RAT Rock News

The Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit has gone on for years, and it could go on for longer if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to take on the case.

Per Law360, the Supreme Court has been petitioned by the estate of the late Randy “California” Wolfe in an effort to overturn the March 2020 en banc ruling (by all judges of the court) from the 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals. That ruling stated that the 2016 verdict that declared Zeppelin did not steal parts of “Stairway to Heaven” from the 1968 track “Taurus” from the band Spirit will stand. In September 2018, a three-judge bench of the 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals overturned the 2016 verdict.

It is not currently known when the Supreme Court will decide whether they’ll hear the “Stairway” case.

The Hollywood Reporter noted the March en banc ruling “…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.”

The original lawsuit was brought on in 2016 by the Wolfe estate.
  The estate argued Zeppelin ripped off a chord progression in “Taurus,” which was written by Wolfe, which was used as the intro to “Stairway to Heaven.” Zeppelin’s defense argued that the descending four-chord progression on “Taurus” was common and not subject to copyright protection, thus proving Zeppelin didn’t rip off Spirit.


Led Zeppelin: All 92 Songs Ranked

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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