Led Zepplin Ordered to Appear in Court for Copyright Lawsuit
Robert Plant and Jimmy Paige back in the good old days.
From BBC News, A US court ruled that Robert Plant and Jimmy Paige must face trial due to copyright row over the iconic song, “Stairway to Heaven” . The song was released in 1971 and ever since then has been proclaimed as one of the greatest rock compositions of all time. What could possibly have landed these two in a lawsuit? Well the story goes a little something like this:
Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who played on the same bill as Led Zeppelin in the 1960s, and claims he should be given a writing credit on the track. However, Paige and Plant said they wrote the song in a cottage in Wales. Skidmore claims Paige and Plant heard him play the instrumental pieced called Taurus back in 1968 and 1969 while both bands, Spirit and Led Zepplin used to tour together. Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971. See how this gets complicated? A US district Judge, Gary Klausner, said he heard enough similarities in the four chord instrumental to proceed with a lawsuit. The judge is quoted ”
“While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure,” Judge Klausner ruled.
“What remains is a subjective assessment of the ‘concept and feel’ of two works… a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury.” – US district Judge Gary Klausner
Now, if the Judge rules in Skidmore’s favor, he will only receive 50% of the royalties based on a contract Randy Wolfe wrote. Not sure why it has taken this long, but can you imagine 50% of the royalties would be? I included
I included YouTube video of a comparison of the two chords and you can determine for yourself.
The trial has been set for May 10th. It will be curious to see where this staircase leads.