Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" Copyright Lawsuit May Get Tossed Out

September 24, 2019

In 2016, Led Zeppelin were on trail for their song "Stairway To Heaven" in a copyright case filed by the estate for late Spirit member Randy Wolfe, claiming that parts of the song were lifted from their song "Taurus." The case, which included testimonies by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Planet, was ultimately won Led Zeppelin. But earlier this year a three-judge 9th Circuit panel has ordered a new trial for the case to be heard by a larger group of judges.

A San Francisco appeals court is now deciding whether a new trial for the Led Zeppelin/Spirit case is even warranted. A panel consisting of eleven judges were skeptical over the request, resulting in some back-and-forth dialogue with the plantiff's attorney, Francis Malofiy. Malofiy claims that the studio recordings, not the sheet music, should be compared because the album versions appear to much similar than the written composition.

Wolfe, who passed away in 1997, never sued Led Zeppelin when he was alive. But according to a report by Variety, Malofiy says Wolfe had spoken to Page several times about receiving some form of compensation over the similarities between "Stairway" and "Taurus." Malofiy also said the reason why Wolfe never filed a lawsuit against the bad because out of fear of spending years and money in and out of court.