Much Publicized Case Involved “Stairway To Heaven.”
May 6, 1937. The burning LZ 129 Hindenburg. Library of Congress.
Warner/Chappell Music defeated a copyright infringement case by the trustee for the late writer of a song called “Taurus,” with the suit claiming that Led Zeppelin copied a small part of the song in their iconic song “Stairway to Heaven.” Now, the defense is seeking $613,471 in fees (with additional costs bringing the total tally to almost $800,000) from the other side, claiming litigation misconduct by the losing plaintiff’s attorney. This request is one of the larger ones which has cited in its discussion the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Son (discussed in our June 16, 2016 post), which clarified the factors to use in determining whether a fee award was justified because a case was “exceptional” within the meaning of the federal copyright fee-shifting statute.