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NOV. 16, 2020 – "Music Copyright Lawsuits Are Scaring Away New Hits" was the January 2020 headline in Rolling Stone magazine. Just two months later, Peter Anderson won a ruling that completely changed the landscape.
Defending Led Zeppelin in a challenge to the band's iconic track, "Stairway to Heaven," Anderson secured a 9th Circuit en banc decision that reaffirmed and clarified the requirements for music copyright claims and jettisoned a decades-old rule for assessing those claims. Within days of the ruling, it was cited by district courts in two other multimillion-dollar music copyright actions. The U.S. Supreme Court declined plaintiffs' petition for review.
In recognition of Anderson's success in charting a legal path forward for the industry, the National Law Journal named him to its list of 2020 Intellectual Property Trailblazers.
The victory for Led Zeppelin served to stanch a series of recent cases that have been damaging to music artists and the industry. These include the well-known "Blurred Lines" decision, in which the appellate court affirmed infringement based on similar style or "feel," when there was no similarity in actual musical composition.
Anderson has led the effort to establish a new legal framework that discourages meritless claims and allows creative artists to do what they've always done: create new works using public domain elements and musical building blocks.
Anderson's recent work has included successfully defending copyright complaints lodged against clients including The Weeknd, Gwen Stefani, and Pharrell Williams.
This is the third national honor Anderson has received since the "Stairway to Heaven" decision. He was also named a Law360 MVP of the Year in Media & Entertainment and a Billboard Top Music Lawyer.
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