Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" Lawsuit Is Finally Over
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the plagiarism case
Published Oct 05, 2020One of music's longest-running lawsuits is finally over, as the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the copyright battle over Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." So yes, this means Led Zep have won the case once and for all.
Today the court announced its decision, bringing the long and confusion plagiarism case to a close over the band's iconic 1971 song. To refresh your memory, songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were accused of ripping of "Taurus" by the band Spirit, who recorded their song in 1967 and released it in 1968.
The case first started in 2014, with Led Zeppelin initially winning the case in 2016. But legal action against the group was revived on an appeal in 2018, though the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year affirmed the previous decision that "Stairway to Heaven" did not infringe "Taurus."
But since that still wasn't good enough, the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to take on the case — something it's now rejected to do.
The case against "Stairway to Heaven" was first brought to the courts by Michael Skidmore, a representative for late Spirit frontman Randy Wolfe (a.k.a. Randy California). Before Wolfe passed away in 1997, he complained about the likeness between "Taurus" and "Stairway to Heaven." Both bands had previously toured together in the late '60s.
In 2014, Page called the plagiarism accusations "ridiculous," while acknowledging that touring with Spirit may have influenced his songwriting.