Led Zeppelin Seeks Dismissal of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Lawsuit

Suit claims the rock classic was lifted from Spirit’s “Taurus”

Last Updated: September 18, 2014 @ 6:23 PM

Led Zeppelin isn’t buying the lawsuit brought against it over the smash hit “Stairway to Heaven.”

The surviving members of the group have filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, according to court papers filed Wednesday and obtained by TheWrap.

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The motion argues that the suit, filed in federal court in eastern Pennsylvania, should be dropped on jurisdictional grounds. Or, as an alternative, the suit should be moved to federal court in California.

The surviving members of the group — singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones — filed declarations in support of the motion, stating that they had never been residents of Pennsylvania, nor do they own property in the state. The last time the trio performed in Pennsylvania as Led Zeppelin, for a Live Aid charity concert, was in 1985, according to the declarations.

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The band is being sued by Michael Skidmore, the trustee for trust of Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe, who performed under the name Randy California and died in 1997.

The suit, filed in May, alleges that the iconic guitar riff that begins the 1971 rock anthem is a ripoff of the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.” Led Zeppelin had played with Taurus on an early tour.

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The copyright infringement lawsuit seeks statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement, plus “[c]ompensatory damages for all losses, together with interest, costs and delay damages” and “[d]efendants’ profits in an amount according to proof at trial.”

Allegations of song theft are nothing new for Led Zeppelin. In 1985, the group was sued over its song “Whole Lotta Love,” which allegedly pilfered from the Willie Dixon song “You Need Love.” That case was settled out of court.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.