Led Zeppelin wins ‘Stairway to Heaven’ copyright battle after Supreme Court declines to hear case


Led Zeppelin band members Robert Plant (L) and Jimmy Page listen during an event in the East Room of the White House December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the event at the White House with the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees to celebrate their contribution to the arts before heading to the Kennedy Center for the honors program. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page won a major legal battle over their iconic hit “Stairway to Heaven” Monday when the Supreme Court ruled it will not hear a copyright dispute.

The estate of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe filed the petition alleging that Led Zeppelin stole from the song “Taurus” when they wrote the 1971 hit, according to Bloomberg Law.

The 9th District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declined to hear the dispute after previously finding that the copyright-protected sheet music and lyrics, not the recording were the basis of the case.

The court decision follows a March ruling and could significantly change how music copyright cases are decided in the future, according to Variety.

In that ruling, the 9th Circuit went against the “inverse ratio” rule that says the more a plaintiff can prove that the suspected song thief had access to the work in question, the lower the standard needed to consider the two musical pieces similar.

The rejection of the “inverse ratio” is a victory for the music industry moving forward.

After jurors decided in 2015 that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” violated copyright law by stealing from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” musicians voiced their concern over a potential flood of future lawsuits.

In 2016, more than 200 artists filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the “Blurred Lines” decision could generate “adverse impact on their own creativity, on the creativity of future artists, and on the music industry in general.”

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