here's the article online today:
Led Zeppelin's Page and Plant to face the music in 'Stairway to Heaven' copyright case:
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will face a US court next month after a judge ruled that a copyright claim over Led Zeppelin's most famous track might have legs.
The decision brings to a head a dispute that has bubbled for two years – but only in terms of litigation; music fans have long argued about the similarities between 1967's "Taurus" by Spirit and Led Zeppelin's mighty 1971 epic, "Stairway to Heaven".
The case against Page and Plant was brought by lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy on behalf of Michael Skidmore, who is the executor of a trust for Randy California (nee Wolfe), a founding member of Spirit.
Now, two years since the claim was first filed, it appears Spirit will have its day in court.
Rejecting the notion that the classic descending bassline in the opening figures of "Stairway to Heaven" was "too clichéd" to be rights-protected, LA district court judge Gary Klausner said the matter was subjective enough to be brought before a jury.
"The similarities here transcend this core structure," Klausner wrote.
"What remains is a subjective assessment of the 'concept and feel' of two works…a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury."
Although opinions will be divided on the case, there are a few historical points the plaintiff will draw on that don't look good for Plant and Page.
Chief among them is the fact that Spirit took Led Zep on its first US tour as an opening band in 1968 and 1969, and "Taurus" was most assuredly in the set-list. Additionally, Zeppelin used to cover another Spirit track, "Fresh Garbage", on the road.
But perhaps most worryingly for Page and Plant are the results of similar cases that have gone before theirs.
Last year, Marvin Gaye's estate successfully sought damages from Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song "Blurred Lines", while back in 2010 an Australian court ruled against Men at Work over a certain infamous flute riff in the song "Down Under".
Thicke and Pharrell were ordered to pay $9.16 million in damages to Gaye's estate, as well as 50 per cent of future royalties, while Men at Work were forced to concede five per cent of the "Down Under" royalties to Larrikin Music from 2002 onwards.
In the Zeppelin case, Judge Klausner has stipulated that the rights holder receives no more than 50 per cent of the damages claimed.
here's the song by Spirit they apparently copied(guitar):
the similarities come in at around the 44 second mark, sounds eerily like "stairway to heaven" to me, I believe Page/Plant have a lot to answer for with this: