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Zeppelin Can Settle “Stairway” Lawsuit For $1, But There’s A Catch…

The “Stairway To Heaven” lawsuit that’s been drawn out for the past two years is heading to trial on May 10, but Francis Alexander Malofiy said his client Michael Skidmore, who’s the administrator of the Randy Wolfe (aka: Randy California) trust, is willing to settle for $1.

Sounds too good to be true, right?  Like most things too good to be true, there’s always a catch, and this catch is a big one and something Jimmy Page and Robert Plant won’t like at all.

Per Bloomberg, if California also receives a writing credit to the iconic “Stairway,” the suit will be dropped, and California’s trust will receive a cut of future royalties the track would make.  Apparently, Page and Plant signed an agreement with Warner/Chappell Music in 2008 that nets the rock icons $60 million over the next 10 years that allows the label to use various Zeppelin songs, including “Stairway,” however they please.

What does that mean for California monetarily?  It means that according to the three-year statute of limitations around the lawsuit, around $40 million could be awarded to California due to copyright infringement.

The likelihood of Page and Plant caving and awarding California a credit is still unlikely, but if a jury finds in favor of California, he could potentially collect royalties dating back to 1971, when “Stairway” was first released.

Either way, this lawsuit is only getting started, and it won’t be pretty.


Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.