Led Zeppelin lose fight to recoup legal fees!
The judge overseeing Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven copyright trial has rejected the group’s attempts to recoup almost $800,000 (£620,000) in costs.
While the rock legends were found not guilty of plagiarising Spirit’s song Taurus in June, Judge R Gary Klausner said the case was not frivolous.
He ruled there was no evidence that the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe “harbored nefarious motives”.
For that reason, the estate was not obliged to repay the band’s legal fees.
The trust for Wolfe, who was better known as Randy California, claimed Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant stole the opening riff for 1971’s Stairway to Heaven from Taurus, a short instrumental released three years earlier.
But a jury found that Taurus “was not intrinsically similar” to Stairway’s opening.
Page and Plant, along with their publishing company Warner/Chappell, sought to recoup $793,000 following the verdict, arguing that their insurance company would not cover the legal fees because the copyright claim was so old.
Their lawyers argued that the case was an attempt to “shake down” the group.
The judge acknowledged that the band had succeeded at trial and had shown a right to compensation – but in the end it was up to his discretion, and he sided with Wolfe’s trustee.
Wolfe died in 1997. Meanwhile, the lawyer for his estate has promised to appeal the original decision.
“The lawsuit was objectively reasonable, and we are confident that any appeal will be successful,” Francis Malofiy told Rolling Stone.