In the latest filings in this ongoing suit, super group Led Zeppelin is being accused of undertaking “a pure fishing expedition” by the attorneys representing the estate of rock band Spirit’s guitarist Randy California (Wolfe) in the battle over copyright-infringement against Zeppelin over the classic track “Stairway To Heaven”.
The lawsuit claims that Zeppelin’s acoustic introduction to 1971’s “Stairway To Heaven” was directly lifted from Spirit’s 1968 instrumental called “Taurus”.
Online magazine The Wrap has reported that attorneys for plaintiff Michael Skidmore–who is the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust–slammed Led Zeppelin for questioning the validity of the trust in papers filed by Zeppelin’s lawyers last Tuesday.
“There is no evidence to cast even the slightest bit of shade on the validity of the Trust, nor have Defendants argued that there is any real reason to doubt the validity of the Trust,” the papers read. “This is a pure fishing expedition.”
In response, Led Zeppelin’s attorneys contend that the Wolfe Trust is only valid if it is a qualified charitable foundation or other qualified entity. They also claim that Skidmore’s legal team hasn’t provided evidence to that effect.
Attorneys for plaintiff Michael Skidmore are seeking statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement, plus “[c]ompensatory damages for all losses, together with interest, costs and delay damages” and “[d]efendants’ profits in an amount according to proof at trial.”
For Led Zeppelin, alleged song theft is nothing new for the band. In 1985, Zeppelin were sued over it’s song “Whole Lotta Love”, which was allegedly lifted from the Willie Dixon song “You Need Love”. That case was eventually settled out of court.
Check out the two tracks side by side below, what do you think?