Stairway to Litigation Part 2 – Jury Finds Led Zeppelin NOT Guilty of Copyright Infringement

Barely a day after the plaintiff and defense rested their cases in a L.A. courtroom, the jury charged with determining whether or not Led Zeppelin’s iconic “Stairway to Heaven” illegally copied portions of an instrumental song called “Taurus” by Spirit ruled in favor of the defendants and found there was no copyright infringement. Led Zep’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page – co-writers of “Stairway” – were in the courtroom for the jury’s verdict.

Based on last year’s ruling by a different jury in L.A. that Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” and a ruling by a judge decades ago that George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” infringed “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons, until today we were predicting there was a decent chance that the jury would find “Stairway” infringed “Taurus”. In part this was based on an observation that in these kinds of cases juries don’t really listen to the expert witnesses but instead substitute their own “Do I think they sound alike?” standard and our sense that the defense expert in the “Stairway” case lost all credibility when he opined that “Stairway” just borrowed public domain riffs such as those found in “Michelle” by the Beatles and “Chim Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins.