9th Circuit Sides With Zep on 'Stairway' Appeal
Led Zeppelin. By Happybeatle2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

9th Circuit Sides With Zep on ‘Stairway’ Appeal

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SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess) — On Monday, a U.S. appeals court reinstated a jury verdict that Led Zepplin did not steal the guitar riff from their iconic hit “Stairway to Heaven” from an older song.

In a 9-2 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “Stairway” did not infringe on a previous work “Taurus” which was written by Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe.

In 2016, a jury ruled that the songs were not sufficiently similar to merit the claims of Wolfe’s estate but the verdict was appealed after attorneys for the estate argued that the jury should have been allowed to hear “Taurus.”

The case was considered a bellwether with wide-ranging ramifications for modern copyright law due to its generous interpretation of the copyrightability of chord progressions.

Wolfe, who performed as Randy California, died in 1997. His estate alleged that Led Zeppelin’s Robert Page wrote ‘Stairway’ possibly after hearing Wolfe perform “Taurus” while the bands were on tour together.

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