Rock group Led Zeppelin win 'Stairway to Heaven' lawsuit

It was claimed the group had plagiarised a riff from an instrumental work

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven, lawsuit, Los Angeles, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Michael Skidmore, Randy Wolfe, Taurus

File photo of (left to right) John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zepplin | Image: Ian West / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Los Angeles jury has found unanimously Led Zeppelin did not steal the intro to rock anthem 'Stairway to Heaven.'

A lawsuit contended the 1971 mega-hit had plagiarised a riff from an instrumental work called 'Taurus', written by the band Spirit in 1967.

Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones testified in the week-long trial to deny the claims.

The case was brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Randy Wolfe, who was Spirit's guitarist and composer of 'Taurus'.

Mr Skidmore said the two bands toured together in 1968 and 1969 and this could have been when Page was inspired to write 'Stairway To Heaven'.

According to Mr Skidmore's lawsuit, Wolfe had complained about the similarity between the two songs not long before he drowned in 1997 while attempting to rescue his son.

Plant and Page, however, said Wolfe was a songwriter for hire and, therefore, had no claim to copyright.

They also say the chord progressions in Stairway To Heaven were too well-known for such protection.

'Stairway To Heaven' has earned Led Zeppelin hundreds of millions of euro and is one of the most successful rock songs of all time.

But the British rockers often drew inspiration from other groups and some of these have resulted in legal challenges.

As a result, the band has already been forced to alter the credits and pay portions of their royalties for songs such as 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' and 'Whole Lotta Love'.

Last year Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay Marvin Gaye's family millions of dollars after a court ruled their hit 'Blurred Lines' infringed the copyright of his song 'Got To Give It Up'.