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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Copyright infringement case against Led Zeppelin

Monday, May 16, 2016

Queen's University professor Kip Pegley is available to comment on the accusations made against Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin that the introduction of their famous song, “Stairway to Heaven,” was copied from the song “Taurus” by the band Spirit. A copyright infringement trial is slated to start on June 14.

"It is entirely possible that Taurus will have a case for copyright infringement,” says Dr. Pegley. While this bass line is in fact used across Western music practices, the Taurus/Stairway versions share several similar features beyond the actual notes.”

Dr. Pegley points out that Led Zeppelin borrowed from other artists and have been accused of copying in the past. The band previously settled with Jake Holmes over "Dazed and Confused," with Anne Bredon over "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You," and with Willie Dixon over "Whole Lotta Love" and "Bring It on Home," amongst others.

“It's important for us to consider the limits of musical borrowings as there is a lot of money at stake, as well as creative license,” Dr. Pegley adds. “When it is complementary imitation and when is it stealing?”

Dr. Pegley is a professor of musicology, ethnomusicology and music education in the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University. She is available for print and radio interviews, by phone only.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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