According to Courthouse News, an appeal has been filed in the case of the federal copyright infringement lawsuit claiming the opening to LED ZEPPELIN‘s 1971 classic “Stairway To Heaven” was a rip-off of the 1968 instrumental song “Taurus”.
Michael Skidmore, the trustee of “Taurus” songwriter Randy “California” Wolfe‘s estate, had brought the claims more than four decades after “Stairway To Heaven” appeared on LED ZEPPELIN‘s untitled album, better known as “Led Zeppelin IV”.
A Los Angeles jury deliberated for about five hours before deciding unanimously in favor of LED ZEPPELIN.
The verdict in the LED ZEPPELIN case came down within 15 minutes of the jury’s request to re-listen to both SPIRIT‘s “Taurus” and “Stairway To Heaven”. They wanted to hear a section of each song twice, alternating from one to the other. They decided that what they heard wasn’t substantially similar enough to call it copyright infringement.
Immediately following the verdict, LED ZEPPELIN‘s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant released a statement saying that they were glad to see the issue resolved.
“We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years,” they said. “We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.”
Plaintiff’s attorney Francis Malofiy later claimed he lost his case on a technicality, insisting that it was unfair the jury was unable to listen to the sound recording of “Taurus” and instead was limited to hearing an expert performance of the registered sheet music.
Skidmore filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit over the weekend, on July 23.
“Please take notice that Plaintiff Michael Skidmore, Trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from the final judgment entered on June 23, 2016, as well as any and all interlocutory rulings, decisions, and orders that gave rise to the judgment and are merged therein,” the notice of appeal reads.
Malofiy received over a hundred sustained objections and “multiple admonishments” during the ZEPPELIN trial, with the band’s publishing company Warner/Chappell Music filing documents earlier in the month asking the judge to order the plaintiffs to pay over $613,000 in costs for defending against the lawsuit. “I’d be surprised it they don’t get them,” William Hochberg, an intellectual property lawyer with Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg.