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A 'Stairway to Heaven' Appeal Would be a Fruitless Climb, Attorneys Say

June 23, 2016Article
Billboard

Rock 'n' roll history remains intact: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are still the only writers credited with Led Zeppelin's iconic "Stairway to Heaven," and top music lawyers aren't surprised that a jury on Thursday cleared them of a copyright infringement claim.

It's a case nearly half a century in the making, and it may not be over yet. Plaintiff's attorney Francis Malofiy says he lost his case on a technicality and indicated he may appeal the verdict. Malofiy says it's unfair the jury was unable to listen to the sound recording of Spirit's 1968 instrumental "Taurus" and instead were limited to hearing an expert performance of the registered sheet music.

“I wouldn’t be all that jazzed about appealing on that basis if I were in the plaintiff’s shoes,” Keyes says. “You’d essentially be challenging an evidentiary motion. That’s going to be an abuse of discretion standard. That makes it difficult right off the bat.”

"I think it would be a waste of time and money," says music litigator William Hochberg. "I would suggest that they think long and hard about whether they really want to go forward with an appeal."

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