Led Zeppelin has finally triumphed in a long-standing copyright dispute regarding their iconic album, Stairway to Heaven.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the lawsuit presented against them by Randy Wolfe's father, the late frontman of Spirit's American band.
If the rock band had lost the court battle, they should have been required to pay back all the revenue the album that amounted to more than $3.4 million. That's the total amount Stairway to Heaven approximately earned during the five years at issue during the trial.
Copycat who? Who's copying who?
Led Zeppelin allegedly took the opening notes from Spirit's song Taurus to Stairway to Heaven. The complainant claimed that the iconic band "heard" Spirit's music in 1970 while performing with Spirit in Birmingham. Guitarist Jimmy Page countered that he had "lived around forever" with the chord sequence, yet he had never seen Taurus before.
The court convicted Led Zeppelin of plagiarism after a six-day trial in 2016. The jury dismissed the argument that the song was not recognizable to Page and frontman Robert Plant. It also existed in Page's broad album collection-but considered the two pieces to be "not inherently identical."
The counsel for Wolfe's estate, Francis Malofiy, told Fox Business that the band prevailed on technicality. According to them, the jury was supposedly not permitted to listen to the album, but only checked the written score sent to the U.S. Agency for Copyright.
"This lawsuit was about giving credit where credit was due: We accomplished that goal," the attorney said.
The decision was reversed in 2018 when it was discovered that the judge made a mistake in the first case. The officer argued that copyright was not covered by "descending chromatic scales, arpeggios or short sequences of three lines." It was often found an error because the jurors in court had not performed Taurus.
The lawsuit went down, but the U.S. court of appeals reversed the March 2016 decision just this year. The U.S. Supreme Court, whose suspension of the case implies that it has officially concluded, was the last available option for Wolfe's trustee party.
Aside from a short speech in 2016 to thank the jurors, Page and Plant did not elaborate on the decision or prior rulings.
Randy Wolfe died, right? Who took over for his part?
Michael Skidmore, Wolfe's trustee, brought the lawsuit on behalf of his late friend in 2014. They long claimed that he received recognition for "Stairway." His friend, Randy Wolfe, drowned in 1997. They never sought a legal action over the album.
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Page, though, said that he had no knowledge of the evening, possibly because of a car accident on the road back home. Meanwhile, guitarist Jimmy Page said he hadn't heard the album until 2020 when people began creating online similarities.
The descending pattern used for both songs was commonly used in music, musicologists claimed.
In general, Stairway to Heaven is considered one of the greatest rock songs in music history. It was included on the band's untitled 1971 album, not officially issued as a song, which went on to sell more than 37 million copies worldwide.