The Led Zeppelin plagiarism trial has been one of the biggest stories in classic rock. It only makes sense, considering that one of the most popular bands of all-time was being accused of unfairly swiping part of their most successful song. The lawsuit was brought on by the estate of Randy Wolfe, aka Randy California, and it claimed that the intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was ripped off from the song “Taurus” by Spirit. The plaintiffs were seeking $40 million in damages, plus songwriting credit for Wolfe. Now, the trial has come to its conclusion, and Zeppelin has won.
The jury decided that, while Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had access to “Taurus” the “original elements of Spirit’s song are not extrinsically similar” to “Stairway to Heaven.” In a joint statement, Page and Robert Plant said, “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years.”
On the other side of things, attorney Francis Malofiy argued that Zeppelin “won on a technicality” because the jury never actually heard “Taurus” by Spirit during the court proceedings. “We’re fighting with a foot stapled to the ground, and an arm tied behind our back, and it wasn’t a fair fight,” said Malofiy, who also said they may appeal.
For right now, though, it would seem that Zeppelin has avoided the fate of Robin Thicke. “Stairway to Heaven” remains theirs, and theirs alone.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)