‘Led Zeppelin’ Wins Ongoing Copyright Infringement Case Over ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Led Zepplin promo photo.


Led Zepplin promo photo.

Mika Maynard, Stafff Writer

Legendary classic rock band Led Zeppelin won a major, ongoing copyright battle on Monday after claims that certain sections of their claim-to-fame song, “Stairway to Heaven,” had been stolen.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had a jury verdict that found “Stairway to Heaven” to be free of any stolen content from the 1968 song “Taurus” by fellow rock group Spirit. The lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleged that the guitar solo in the beginning of the song had blatantly infringed on the copyright of the instrumental of “Taurus.”

Guitarist and writer for Spirit, Randy Wolfe, died in 1997 and thus, had no involvement in said lawsuit. The controversial 2014 lawsuit was filed by a journalist named Michael Skidmore. He did so on behalf of the Randy Craige Wolfe Trust, in which he became a co-trustee in 2006.

A jury had originally ruled against the journalist in 2016. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had claimed in court during the same year that “subsequent agreements at the heart of the trial for plagiarism had been circulating forever.”

However, this lawsuit would go on to be revived only two short years later in 2018 by a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit, which led to a new trial. This new trial faced some complications and led to 11 judges finally hearing an appeal from Led Zeppelin in September of 2019.

Judge Margaret McKeown wrote in the official 73-page documented decision from the court that, “The trial and appeal process has been a long climb up the Stairway to Heaven.”

After it was all said and done, attorney Ed McPherson, who filed a brief in support of Led Zeppelin, was quoted having “renewed faith” in the 9th Circuit after they made a “terrific decision.”