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Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page & Robert Plant to face jury in Stairway To Heaven lawsuit

The rock legends are accused of copyright infringement over their 1971 masterpiece.

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have been ordered to appear in court over allegations that parts of their seminal classic ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were lifted from another song.

Last Friday US District Judge Gary Klausner ruled that Led Zeppelin’s 1971 song had substantial similarities to the 1967 instrumental track ‘Taurus’ by Los Angeles psychedelic rockers Spirit.

The judge’s claim that there are parallels between the tracks means that ‘Stairway To Heaven’ writers Page and Plant will appear before a jury at the Central District California Court on Tuesday 10th May on grounds of copyright infringement.

Klauser said: "While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure.

"What remains is a subjective assessment of the 'concept and feel' of two works, a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury."

The lawsuit was raised by the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California, who drowned in the Pacific Ocean 1997 at the age of 45 while attempting to rescue his son.

Seeking a co-writing credit, Michael Skidmore representing California’s estate says that the two bands toured the US together in 1968 and 1969 when Page and Plant could have drawn inspiration from the track.

According to Skidmore’s lawsuit, California had claimed that ‘Stairway To Heaven’ borrowed from ‘Taurus’ before his untimely death.

Francis Malofiy, a lawyer for Skidmore, said: “This case has always been about giving credit where credit was due. Now we get to right that wrong.”

Led Zeppelin have refuted the claims saying the chord progression is so well used it doesn't deserve legal protection.

When Skidmore first sought a lawsuit in May 2014, Jimmy Page blasted the claims as “ridiculous.”

He added in February of this year: “Prior to hearing a recording of Taurus in 2014 in connection with this matter, I have never heard Taurus or even heard of it. I am very good at remembering music and am absolutely certain that I never heard Taurus' until 2014.”

Take a listen to 'Taurus' below:

And if you need a reminder, here's Stairway:

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