Led Zeppelin Win "Stairway to Heaven" Plagiarism Trial (Again)
Published Mar 09, 2020Following the order of a retrial in 2018, Led Zeppelin have once again won a long-running plagiarism case concerning their iconic 1971 song "Stairway to Heaven."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that "Stairway to Heaven" did not infringe "Taurus," a song released by California rockers Spirit in 1967.
Today's decision was handed down after a U.S. appeals court ordered the case back to trial two years ago, after "erroneous jury instructions" were provided for the first trial. You can read the newly revealed 54-page decision here.
The case against "Stairway to Heaven" was first brought to the courts in 2016 by Michael Skidmore, a representative for late Spirit frontman Randy Wolfe (a.k.a. Randy California) who sued the rock icons in 2014 claiming infringement.
Before he passed away in 1997, Wolfe complained about the likeness between his own band's 1967 song "Taurus" and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," which was released four years later. Both bands had previously toured together in the late '60s.
In 2014, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page called the plagiarism accusations "ridiculous," while acknowledging that being on the road with Spirit may have influenced his songwriting.
"The trial and appeal process has been a long climb up the 'Stairway to Heaven,'" today's jury opinion reads. "The parties and their counsel have acquitted themselves well in presenting complicated questions of copyright law. We affirm the judgment that Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' did not infringe Spirit's 'Taurus.'"
Last year, it was reported that Led Zeppelin had greenlit their first official feature documentary.