Led Zeppelin face trial over ‘Stairway to Heaven’ plagiarism claims

May 2016

Music publishing



Members of legendary rock band Led Zeppelin will face a May 10th trial over claims that they plagiarised Spirit to make their iconic song “Stairway to Heaven.” The lawsuit was filed by the trustee of the late Randy Craig Wolfe (Randy California) of the band Spirit, who played with Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. Wolfe drowned off the coast of Hawaii in 1997, but a trustee for his estate has sued Led Zeppelin and the three band members, plus music publishers Super Hype Publishing Inc. and Warner Music Group Corp. The 2014 suit claims that Led Zeppelin, which opened for Spirit in the 1960s, copied a musical composition Wolfe wrote called “Taurus.”
On March 23rd , both sides failed to reach a settlement in the dispute. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles then scheduled a trial, subsequently ruling that the song and the 1967 instrumental ‘Taurus’ by the band Spirit were similar enough to let a jury decide whether Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are liable for copyright infringement.



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