Led Zeppelin wrote her own songs
No plagiarism: Led Zeppelin wins "Stairway to Heaven" lawsuit
The process kept Led Zeppelin and many fans in suspense - but now a US jury has decided: The band did not steal the rock anthem "Stairway to Heaven", which has thrilled music lovers for 45 years.
Led Zeppelin can breathe a sigh of relief: A jury in the USA has acquitted the British rock band of the accusation that they copied from another group in the legendary ballad "Stairway to Heaven". The jury in Los Angeles needed less than a day for their decision, as US media reported on Thursday (local time). In the plagiarism lawsuit, Led Zeppelin had to defend himself against the accusation of stealing the opening chords of "Stairway to Heaven" (1971) from the song "Taurus" (1968) by the US band Spirit. It was also about royalties in the millions.
Guitarist Jimmy Page (72) and singer Robert Plant (67) were relieved: "We are grateful for the conscientious service of the jury and glad that they decided in our favor." Doubts about the origin of "Stairway to Heaven" have now been dispelled. "The jury has confirmed what we have known for 45 years. We appreciate the support of our fans and are confident that we can move on to this legal matter."
The two musicians had rejected the allegations in court as "ridiculous" and stressed that they wrote the song alone. The musical elements that also appeared in "Taurus" have been common building blocks in western music for centuries. According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter, the jury stated that although Led Zeppelin had access to "Taurus", they knew the song. However, there are no significant similarities between the two titles.
There have been allegations of plagiarism before
The lawsuit against Led Zeppelin was brought against Mick Skidmore, administrator of the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe (1951-1997). "We are sad and disappointed, but of course we have to respect the jury's decision," said Skidmore's lawyer Francis Malofiy, according to the Wrap news website.
Because until 1976 only sheet music from pieces was protected by copyright and not original recordings, Judge Gary Klausner did not allow any sound recordings as evidence in the trial. Musicologists played the pieces off the paper for the jury, but the jury did not hear "Stairway to Heaven" and "Taurus" in the original, which plaintiff's attorney Malofiy strongly criticized.
Skidmore wanted to get Wolfe to participate in the composition of "Stairway to Heaven" in order to be able to earn future royalties. The millions made with the song remain in the hands of Led Zeppelin with the decision. The royalties on the eight-minute piece, which appeared on the LP "Led Zeppelin IV", are estimated at more than 500 million US dollars. Rolling Stone magazine put the classic at number 31 of the greatest songs of all time.
There had been allegations of plagiarism against the band before, including the hit "Whole Lotta Love". Out of court settlements were reached in each case.
dpa / acr / LTO editorial team
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