Led Zeppelin’s music is derivative of a lot of things, sure—but not the band Spirit. That statement is now legally binding, as the Associated Press reports that a jury in Los Angeles has declared Led Zeppelin the victor in an ongoing copyright lawsuit. The suit was filed back in 2014 by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for Randy Wolfe, a.k.a Randy California, lead songwriter for Spirit. The suit alleges that the famous guitar intro to “Stairway To Heaven,” familiar from dorm rooms and Guitar Center showrooms worldwide, was stolen from the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.”
The lawsuit finally made its way to court earlier this year, where Judge Gary Klausner ruled that the two songs were similar enough to warrant a jury trial. After a weeklong trial in which defense attorneys grilled members of Led Zeppelin on their exposure to Spirit’s music in the late ’60s and early ’70s—a line of questioning that seems unfair, considering the members of Led Zeppelin probably don’t remember much of anything from that period—the jury eventually ruled in favor of the defendants.
This ruling reverses a recent trend of musicians being forced to cough up cash over copycat allegations, including Pharrell and Robin Thicke being ordered to pay Marvin Gaye’s family $3.2 million for ripping off the bass line for “Blurred Lines” and Sam Smith agreeing to pay Tom Petty royalties for the obvious similarities between Smith’s song “Stay With Me” and Petty’s song “Won’t Back Down.”