A US jury ruled today that Led Zeppelin did not commit plagiarism in their iconic theme Stairway to Heaven, published in 1971, local media reported.
The jury deliberated for Los Angeles less than a day over allegations that the British rock band had copied part of the Taurus song of the American group Spirit. The court said that Led Zeppelin had “access” to Taurus, but considered that there were significant similarities between the two compositions, said The Hollywood Reporter.
The verdict was a victory for the frontman Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, who claimed before the court that made the issue alone and that the musical elements that share both songs are due to common blocks of composition used in western music. Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who died in 1997, had said that Led Zeppelin had heard Taurus when both groups met in the late 60s.
“We are sad and disappointed, but obviously we respect the jury’s decision,” said Wolfe representative, Francis Molofiy, according to the news website The Wrap.
The court did not allow the lawyers to pass recordings of two songs in which the similarities are clearer than in scores protected by copyright. However, during deliberations, jurors asked to listen to recordings of experts playing the songs as they appear in the scores.
It is not the first time that Led Zeppelin has been accused of plagiarism. It happened before with songs like Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Whole Lotta Love or Dazed and Confused, which was fixed with court settlements.