Led Zeppelin to Go Back to Court in Renewed "Stairway to Heaven" Lawsuit

Led Zeppelin fans are experiencing a bit of déjà vu today as Jimmy Page and Robert Plant once again await a trial regarding the authorship of "Stairway to Heaven," according to the BBC.

You may remember the closely watched proceedings from 2016 in which Michael Skidmore (who serves as the trustee for the music of Spirit guitarist Randy "California" Wolfe) accused Page and Plant of stealing the song's classic opening riff from a little-known Spirit instrumental named "Taurus."

Spirit - "Taurus"

Following loads of testimony and a lengthy trial, jurors determined that although the two songs have similarities—and that members of Led Zeppelin did have the opportunity to hear "Taurus" prior to penning "Stairway to Heaven"—Page and Plant were not guilty of stealing the riff.

Back in 2016, Page told a California court that although he owned three Spirit albums and had used a riff from a different Spirit song in a medley during their first tour, "Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me."

Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven"

Today, an appeals court in California overturned the judgment of the 2016 trial.

Judge Richard Paez of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that the previous judge had failed to tell jurors key information about the legalities of the lawsuit.

"The judge reportedly did not tell jurors the trustee for Mr Wolfe could win if the guitarist had written a 'sufficiently original combination" of musical elements," the BBC reported. "He also should not have told jurors about the 'copyrighting of music elements in the public domain,' according to a Reuters report on the ruling."

At the time of publication, representatives for Page and Plant have not publicly responded to this development.


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