Led Zeppelin Win ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case Again
The case, which started in 2014, initially claimed that Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page essentially stole the guitar melody for "Stairway to Heaven" from Spirit's 1968 song "Taurus." Michael Skidmore, the Trustee for late Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe, sued the band on supposed copyright infringement.
Led Zeppelin won the case in 2016, but in June of 2019, the Ninth Circuit judges requested that the trial be reheard by a larger panel. The appeal argued that the jury in the prior decision was not properly instructed on how to determine copyright infringement in music, nor did they have to listen to the recordings of the songs.
The circumstances surrounding the case began to concern artists — like Tool and Korn — who in turn voiced their support in defense of Led Zeppelin in August of 2019. The Trump Administration even filed a friend of court brief in support of the British giants that same month.
The case was finally presented again to a panel of 11 judges in San Francisco this past fall, and today's decision confirms once more that Led Zeppelin did not steal the melody from "Taurus." This case will most likely now set the precedent for a plethora of copyright infringement cases in the music industry going forward.
Time to spin some Led Zeppelin IV.
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