As might be expected, the plaintiff's side in the Led Zeppelin "Stairway To Heaven" plagiarism suit is not taking its defeat quietly.
After Los Angeles U.S. District Court jurors ruled in favor of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and determined they did not steal the Spirit instrumental "Taurus" -- as was claimed by the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California (nee Wolfe) -- attorney Francis Malofiy issued a statement calling the verdict "disappointing" and saying that Led Zep "won on a technicality" based on Judge R. Gary Klausner's rulings during the trial.
Malofiy's fulls statement reads:
"Justice is about the search for the truth; it escaped us."
"For Led Zeppelin, they won on a technicality - they should be proud of that."
"For Plaintiff the jury's verdict is disappointing, but largely determined by one ruling of the court: Plaintiff was not permitted to play the album recording of Taurus, which Jimmy Page had in his record collection. This ruling, which limited Plaintiff to using the sheet music deposited in the Copyright Office, effectively tied our hands behind our back. Needless to say, we do not believe it is legally correct or logically sound."
"In essence, this case was tried in an alternate reality. The jury never heard the album recording of Taurus that Jimmy Page heard and used to create Stairway to Heaven. Instead it heard a very basic piece of sheet music that no one, including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, had ever seen. It was an artificial comparison that bore little relation to the reality of the claim."
"It is important to realize, however, that the jury agreed very clearly with Plaintiff that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had access to Taurus, and discounted their denials that they had never heard Taurus before. For Led Zeppelin the case was about their legacy and reputation; for Randy California it was about credit. In this regard, neither party won."
"Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant."
"Here there was injustice."
There's no word yet on whether the California estate plans to appeal the verdict.
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.