Led Zeppelin have once again defeated copyright claims on their iconic song ‘Stairway To Heaven’ after another appeal launched has been successfully overcome as the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
The decision from the US Supreme Court once again means Led Zeppelin have been cleared of any copyright infringement with the court upholding a decision by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco who ruled for Zeppelin back in March.
This was the last option for a legal appeal against the ruling and means that this case has finally been put to bed. It has been six long years in the making after Michael Skidmore, a trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy California’s, launched the lawsuit in 2014.
In that claim, he suggested that Led Zeppelin’s most famous song, the 1971 smash ‘Stairway To Heaven’, had breached the copyright of Spirit’s song from three years prior titled, ‘Taurus’. After a judge ruled in favour of Zeppelin in 2016, it was then taken to the US appeals court in 2018.
Skidmore once again relaunched his legal campaign in August via a new petition on Law360. He and California’s estate issued a statement after March’s ruling saying: “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.”
Below, you can listen to both songs and make up your own mind.