Artist News Business News Legal

Led Zep song-theft accusers say they would settle for a dollar

By | Published on Thursday 28 April 2016

Led Zeppelin

The lawyers leading the litigation against Led Zeppelin over the allegations ‘Stairway To Heaven’ is a rip off of an earlier track have again stressed that the case is primarily about securing the late Randy California a credit on the Led Zep song. To that end, the lawyers say they’d be happy to settle for one dollar if that co-credit could be agreed.

Of course, a co-credit on the song would presumably equate to co-ownership of the copyright, so the dollar settlement isn’t as generous as it sounds. The Randy Craig Wolfe Trust would presumably want a cut of all future royalties generated by the famous song, as well as back payments as far as the statute of limitations on a case of this kind would allow.

As previously reported, the Zeppelin are accused of ripping off a song written by California, aka Randy Craig Wolfe. Led Zep toured with Wolfe’s band Spirit in the late 1960s which – the lawsuit claims – is when they were exposed to his song ‘Taurus’. The litigation, filed by a lawyer called Francis Malofiy on behalf of the Wolfe Trust, claims that the band then lifted elements of ‘Taurus’ when writing ‘Stairway To Heaven’.

Led Zeppers Robert Plant and Jimmy Page deny those allegations, and their lawyers successfully got the case against them streamlined earlier this week ahead of the jury trial which is scheduled for next month.

There are increasing parallels between this case and last year’s mega ‘Blurred Lines’ litigation, in that the judge has told the plaintiffs that they can only present the published version of ‘Taurus’ in court, and not recordings that contain extra bits n pieces added in the studio. It may be the extra bits n pieces where the similarities between the two songs lie.

In another parallel to the ‘Blurred Lines’ case, Plant and Page argue that any similarities between the two songs are simply common musical structures that can be found in countless works. Though the Led Zep team will be hoping that that’s where the crossovers with the ‘Blurred Lines’ case end, given that that argument ultimately failed for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

Either way, speaking after this week’s developments in the case, Malofiy told reporters: “[This case has] always been about credit where credit is due”.