Led Zeppelin and their “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit will get another hearing in 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit will be heard again before the court, but this time it will be en banc (before all judges of the court) instead of the previous three-judge panel. The hearing is currently scheduled for the week of September 23.
The second hearing is the result of a September 2018 decision from the 9th Circuit Court that overturned a 2016 verdict that ruled Zeppelin did not steal parts of their iconic “Stairway to Heaven” from the 1968 track “Taurus” from the band Spirit due to “erroneous and prejudicial” jury instructions that included the U.S. district court not allowing “Taurus” to be played during the trial.
The original lawsuit was brought on by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California (real name Randy Wolfe) who wrote “Taurus.” Zeppelin’s defense argued that the descending four-chord progression on “Taurus” was common and not subject to copyright protection, thus proving Zeppelin didn’t rip off Spirit.
This whole copyright lawsuit, however, was made possible thanks to Zeppelin’s recent catalog reissue campaign. Per Business Insider, copyright infringement claims must be made “within three years after the claim accrued.” Even though Led Zeppelin IV, which contained “Stairway To Heaven,” was released on November 8, 1971, its re-release on October 27, 2014 created a new master recording, thus, the grounds for the California estate to make their claims.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.