Just like one of Jimmy Page’s interminable mid-70s guitar solos, it seems that the ‘Stairway To Heaven’ copyright trial is set to run and run. Or at least for a little while longer.
It did seem that the plagiarism case brought against Led Zeppelin by Michael Skidmore, the trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy California, was settled last year when a jury unanimously sided with the defunct British rockers. The case was brought about by the accusation that Led Zeppelin’s 1971 song, ‘Stairway To Heaven’ - written by singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page - sailed a little too closely to the riff of Spirit’s instrumental piece, ‘Taurus’.
Rolling Stone reports that a 90-page brief was filed by last Wednesday (March 15) at the United States Court Of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by attorney Francis Malofiy, the lawyer representing Michael Skidmore.
The appeal makes the claim that the jury didn’t find the two songs “substantially similar” because they hadn’t been played the version of ‘Taurus’ that Jimmy Page allegedly ripped off.
"The most important of these errors was that the trial court refused to let the jury hear the full and complete composition of 'Taurus' embodied in the sound recordings that Jimmy Page possessed, instead limiting the comparison to an outline of the 'Taurus' composition in the deposit copy lead sheet," Malifoy said.
Skidmore is now seeking a reversal of the original verdict and a re-trial.
Writing on his Facebook last year after the verdict in his favour was reached, Page said:
“A few weeks have passed since the judgement of the 'Stairway to Heaven' case in Los Angeles, with the jury reaching a unanimous decision in a remarkably short time.
“Throughout the lengthy journey to that verdict, and even more recently, I have received and been aware of the overwhelming wave of support, encouragement and congratulations that [have] been deeply moving.
“I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank all those who contributed such a positive energy to me."