On Monday, March 9, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in San Francisco ruled that Led Zeppelin did not steal the opening guitar riff of “Stairway to Heaven.” Zeppelin had been accused of stealing the riff from the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.”
According to guitarworld.com, the 11-judge panel in San Francisco ruled in a 9-2 decision that Zeppelin did not steal the song’s iconic opening acoustic guitar intro. The ruling affirmed a decision by a Los Angeles jury in 2016. The appeals court also elected to ditch what is known as the inverse ratio rule, which states that the more access songwriters have to previously written works, the lower the bar for proving substantial similarity.
In the case of Zeppelin and “Taurus,” the original lawsuit claimed Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were familiar with “Taurus” because Spirit and Led Zeppelin had played shows together in 1968 and 1969.
– GotLed (March 10, 2020)