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Jury still deliberating in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven plagiarism trial

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A US jury will deliberate for a second day Thursday on whether Led Zeppelin poached the opening to “Stairway To Heaven” from an obscure Los Angeles rock band.

Songwriting duo Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have denied plagiarizing the guitar introduction of their classic 1971 song from “Taurus,” an instrumental track by the long-defunct 1960s group Spirit.

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The case was brought before a federal court in Los Angeles by Michael Skidmore, the trustee and friend of Spirit guitarist Randy California, who drowned in 1997 having never taken legal action over the song.

A jury of four men and four women deliberated for five hours Wednesday before being sent home by Judge Gary Klausner and asked to return on Thursday morning.

Led Zeppelin frontman Plant, 67, testified on Tuesday that he recalled writing the lyrics of “Stairway” in 1970 as he and Page sat by a fireplace in an English country manor house where the band recorded and rehearsed.

He said he was inspired to write the lines after he heard guitarist Page, 72, play the opening notes of what would become one of the most famous rock songs of all time.

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The suit, which was filed by Skidmore two years ago, seeks damages and claims California deserves a songwriting credit so that he can “take his place as an author of rock’s greatest song.”

“Give credit where credit is due. This case has always been about credit,” Skidmore’s attorney Francis Malofiy said as he presented his closing arguments on Wednesday.

David Woirhaye, the chief financial officer of Rhino Entertainment — which markets and distributes the Led Zeppelin catalog — testified that “Stairway” had grossed $3.4 million during the five-year period at issue in the civil trial.

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– Substantial similarities –

“We’re asking for a one-third credit, a shared credit,” Malofiy told jurors, asking that damages of between that amount and $13.5 million be awarded to California’s trust.

The jury had been told Zeppelin opened for Spirit when the hard rockers — Plant, Page, John Paul Jones and the late John Bonham — made their US debut on December 26, 1968 in Denver.

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But the surviving members have submitted testimony that they never had substantive interaction with Spirit or listened to 1967’s “Taurus” before recording “Stairway” in December 1970 and January 1971.

Experts called by the plaintiffs say there are substantial similarities between key parts of the two songs, but defense witnesses have testified that the chord pattern used in the intro to “Stairway” is so commonplace that copyright doesn’t apply.

Page told the court last week he first heard “Taurus” when his son-in-law showed him a comparison with “Stairway” on the Internet just a few years ago.

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He said he only recently discovered he owned Spirit’s debut album, which includes “Taurus,” after checking his record collection of more than 10,000 vinyls and CDs.

Defense attorney Peter Anderson said Skidmore had not proved that the trust owned the copyright to “Stairway” or that Page and Plant had ever even heard Spirit perform in the few times the bands shared a concert bill in 1968 and 1969.

He told the jury the descending chromatic scale played by Page in the first moments of “Stairway” was a musical device so common and unoriginal that “it belongs to everyone.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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