Led Zeppelin's motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming they ripped off the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" has been dismissed, and the case will proceed. Jimmy Page is accused of stealing the opening pattern from the Spirit song "Taurus."
"The judge will basically hear both songs, both sides will bring forth musicologists and they'll debate whether the songs are really similar," Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter told NPR.
The heirs of Randy California's estate claim Jimmy Page stole the iconic opening pattern from Spirit's song, "Taurus."
Gardner indicated that the judge in this case — being held in Pennsylvania — could potentially know nothing about music.
"That adds the wildcard factor to this," he said. "No one knows what a judge in Pennsylvania is going to say. I mean, [in] Pennsylvania, there's very few cases that have examined copyright infringement in songcraft.
"If the plaintiffs wanted to have a tactical advantage, they probably would've sued in Nashville — the songwriter capital of the world. And if they wanted this to be convenient for the parties, they would've sued in California where a lot of the plaintiffs and witnesses are, as well as a lot of the music defendants."
But they are in mining country, to the dismay of Page and his mates. Last month, they tried to get the case dismissed, to no avail.
From our own Ryan Book: "It could be a while before this thing gets to court, much less sees a decision. If Wolf's estate can win its case, it could be looking at a lot of money. 'Stairway' is the most spun radio track of all time, a good argument for huge royalty payouts. Also, Zeppelin will be rereleasing the album that contains the song, Led Zeppelin IV (untitled) on Oct. 28."