Led Zeppelin has hit a bum note in the lawsuit over its mega-hit “Stairway to Heaven.”
The group has lost a bid to obtain further information in a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that “Stairway” infringes on the Spirit song “Taurus.”
Attorneys for the band had sought information on the Randy Craig Wolfe trust, of which plaintiff Michael Skidmore serves as trustee. (Randy Craig Wolfe was the given name of Randy California, a founding member of Spirit and author of “Taurus.” Wolfe died in 1997.)
Team Zep had claimed that the Wolfe trust is only valid if it is a qualified charitable foundation or other qualified entity, and claims that Skidmore’s legal team hasn’t provided evidence to that effect. Zeppelin’s lawyers asked Skidmore’s team to provide proof, such as Internal Revenue Service notices or correspondence.
But on Friday, U.S. magistrate judge Alicia G. Rosenberg sided with Skidmore on the matter.
“Defendants do not explain the relevance of the requested documents to the ownership inquiry” under the cited U.S. Code, Rosenberg found, “or how such discovery is proportional to the needs of the case.”
In papers filed by Skidmore’s legal team earlier this month, Zeppelin was accused of undertaking a “pure fishing expedition.”
“There is no evidence to cast even the slightest bit of shade on the validity of the Trust, nor have Defendants argued that there is any real reason to doubt the validity of the Trust,” the papers read.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.