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Wolfe Trust appeals Led Zeppelin song-theft ruling

By | Published on Wednesday 27 July 2016

Led Zeppelin

The man who unsuccessfully sued Led Zeppelin over allegations they ripped off another song when writing ‘Stairway To Heaven’ has lodged an appeal because, well, of course he has.

As much previously reported, the trust that benefits from the estate of the late Randy Wolfe, aka Randy California, accused Led Zeppers Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of plagiarising ‘Taurus’, a song Wolfe wrote for his band Spirit.

But in a high profile court hearing, that included testimonies from both Plant and Page, a jury decided that the two songs were not sufficiently similar to constitute copyright infringement, even though it’s possible that the Led Zeppelin men had heard ‘Taurus’ before writing ‘Stairway’.

Aside from the celebrity testimonies, the ‘Stairway’ song-theft case also stood out because of the lawyer leading the case for the Wolfe Trust, whose seemed to annoy the judge at every turn. That lawyer, Francis Malofiy, has subsequently been banned from practising law in Pennsylvania for three months because of his conduct in another copyright case.

Meanwhile Warner Music, as a co-defendant in the litigation, has since hit out at both Malofiy and the Wolfe Trust’s Michael Skidmore, accusing the two men of “extensive and ongoing litigation misconduct” which pro-longed the case and added to the cost of fighting the action. The mini-major is seeking to force the Trust to pay its legal costs.

But Skidmore, it seems, is not yet ready to put this behind him. According to Reuters, he filed notice of appeal with America’s Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals last weekend, with the court acknowledging receipt of the legal papers on Monday.

That Skidmore is appealing isn’t a surprise, though it remains to be seen what arguments are put forward in the appeal, and whether Malofiy will still be involved in the case. Though it’s thought oral arguments on Skidmore’s appeal are unlikely to take place until next year, and by that point we may be living in the Age Of Trump, and there’s a chance everyone will have bigger things to worry about by then.