Zeppelin Case In The Hands Of The Jury

The Led Zeppelin "Stairway To Heaven" plagiarism case is now in the hands of the jury.

Testimony ended Wednesday (June 22) with closing statements by attorneys for both sides -- which got nasty enough that U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner labeled them "catfights."

The issue is whether the jury feels Zep's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant knowingly stole portions of the 1968 Spirit instrumental "Taurus" for "Stairway's" opening, as the estate of the late Spirit leader Randy California (nee Wolfe) contends. Page and Plant have, of course, denied the allegation.

Plaintiff's attorney Francis Malofiy contended that "it's not a coincidence" the two songs share similar chord progressions and asked the jury to "give credit where credit is due" by awarding a one-third songwriting credit for California.

As for Page and Plant, Malofiy said that giving California credit "doesn't minimize their amazing contribution to the song.

Zep attorney Peter Anderson pointed out that since the California estate does not own the copyright to "Taurus" it should not be eligible for compensation for "Stairway."

He also took potshots at Spirit's legacy, telling the jury that "'I Got a Line On You' may be the only song that we remember, if we remember any of them."

Jury deliberations will continue today (June 23).

 

Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.