Led Zeppelin Have Appealed The Stairway To Heaven Retrial

UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: Photo of LED ZEPPELIN; L-R: John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham - posed, group shot, sitting on car bonnet - first photo session with WEA Records in London in December 1968. (Photo by Dick Barnatt/Redferns)

Led Zeppelin have lodged an appeal over a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently in San Francisco that rejected a 2016 jury verdict. The verdict discovered that the legendary UK group did not copy any original music from the song “Taurus”, which is a 1968 track by the Los Angeles band Spirit.

A few months ago in September the federal appeals court reasoned that elements of the jury instructions in that trial were mistaken and bias, claiming that the original judge made an error by instructing the jury that certain common musical parts, such as “descending chromatic scales, arpeggios or short sequences of three notes,” were under copyright law.


Using Law 360, Led Zeppelin’s legal team filed a request on October 26th requesting the court to review the decision by a panel comprising of a three-judge panel to return the case back to trial. The team maintained that the ruling threatens to improperly extend protection to collections of public domain parts that should not be covered by copyright law.

In a statement Led Zeppelin’s legal team said,

“At best, the decision will cause confusion and unpredictability throughout the circuit,” “At worst, it will cause jurors to find infringement just because the same unprotected elements are present, upsetting the ‘delicate balance’ between protecting authors of original material and the freedom to use public domain elements.”

“Taurus” was penned by the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California, whose trust instigated the copyright infringement lawsuit.

Wolfe’s Trustee Michael Skidmore has said that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page may have been inspired to pen 1971’s hit rock anthem “Stairway” after listening to Spirit play “Taurus” while the bands played together in 1968 and 1969.

The two-week trial, two years back in 2016 saw Page, Plant and John Paul Jones take to the stand to refute exposure to “Taurus” while giving an explanation to the creation of “Stairway” at Headley Grange. 

Feature Image: Photo by Dick Barnatt/Redferns.

Source: Antimusic.

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