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Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Case Is Returning to Trial

1968: Rock band "Led Zeppelin" poses for a portrait in 1968. (L-R) John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones. (P0hoto by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In 2014, a trustee for the estate of former Spirit guitarist Randy California sued Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement. The lawsuit alleged that Zeppelin’s 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” improperly credited Spirit’s 1968 instrumental track “Taurus.” The case eventually went to trial in 2016, eventually ruling in Zeppelin’s favor. Now the case is heading back to trial.

According to new reports from the Associated Press, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has now ruled that the Los Angeles judge “provided erroneous jury instruction” during the first trial. The three-judge panel has ruled unanimously that the lower court acted erroneously, and that the case should be sent back to the court for another trial. According to reports from the Los Angeles Times, the 9th circuit court “should have told the jury that the selection and arrangements of some musical elements can violate copyright law.”