Led Zeppelin Accused of ‘Hiding Out’ by ‘Stairway’ Plaintiff

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have been slapped with a copyright infringement claim over their biggest hit

Led Zeppelin
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Forget buying a stairway to heaven — Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are beating a path away from the courthouse. At least that’s the claim of the lawyer representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit over Led Zeppelin’s iconic 1971 song “Stairway to Heaven.”

Francis Malofiy, the attorney representing Michael Skidmore in a copyright infringement lawsuit, told TheWrap in a statement that Zeppelin duo Page and Plant are “hiding out” in an effort to avoid actually appearing at the trial, which is slated to begin May 10.

“They are hiding out in the misty mountains in Middle Earth behind counsel and a team of lawyers and quite frankly they’re gaming the system,” Malofiy said. “They’re refusing to appear at trial.”

The attorney added, “If there was nothing to be afraid of, they wouldn’t be hiding.”

Skidmore, the trustee for Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe — a.k.a. Randy California, who died in 1997 — filed suit in May 2014, claiming that Zeppelin’s song infringes on the Spirit tune “Taurus,” recorded in 1967.

Earlier this month, federal judge R. Gary Klausner made way for the trial to proceed after shooting down Zeppelin’s motion for summary judgment in the case. Klausner noted a”substantial similarity” between the two songs, and further noted that Spirit and Led Zeppelin “performed at the same venue on the same day at least three times between 1968 and 1970” and at a 1969 festival on different days.

In papers filed earlier, Page denied having heard “Taurus” before the lawsuit was brought against him, though he did discover a copy of the first Spirit album, which contains “Taurus,” in his record collection. The guitarist speculated that the album “may well have been left by a guest.”

Court papers filed on Monday indicated that references to Led Zeppelin’s use of drugs and alcohol will be excluded from the trial.