Monday, March 9, 2020

Led Zeppelin wins appeal in Stairway To Heaven copyright lawsuit

Led Zeppelin have won their latest appeal in the ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit over the band’s 1971 classic, “Stairway To Heaven.”

Launched by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, better known as Randy California, whose trust – represented by lawyer Michael Skidmore – sought to claim that “Stairway” co-writers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had infringed on Spirit’s 1968 track, “Taurus.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter,the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on Monday a trial court's decision of no copyright infringement after a 2016 jury case landed in Led Zeppelin’s favor; the March 9 decision comes after the appellate court voted to re-do the trial only to have larger issues re-examined before a wider panel of judges.

The 2020 decision will likely become a new standard in copyright infringement cases and may be presented to the Supreme Court. Among other aspects of the decision, the Ninth Circuit determines it was not in error that the jury didn't get to hear the original "Taurus" sound recording at trial. Furthermore, the appeals court elects to ditch the "inverse ratio rule," meaning the higher the degree of access to a work, the lower the bar for proving substantial similarity.

“By rejecting the inverse ratio rule,” writes M. Margaret McKeown in the decision, “we are not suggesting that access cannot serve as circumstantial evidence of actual copying in all cases; access, however, in no way can prove substantial similarity."

More details on the ruling can be found at

“Stairway To Heaven” appeared on the UK band’s 1971 release, “Led Zeppelin IV.”

One of the best-selling albums in music history, the project went on to sell more than 37 million copies worldwide, including 23 million in the US alone.

See also:

Jason Bonham announces North American tour
Robert Plant and Saving Grace announce first US shows
Led Zeppelin perform as The Nobs on 50th anniversary video series
VIDEO: Queen and Adam Lambert perform Led Zeppelin classic in New Zealand
Search Led Zeppelin at hennemusic