Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Dispute May Head Back to Court, Band Already Won Twice
Despite Led Zeppelin twice winning their court battle over alleged copyright infringement concerning "Stairway to Heaven," the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review the earlier decisions in a newly-filed petition per Law360.
It has been levied by Michael Skidmore, trustee of Randy "California" Wolfe of the band Spirit, that Led Zeppelin ripped off the Spirit song "Taurus." In June of 2016, a Los Angeles jury unanimously ruled in Led Zeppelin's favor, though it was later deemed that errors had been made during the hearing, sending it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018. Then, earlier this year, the 2016 trial verdict was upheld.
Even so, Skidmore remains determined to bring the case back to court for another trial, having filed a petition for a writ of certiorari (a request for a Supreme Court review of a lower court's decision). In the petition (via Blabbermouth), Wolfe's estate wrote,
The [Ninth Circuit] opinion is a disaster for the creatives whose talent is often preyed upon. By the same token, it is a gift to the music industry and its attorneys — enthusiastically received — by a circuit whose own judge once observed: 'Our circuit is the most hostile to copyright owners of all the circuits.'
The 'court of appeals for the Hollywood Circuit' has finally given Hollywood exactly what it has always wanted: a copyright test which it cannot lose. Portending what is to come, in the days following the decision's filing multiple major copyright rulings have already dramatically favoured industry defendants. The proverbial canary in the coal mine has died; it remains to be seen if the miners have noticed.
Even if Led Zeppelin were still together and actively performing, it's possible the band wouldn't even be playing the song live. Late last year singer Robert Plant says he doesn't relate to the lyrics anymore.
See Led Zeppelin in the 20 Best Selling Hard Rock + Metal Albums in the U.S.