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March 17, 2017

Delco lawyer takes 'Stairway to Heaven' copyright lawsuit back to court

A copyright battle over Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is headed back to court, challenging a jury's finding from last year that the iconic rock group did not rip off a song released two years prior.

Attorney Francis Malofiy, who practices law out of Media, Delaware County, filed court documents Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of plaintiff Michael Skidmore, alleging the famous opening riff to "Stairway to Heaven" was copied from the song "Taurus," by the late Randy Wolfe, an original member of the band Spirit, the Hollywood Reporter reported Friday.

Skidmore is the trustee for the Randy Wolfe Trust. 

Led Zeppelin won the suit back in June after a Los Angeles jury determined that the songs were not similar enough to prove the riff had been lifted. Malofiy wants the federal appeals judge to vacate the jury's decision and order a new trial.

His court filing reads:

"A quick listen to the composition of 'Taurus' on Spirit's first album and 'Stairway to Heaven' makes it quite clear that Mr. [Jimmy] Page undoubtedly relied upon 'Taurus' to create the nearly identical introduction to 'Stairway to Heaven.' Led Zeppelin not only opened for Spirit in 1968, played several shows with them, covered a Spirit song, and owned several Spirit albums, but Mr. Page also extensively praised Spirit in interviews before and after he created 'Stairway to Heaven' in 1971."

In July, Malofiy was suspended from practicing law by a panel of U.S. district judges in Pennsylvania for "serious misconduct" in an unrelated case.

Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, Et Al by Digital Music News on Scribd