Was Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven based on another song?

Thursday, 14 April, 2016

A story fans of Led Zeppelin will want to keep an eye on… allegations that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page used chords from an instrumental track called Taurus – that was written by Randy Wolfe, who was a member of a band called Spirit – in their iconic song, Stairway to Heaven.

Skidmore said Page may have been inspired to write “Stairway” for Led Zeppelin after hearing Spirit perform “Taurus” while the bands toured together in 1968 and 1969, but that Wolfe never got credit.

Listen to the video clip for Taurus, and see what you think…

Related: , , ,

Copyright is most definitely not lost in space

Friday, 31 May, 2013

I’m guessing we’ve all seen former International Space Station (ISS) commander Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” by now.

Despite what you may think though, the performance was no spur of the moment thought however, both Hadfield and his son, Evan, had obtained prior permission from Bowie’s management, a process that took months.

Before you consider emulating Hadfield’s feat though (anyone up for a jaunt to the ISS this weekend to record some Daft Punk covers?), it would be an idea to swot up on the workings of Earthly copyright laws as applied off the planet… a field that looks to be a whole other frontier unto itself, to say the least:

In this particular case the matter is straightforward because Commander Hadfield had obtained permission to record and distribute the song, and production and distribution was entirely terrestrial. Commander Hadfield and his son Evan spent several months hammering out details with Mr Bowie’s representatives, and with NASA, Russia’s space agency ROSCOSMOS and the CSA. The copyright issue may seem trivial, but the emergence of privately funded rocket launches, space tourism and space exploration hold the potential for more substantive disputes. If an astronaut were to travel to the Moon, an asteroid or Mars on a privately funded spacecraft, the situation would become knottier still, because the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 applies to countries, not companies or private individuals.

Related: , ,

There’s a trick for magicians wanting to copyright their tricks

Tuesday, 25 September, 2012

Tricks that magicians devise themselves could be compared to the songs that musicians write, so the potential copying, or theft, of an idea is usually taken seriously. Interestingly though it is possible – at least in the US – to protect such tricks by registering them as one-act plays, allowing a magician to claim copyright over their ideas.

While someone like David Copperfield can fortify his grand illusions against larceny by making them too baroque and expensive to copy – to do the Appearing Car, you have to have a car, for starters – Teller has to rely on simpler defenses. In 1983, he obtained a U. S. certificate of copyright registration for Shadows. It was the first time he’d attempted anything of the sort. Teller knew that Houdini, beset by copyists, had tried to protect his tricks by writing them into one-act plays. (Pantomimes were, and remain, protected by law.) Teller wasn’t seeking to defend Shadows as a magic trick, but more as a piece of performance art. His filing even included a typewritten description of the trick in which he refers to himself as “the Murderer,” along with an illustration of a grinning Teller, clad entirely in black, carving up a rose by slicing into its shadow.

Related: , ,

If innovation is the result of copying, should more ideas be copied?

Thursday, 13 September, 2012

Another way to look at those who copy the designs of others, at least within the fashion industry. Duplication not only plays a part in creating a trend, but in also prompting the original designer to devise something new.

The first is that fashion relies on trends, and trends rely on copying. So you can think of copying as a turbocharger that spins the fashion cycle faster, so things come into fashion faster, they go out of fashion faster, and that makes fashion designers want to come up with something new because we want something new. We’re sick of what’s out there. The second is that copying helps condense the market into something that consumers can understand, so people want to follow trends, they want to be able to dress in a way that’s in style; they have to understand that.

Related: , ,

Once copyright used to enhance creativity not stamp it out

Monday, 20 February, 2012

The fourth and final instalment of Kirby Ferguson’s excellent “Everything is a Remix” series of videos examines the original intent of copyright and patent laws.

Related: , , ,

Photos that look like other photos may be breaching copyright

Monday, 30 January, 2012

Taking photos that bear a strong resemblance to other works may land photographers in hot water, should the outcome of a recent court case in the UK set precedents elsewhere.

The case, heard at the Patents County Court in London on 12 January, could have serious implications for photographers, according to photographic copyright expert Charles Swan, a lawyer at Swan Turton, who said: ‘His honour Judge Birss QC decided that a photograph of a red London bus against a black and white background of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with a blank sky, was similar enough to another photograph of the same subject matter to infringe copyright.’

Related: , ,

Startup stars poised to kill Hollywood

Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

Recent attempts to enact heavy handed laws in the US to curb online piracy have only served to expose Hollywood’s weaknesses, according to startup funder Y Combinator, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop new ways of producing and distributing entertainment:

How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?

Related: , , , ,

Is attribution the new copyright in the remix culture?

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

What is to become of copyright when so few people, especially those aged under 25, appear to have little regard for the concept, at least so far as non-commercial redistribution of copyrighted material is concerned?

Under current copyright law, nearly every cover song on YouTube is technically illegal. Every fan-made music video, every mashup album, every supercut, every fanfic story? Quite probably illegal, though largely untested in court. No amount of lawsuits or legal threats will change the fact that this behavior is considered normal – I’d wager the vast majority of people under 25 see nothing wrong with non-commercial sharing and remixing, or think it’s legal already.

Related: , ,

Did digital piracy kill the book, or have they had their day?

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

Does technology encourage digital piracy? Mark Pilgrim argues the case for the negative:

Lots of technology “enables” piracy; after all, it’s only 1s and 0s. In the analog world, even libraries “enable” piracy by putting a photocopier in the same building as a bunch of books. But do libraries “encourage” piracy? No, there are big signs next to the photocopier warning you about copyright law, and photocopies are prohibitively expensive to do anything more than copy a few pages for reference. Does technology “encourage” digital piracy? No, it’s only 1s and 0s.

Related: , , , ,

Read only access brought about by book curses in medieval times

Thursday, 26 August, 2010

Book publishers in medieval times couldn’t rely on the methods of bootlegging and content theft protection that are available today, so instead had to resort to other options. Of these, “book curses” seemed to be quite popular:

Indeed, book owners were so worried about theft and damage to their property that they often included what is known as a “book curse” on the inside cover or on the last leaf of their manuscripts, warning away anyone who might do the book some harm.

Related: , , , ,