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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

@ 7:00 p.m. (PST)


Beyond Stairway to Heaven:

Effects of the Ninth Circuit’s En Banc Decision in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin

Peter Anderson 

After six years of litigation and a jury trial, the Ninth Circuit’s en banc decision in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin confirmed that Led Zeppelin’s classic Stairway to Heaven is not infringing. But in reaching that result the en banc decision also ruled on multiple important copyright issues with broad potential application, and the decision immediately began affecting court decisions in this circuit and elsewhere. At our next meeting, Peter Anderson – the lead counsel representing Led Zeppelin – will discuss the decision and its ramifications, including the application of the decision’s selection-and-arrangement holding in non-music cases and the implications of its 1909 Act deposit copy ruling for 1976 Act works.

Peter Anderson is a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine’s Los Angeles office and has four decades of experience in copyright and entertainment litigation.  Initially, his practice focused on representing plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases in the movie industry and, for example, represented the plaintiff in the Rear Window case, Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990), and in Woods v. Universal City Studios, 920 F. Supp. 62 (S.D.N.Y 1996), in which he obtained a preliminary injunction against the distribution of the motion picture, 12 Monkeys.  Since then, he also has represented record companies, music publishers and recording artists.  In addition to being lead counsel in the Stairway to Heaven litigation, Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, 952 F.3d 1051 (9th Cir. 2020), he successfully defended Green Day in Seltzer v. Green Day, 725 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir. 2013), and he has obtained summary judgments for multiple artists, record companies, and music publishers, including Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and others in Morrill v. Stefani, 338 F. Supp. 3d 1051 (C.D. Cal. 2018).  He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and has been named a Top Music Lawyer by Billboard magazine, a “Trailblazer” in Intellectual Property by the National Law Journal, “MVP of the Year” in Media & Entertainment by Law 360, and one of the top IP lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.

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Catherine Bridge
The Walt Disney Company

Joel Tantalo


Tantalo & Adler LLP

Andrew J. Thomas
Vice President
Jenner & Block

Vivian S. Lee

The Walt Disney Company

Dan Nabel
Riot Games


Peter Anderson
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Jacqueline Charlesworth

Alter, Kendrick & Baron LLP

Daniel M. Flores

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Jamie Frieden

Frieden Wolf Law

Caroline Mankey
Akerman LLP

Jennifer E. Rothman

LMU Loyola Law School

Ben Sheffner

Motion Picture Association, Inc.

Ian Slotin

John Ulin

Immediate Past President

Aaron Moss
Greenberg Glusker

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