24 June, 2016 - NME.com
The lawyer who argued that Led Zeppelin copied ‘Stairway To Heaven’ from his client’s band Spirit has reacted angrily after losing their court case.
Yesterday (June 23), a jury ruled that ‘Stairway To Heaven’ didn’t copy its intro from Spirit’s 1968 song ‘Taurus’ after a five-day trial in Los Angeles.
But Spirit’s lawyer Francis Malofiy said the decision was not ‘legally correct or logically sound’ following the verdict. Malofiy said it was unfair that the recordings of ‘Taurus’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ by both bands weren’t allowed to be played in court. Instead, a music expert performed the songs based on their original sheet music.
Malofiy told Rolling Stone: “Led Zeppelin won on a technicality. They should be proud of that. The jury’s verdict is disappointing, but largely determined by one ruling of the court: Plaintiff was not permitted to play the album recording of ‘Taurus,’ which Jimmy Page had in his record collection. This ruling, which limited Plaintiff to using the sheet music deposited in the Copyright Office, effectively tied our hands behind our back. Needless to say, we do not believe it is legally correct or logically sound.”
Malofiy added that the sheet music played in court hadn’t been seen by anyone involved in the case, including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who testified in court that the song had been written at Hampshire stately home Headley Grange, based on Plant’s love of Celtic mythology and pastoral Britain.
Malofiy said: “In essence, this case was tried in an alternate reality. The jury never heard the album recording of 'Taurus' that Jimmy Page heard and used to create 'Stairway to Heaven’.”
The jury heard four demo tapes of Page writing the music for the song, including segments where he taught bassist John Paul Jones the 1971 song’s melody.