Los Angeles: A US jury found Thursday that British rock group Led Zeppelin did not steal the intro to their signature track “Stairway to Heaven” from a long-defunct Los Angeles rock band.
The jury in federal court in Los Angeles rejected claims by songwriting duo Robert Plant and Jimmy Page that they had no access to “Taurus,” by the 1960s psychedelic five-piece Spirit.
But the panel of four men and four women said there was no proof that the two songs were sufficiently similar for Spirit´s copyright to have been breached.
Plant and Page denied plagiarizing the melancholic guitar progression of their classic 1971 song from “Taurus,” an instrumental track from Spirit´s debut album, written four years earlier.
Both men — who have attended every day of the trial in sober, dark suits, their hair tied back in ponytails — remained expressionless as they were exonerated.
The jury came to its unanimous verdict shortly after Judge Gary Klausner had agreed to their request to hear acoustic guitar renditions of “Taurus” and “Stairway” played side-by-side for a final time.
It was the culmination of a seven-day trial in the case brought by Michael Skidmore, the trustee and friend of Spirit guitarist Randy California, who long maintained he deserved credit for “Stairway” but drowned in 1997 having never taken legal action over the song.
Skidmore´s attorney Francis Malofiy told reporters the plaintiff and his team were “disappointed and upset.”
He criticized the court´s decision to allow the jury to hear only acoustic renditions of the disputed parts of the songs, rather than the original recordings.
“We have to respect the jury´s decision in light of the evidence shown. We proved access but the jury never heard what (Plant and Page) had access to,” he said.
Asked if Skidmore would consider appealing, Malofiy said his legal team would take decisions on any future action “one step at a time.”
Courtesy : TheNews