A jury ruled that Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page did not plagiarize their 1971 song “Stairway to Heaven” in a ruling handed down Thursday in a Los Angeles federal court room. Now, the famed British musicians have issued a statement responding to the verdict.
“We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years,” Page and Plant said in the joint statement. “We appreciate our fans’ support, and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.”
Zeppelin’s label, Warner Music Group, also commented on the ruling, noting it was “pleased that the jury found in favor of Led Zeppelin” and calling Page and Plant “peerless songwriters who created many of rock’s most influential and enduring songs.”
The trial revolved around whether Led Zeppelin lifted elements from “Taurus,” a 1968 song by the band Spirit, when writing “Stairway to Heaven.” Zeppelin and Spirit shared bills multiple times between the release of “Taurus” and “Stairway to Heaven,” but the eight-person jury ruled that the “original elements of Spirit’s song are not extrinsically similar” to the Zeppelin classic.
Francis Malofiy, the attorney acting on behalf of Spirit’s estate, said Page and Plant “won on a technicality” and decried the decision not to play “Taurus” for the jury. “The jury’s sitting there with basically blinders on without ever having the opportunity of hearing the evidence at issue,” he told reporters at the Los Angeles courthouse where the trial took place. Malofiy vowed to appeal the decision.
“It was all skewed in Led Zeppelin’s favor,” plaintiff Michael Skidmore, a trustee of the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, said during a presser. “All I can say is money talks louder than common sense. We did the right thing. We tried to carry on Randy’s legacy.”