Skip to content

Led Zeppelin Lands Big Win in Copyright Suit Over ‘Stairway to Heaven’

16th September 1970: Three of the four members of British heavy rock group Led Zeppelin in Embankment Gardens, London. They pushed the Beatles down to number two, taking the Best British Group award at the Melody Maker Pop Polls today at the Savoy Hotel. They are, from left to right; singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham. (Photo by Ian Showell/Keystone/Getty Images)

Led Zeppelin had a big win in the latest chapter to the ongoing copyright suit that was filed against them by the estate of former Spirit guitarist Randy California which said that “Stairway to Heaven” infringed on Spirit’s 1968 song “Taurus.”

Today, a ruling written by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the previous 2016 jury verdict by the district court. “We affirm the district court’s entry of judgment in favor of Led Zeppelin and other parties,” it read.

The decision overturned the “inverse ratio rule,” which has been the precedent that the courts have been governed by for the past 43 years. The most famous instance of this is the 2015 ruling concerning “Blurred Lines.”

In 2014, a trustee for the estate of California sued Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement. The lawsuit alleged that “Stairway to Heaven” didn’t credit “Taurus.” The case went to trial in 2016, ruling in Zeppelin’s favor.