Led Zeppelin has been found not guilty of copyright infringement over the band’s song “Stairway to Heaven,” following a two-day jury deliberation in the case, Reuters reports.
The trust of deceased songwriter Randy Wolfe, otherwise known as Randy California from the band Spirit, was seeking “millions of dollars and a third of the songwriting credit” for the eight-minute Led Zeppelin anthem from 1971.
In the trial, the lawyer behind Wolfe’s estate accused the Zeppelin band members of “selective memories and convenient truths” in their testimony regarding their knowledge of the Spirit song in question, a 1968 instrumental song called “Taurus.”
In his closing statements, Led Zeppelin’s attorney, Peter Anderson, said the plaintiff failed to present adequate evidence for the copyright claims of the passage in question — which Anderson claimed to be “a common descending chord sequence in the public domain.”
Anderson also argued that the case should have been brought to trial when Wolfe was still alive and Plant and Page would have been better able to recall the song’s creation.
“How can you wait a half century and criticise people … 45 years later for the delay you caused?” Anderson said. “They should have sued in 1972.”
It looks as if it was decided on a Summary Judgment.
Even if it had gone to trial, it would have been unlikely to win.