Led Zep Publishers Denied Attorney's Fees After "Stairway" Trial

Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin et al., No. CV 15-03462 RGK (AGRx) (C.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2016).

After winning the Led Zeppelin "Stairway To Heaven" trial, the Judge denied the defendant music publishers' motion for approx. $800,000 in attorney's fees and costs under section 505 of the Copyright Act.

Once the media hype and tangential distractions are stripped away, what remains is an objectively reasonable claim motivated by a desire to recognize Randy California’s musical contribution. The claim survived a summary judgment motion and proceeded to a hard-fought trial where a jury found for Plaintiff on ownership and access, but ultimately rendered a verdict for Defendants based on a lack of substantial similarity. Plaintiff was afforded a full opportunity to litigate its theory of infringement and Defendants were entitled to raise a meritorious defense, which ultimately prevailed. Viewing “all the circumstances of [this] case on their own terms, in light of the Copyright Act’s essential goals,” this Court concludes that attorney’s fees are not appropriate. Kirtsaeng, 136 S. Ct. at 1989.