Judges may not be buying that ‘Stairway’ needs new trial

A group of US judges don’t seem inclined to order a new trial in a copyright fight over the Led Zeppelin song, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Members of an 11-judge panel at a Monday hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco harshly challenged plaintiffs who argued that a new trial is justified in the lawsuit that alleged 1971’s megahit “Stairway” was stolen from 1968’s “Taurus,” by Spirit.

The estate of the late Randy Wolfe of Spirit lost at a 2016 trial. A judge ordered a new trial, but a three-judge 9th Circuit panel threw out that order.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Francis Malofiy (MAL’-uh-fee) argued that the copyrighted composition of “Taurus” should include the song as performed, not merely as written on paper. Judges were skeptical.

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