Wednesday 21 February 2018

Appeal filed over Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven plagiarism verdict

The veteran rockers were cleared by a jury earlier this year
The veteran rockers were cleared by a jury earlier this year

The verdict that cleared Led Zeppelin stars Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in a plagiarism dispute over their hit Stairway to Heaven has been appealed against.

The veteran rockers were cleared by a jury earlier this year of plagiarising the song's famous guitar intro.

The jury in Los Angeles found the musicians did not lift the opening chords of instrumental track Taurus, written by American band Spirit, for their 1971 hit.

An appeal has now been made by Michael Skidmore, who filed the original lawsuit, the trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe.

Wolfe, who was known as Randy California, drowned in 1997 having never taken legal action over the song.

Following a week-long trial, a jury found that Taurus and Stairway To Heaven were not "extrinsically similar".

After the verdict, Page and Plant said the origins of Stairway To Heaven had been put "to rest".

Lawyers for Mr Wolfe's trust had asked for him to be given a third credit for the hit song, which has earned millions of pounds since it featured on the album Led Zeppelin IV.

The court heard that Page and Plant had earned 58.5 million dollars (£40 million) from Stairway To Heaven and other Led Zeppelin songs over the past five years.

After the verdict, Mr Skidmore's lawyer Francis Malofiy said he was "disappointed" with the jury's ruling and "justice wasn't served".

"There are obviously issues that can be appealed," he said.

Mr Malofiy said the lawsuit had been brought 45 years after the release of Stairway To Heaven because of a change in the law in 2014.

Speaking outside court, Mr Skidmore said: "Money has triumphed over common sense."

Press Association

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