Court agrees to listen to Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway’ appeal

In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, left, and singer Robert Plant appear at a news conference ahead of the worldwide theatrical release of "Celebration Day," a concert film of their 2007 London O2 arena reunion show, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Court agrees to listen to Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway’ appeal

  • Lawsuit alleges Led Zeppelin stole its 1971 rock epic from an obscure 1960s instrumental 
  • A jury in a 2016 trial found that “Stairway to Heaven” did not significantly resemble the song “Taurus”

SAN FRANCISCO: “Stairway to Heaven” will get another hearing, this time to a packed house.
A panel of 11 judges from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Monday to hear Led Zeppelin’s appeal in a copyright lawsuit alleging the group stole its 1971 rock epic from an obscure 1960s instrumental.
In a 2016 trial that included testimony from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant, a jury found that “Stairway to Heaven” did not significantly resemble the song “Taurus,” written by the late Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit.
Page said he wrote the music for the song and Plant the lyrics, and that both were original.
But in September, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit ruled that the judge at the trial had failed to advise the jury properly, and ordered a new trial. The judges unanimously found that the trial judge was wrong to tell jurors that individual elements of a song such as its notes or scale may not qualify for copyright protection, because a combination of those elements may qualify if they are sufficiently original.
Led Zeppelin’s lawyers moved to the next level of appeal, asking for the larger group of judges to rehear the case, and the request was granted. The 11-judge panel will hear the case in late September in San Francisco.


Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

Updated 15 June 2019
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Ancient Afghan citadel collapses, cultural heritage sites at risk

  • The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years
  • The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan in urgent need of protection

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: An ancient tower dating back 2,000 years in the historic Afghan city of Ghazni collapsed this week, local officials said, raising concerns about the vulnerability of the country’s cultural heritage and the government’s ability to protect them.
The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years due to decades of war, heavy rain and neglect.
The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan — ranging from the pre-Islamic Buddhist center in the Bamyan valley to the 12th century minaret of Jam in a remote area of Ghor province — in urgent need of protection.
Officials in Ghazni, which nearly fell to the Taliban last year in some of the heaviest fighting seen in the war, said the tower collapsed on Tuesday following heavy rain. A short video posted on social media shows it crumbling but local residents say negligence also contributed to its collapse.
“The government paid no attention to the sites and didn’t build canals to divert flood water,” said Ghulam Sakhi, who lives near the citadel.
“We have warned the government about the dire condition of the citadel but no one visited,” Sakhi said.
Mahbubullah Rahmani, acting director of culture and information in Ghazni, said heavy rain and recent fighting had contributed to the tower’s collapse but said the government was working on a plan to protect the site from complete destruction.
He said a German archaeologist had worked at the site as recently as 2013.
Ghazni, a strategically vital center on the main highway between Kabul and southern Afghanistan and two hour drive from the capital, is home to a range of cultural and archaeological artefacts, some of which date back to pre-Islamic period.
The province and its cultural heritage was officially declared as Asian Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a Morocco-based body created in 1981, supported by UNESCO.
The collapse of the tower in Ghazni follows concern over the condition of the 900-year-old Minaret of Jam, in Ghor, which has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.
The Taliban during their austere regime from 1996-2001, before they were toppled by the US and coalition force in late 2001, blew up two giant Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province, calling them idols.