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The Latest on the “Stairway To Heaven” Lawsuit

We haven't heard much about the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit lately, but it's still climbing.

The group's attorneys have responded to the plaintiff's appeal of a U.S. District Court ruling that the group did not plagiarize Spirit's "Taurus" in creating its landmark "Stairway To Heaven."

The plaintiff -- Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California (nee Wolfe) -- is arguing that the District Court case was invalid because the jury was not allowed to hear an actual recording of "Taurus" to compare to "Stairway," and because the jury did determine that Zep's Jimmy Page had access to "Taurus" before writing "Stairway."

Zep attorney Peter Anderson, replying to the appeal, wrote that "substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict and Skidmore's appeal has no merit."

"Stairway" publisher Warner/Chappell, meanwhile, has filed a cross-appeal asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse have the plaintiff pay $800,000 in legal fees for defending the case; U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner turned down the publisher's request regarding the fee payment, rejecting the defense's contention that the lawsuit was frivolous and unreasonable, as Warner/Chappell attorneys contend.

The 9th Circuit has not yet decided whether to take the case or not, so stay tuned.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.