter, the concept of ‘access’ is increasingly diluted in our digitally interconnected world,” the court stated.
Scott McDowell, EVP/head of legal and business affairs, Warner Chappell Music, praises the work of Warner Chappell’s outside counsel Peter Anderson and Helene Freeman in affirming in March that Led Zeppelin’s classic “Stairway to Heaven” did not infringe the copyright of another work. “They are superstars and secured a great result for our writers and for the industry,” he says.
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