The retrial of the “Stairway to Heaven” plagiarism case heads back to court on September 23rd.
Back in 2016, a jury found Zeppelin did not infringe on the copyright of an instrumental recording by the group Spirit titled “Taurus.” However, that ruling was overturned by an appeals court, which ruled that the presiding judge had erred in not allowing jurors to hear audio versions of both songs and in instructing the jury that certain musical elements found in both songs were not protected by copyright.
123 artists, including Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Korn, Heart, Tears for Fears and Nile Rodgers, have signed a court brief in support of Led Zeppelin in the upcoming rehearing of the
The artists who signed the “Friend of the Court” brief state that they will “undoubtedly be affected by the outcome” of the case. They support the claim that “no evidence was presented at the trial that there was anything particularly original” and worthy of copyright protection in “Taurus,” and that “Stairway to Heaven” has only “random similarities of commonplace musical elements” which, when removed, reveal that the two are “different melodies.”
In response, Francis A. Malofiy, the attorney representing Mike Skidmore, who filed the suit on behalf of the trust of the song’s composer, the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe (a.k.a. Randy California), responded to the brief, calling it “unimpressive and dull” and “nothing more than a blast piece for the industry.”