Copyright Infringement Case Against Led Zeppelin Scheduled for Trial in June
May 11, 2016 08:24 AM EDT
Last month, federal judge in Los Angeles moved the case to trial. Led Zeppelin was accused of copyright infringement for its epic song 'Stairway to Heaven.' The plaintiff is Michael Skidmore, the trustee for Randy Craig Wolfe from The Spirit, who accused the band infringed the Spirit song entitled 'Taurus.'
Randy Craig Wolfe is a deceased frontman of Spirit, an American psychedelic rock band who formed the band in 1967 with four other members. He made the first allegation several years ago and now it has come to trial as Led Zeppelin preferred not to settle. According to The Guardian, Led Zeppelin's decision not to settle carried signiicant risk, as Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams were ordered to pay $7.2 million to Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement.
In the last year's decision, court ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams pilfered some parts of Marvin Gaye's song 'Got to Give It Up' in their hits 'Blurred Lines.' The court ruling is being appealed.
Many artists have also made undisclosed payoffs to avoid judgements. Since according to The Guardian, when the plagiarism case escalated to trial, musicians will spend more time in court than on the road.
In the Led Zeppelin case, the band was accused of plagiarism of 1968's instrumental song 'Taurus' in the opening chords for their 1971's hit 'Stairway to Heaven.' Francis Alexander Malofiy of the Francis Alexander law firm who represent Randy Craig Wolfe told Bloomberg that Led Zeppelin filched the iconic arpeggio from his client's band.
"They're the greatest cover band of all history," he said in a comment about the band he once admired.
In order to find the fact, Malofiy traced the song back almost 50 years. When Spirit released Taurus in 1968, Led Zeppelin was just formed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham in London. In their first US concert, they played with Spirit in Denver.
It is not clear whether the band heard Taurus at that time or in any other occassion. However, three years later in 1971, Led Zeppelin released 'Stairway to Heaven' with an opening chords mimic the ones from Taurus.
Meanwhile, lawyer for Robert Plant and Jimmy Page claimed that they were prevented from deposing music experts in the trials as The Wrap reported. The lawyers said judge should intervene, or else their side will be "substantially prejudiced by proceeding to trial without the ability to depose plaintiff's experts as to the new reports."
As federal judge in Los Angeles ruled to move the lawsuit to trial, it will begin in June. In the lawsuit, Michael Skidmore as the trustee for Randy Craig Wolfe accused the band of filching the music from Spirit in their hit 'Stairway to Heaven.'