Attorneys representing late rocker Randy California are offering to settle a potentially lucrative copyright-infringement lawsuit brought against Led Zeppelin over the band’s classic song “Stairway to Heaven” for just one dollar — but there’s a catch.
According to Bloomberg News, the lawyers are asking for Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to give California a writing credit on the tune, in exchange for foregoing a court trial that currently is scheduled to start on May 10 in Los Angeles.
The songwriting credit would result in California’s estate being entitled to a share of future earnings that “Stairway to Heaven” brings in, and also may mean that the estate could be in line for a percentage of back royalties.
“It’s always been about credit where credit is due,” said attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy at a pre-trial hearing held Monday in L.A. The lawsuit, which Malofiy filed on behalf of the administrator of California’s trust, claims that the opening riff of “Stairway to Heaven” was based on a guitar part from “Taurus,” a song by Randy’s old band Spirit.
Lawyers for Led Zeppelin contend that the band members should not be liable for copyright infringement because the riffs of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Taurus” both feature a musical structure that has commonly appeared in songs for centuries.
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