Led Zeppelin success on appeal over Stairway to Heaven riff

Such a long running copyright clash has finally come to an end, with success for Led Zeppelin.

The claim started in 2014 when the band Spirit claimed their song Taurus had been ripped off by Zeppelin.

Written in 1968, Spirit claimed that the famous opening riff of stairway to heaven had been taken from their song.

With Stairway to Heaven being written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, they had a lot to lose if the case was to go against them, likely millions of dollars damages pay-out.

When the case was tried in 2016, Michael Skidmore, who was acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe, the guitarist in Spirit who wrote Taurus, argued that Jimmy Page heard the riff when the two bands played together and took it from there when writing Stairway to Heaven.

The Court disagreed and the 2016 jury rejected the claim, stating the two songs were not sufficiently similar.

A twist came in 2018, when a new hearing was ordered by the US Circuit Court of Appeals after failings were highlighted in the last hearing.

Following the re-telling of all the evidence, the judges gave their verdict on Monday, with a majority of 9-2 in favour of the dismissal of the claim. Their decision was that Stairway to Heaven did not infringe the copyright protection of the song ‘Taurus’.

This should bring the matter to an end, but anything can happen in the world of music, so watch this space!

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