Led Zeppelin have defeated the copyright challenge against ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for the third time, after the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
The decision of the US Supreme Court upholds a March ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. This is the last option for legal appeal in its current form in the US Courts system.
Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California, first filed a lawsuit against the British band in 2014.
He claimed that their 1971 hit ‘Stairway To Heaven’ had violated the copyright of Spirit’s 1968 track ‘Taurus’.
However, a judge ruled in favour of Led Zeppelin in July 2016. A new trial was later ordered by the US appeals court in September 2018.
Skidmore relaunched his legal campaign in August via a new petition on Law360. The Spirit guitarist’s estate argued in a statement that “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.”
In other Zeppelin news, the band announced a special, limited edition vinyl reissue of their single ‘Immigrant Song’ to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of their album ‘Led Zeppelin III’ yesterday (October 5).
Back in July, guitarist Jimmy Page spoke once again on the future of the band, admitting that it’s “really unlikely” that Led Zeppelin will ever reunite to go on tour again.
“At the time of the O2 [their one-off 2007 reunion show at The O2 in London], we thought — myself, John Paul Jones and Jason [Bonham] — that there was going to; it was said that there were gonna be some more dates,” Page said.
“It would’ve been really good to have done that after the O2, ‘cos we’d put a lot of work into the O2 and we were really on it, y’know? But it didn’t come off.”