The copyright-infringement lawsuit alleging that Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven” was partly ripped off from the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus” went to the jury for deliberation today after lawyers for both sides gave their closing argument.
Among the points made by attorney Francis Malofiy, who represents the estate of late Spirit frontman Randy California, were that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were familiar with “Taurus” and that “Stairway to Heaven” was substantially similar to the tune. He maintained that California, whose birth name was Randy Wolfe, deserves one-third of the writing credit for “Stairway” and that damages should be between $3 million and $13.5 million.
Led Zeppelin’s lawyer, Peter Anderson, argued that the plaintiff didn’t prove that the British rockers copied “Taurus” when writing “Stairway to Heaven,” while claiming that the descending chromatic lines shared by both songs are featured in numerous older tunes that are in the public domain.
Other points Anderson brought up were that “Taurus” and “Stairway to Heaven” sound like two separate songs when superimposed, and although Page admitted to owning some Spirit albums there was no evidence that he had them prior to writing the music for “Stairway.” He also maintained that the amount of damages the plaintiff is seeking is misleading and outside the statute of limitations.
After the lawyers’ statements the judge gave the jury members instructions regarding their deliberations.
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