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March, 10

Led Zeppelin win Stairway To Heaven copyright court case

Led Zeppelin have won the court case accusing them of stealing their song Stairway to Heaven.

The UK band were accused of stealing the 1971 rock classic from the song Taurus, written by Randy Wolfe, a guitarist in the band Spirit.

Wolfe died in 1997, but Michael Skidmore, a trustee of his estate, sought damages in 2014 for Taurus, which was written in 1968, three years prior to Stairway To Heaven.

The lawsuit claimed that the famous introduction to Stairway to Heaven was too similar to the riff in Taurus, a record that guitarist Jimmy Page admitted to owning.

Led Zeppelin played live with Spirit after the release of Taurus, and Mr. Skidmore claimed that Page wrote the riff after listening to it live.

After the verdict, Francis Malofiy, the lawyer for Mr Skidmore, said: “Obviously, the court got it wrong.”

“This is a big loss for creators, those who copyright laws are meant to protect.”€

The jury rejected the original case in a 2016 trial, but in 2018 the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided to try the case, feeling that the judge in the previous case had made too many errors.

Finally, on Monday, the panel of 11 judges revealed they had decided by a verdict of 9-2 that the song did not infringe the copyright of Taurus.

Circuit judge Margaret McKeown spoke after the verdict, referencing the difficulties in getting to this point.

“This case was carefully considered by the District Court (judge) and the jury,” McKeown said. “The trial and appeal process has been a long climb up the Stairway to Heaven.”€

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