Never really struck me as a valid explanation, this question of "rights".  My understanding of copyright is that anybody can cover anybody else's songs as long as the proper royalties are paid, where applicable.  This was further expanded back in the eighties when 2 Live Crew appropriated "Born In The USA" as a theme for one of their raps, where it was decided that even in a parody one doesn't need to get prior permission to use the composed tune. 
    Just think of the hundreds of Beatles covers out there.  In no way was there any quality control exercised by the copyright holders.  They just wanted to be assured that if that treacly version of "Let It Be" was released, they would be paid their cut.
    Sampling, however, gets a bit more expensive and does need prior permission before release unless it's under the radar, like the new Girl Talk album on Illegal Arts, which is some kind of wack. (It's called Night Ripper, if'n you're interested.)
Not Dead Yet,

Bill Amutis
(Ol' Baggy Eyes)

Progress is not possible without deviation from the norm.-Frank Zappa
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 22:55:32 -0400
Subject: Re: [Zappa-List] Stairway

As for the WHY of ultimately deciding to play it (and release it on album), I'm not really sure.
I'd be willing to bet that it was released because FZ could purchase the rights to do so, unlike the Texas Motel Medley where he couldn't. I know that some of the US releases of that tour were slightly different from the UK and world releases because acquiring the rights to some tunes. Wasn't Bolero one of them?
Lawyers is such crazy peoples!

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