Led Zeppelin Trial: ‘Stairway To Heaven’ A Clear Plagiarism?

Led Zeppelin Trial: ‘Stairway To Heaven’ A Clear Plagiarism?
Zepplin Happybeatle2 / Wikimedia Commons cc
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Serious concerns are being presented as to whether Led Zeppelin’s most recognizable rock song, “Stairway To Heaven,” is a clear plagiarism.


After forty five years since the song’s release, the band is under trial in a federal court. The trial is about whether songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant stole one of the song’s musical phrases from an unknown instrumental by a somewhat less legendary California-based rock band Spirit.

The iconic rock duo had been going through a copyright infringement lawsuit, filed by the estate of Spirit songwriter Randy California.

The late California refuted on taking legal action against Page and bandmate Robert Plant while he was alive. However, a trustee for his estate had gone and sued the pair following the songwriter’s death.

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On Friday, Francis Malofiy, the attorney who represented the estate of the songwriter, rested his side of the case in a Los Angeles courtroom. He focused on how much money Led Zeppelin made from the track in reality.

Malofiy brought in economist Michael Einhorn to testify on the band’s profits.

According to Xpose, Einhorn took into account the figures from record sales, digital downloads, publishing agreements and other revenue streams during a recent three-year period established by copyright law.

Led Zeppelin have an excellent reputation as musical legends; however, this is not their first dispute. They have made peace out of court after different songwriters have brought several similar legal actions, over tracks including “Whole Lotta Love,” “Bring it On Home,” “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Dazed and Confused.”

According to The Independent, now that the band’s signature hit is under scrutiny, Page and Plant had made the decision to fight the case in court.

Malifoy stated that guitarist Page had stolen his song’s legendary intro from the track “Taurus” by Spirit.

The band had bought in Lawrence Ferrara, a New York University musicologist, for their defense. Ferrara believed that “Stairway to Heaven” had no significant similarities with “Taurus.”

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