Copyright Law

Led Zeppelin denies most allegations in 'Stairway to Heaven' suit, but admits 'exceptional talent'

  • Print.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones in 2012. Featureflash /

Led Zeppelin denied liability last week in its answer to a federal copyright infringement lawsuit that challenges the authorship of the group’s iconic “Stairway to Heaven” song.

But a few basic facts are undisputed, reports.

“Answering paragraph 11 of the first amended complaint, including the first amended complaint’s footnote 1, Defendants admit that Led Zeppelin has been called one of the greatest bands in history and its members were and are exceptionally talented,” the pleading states, “but otherwise deny each and every allegation contained in paragraph 11 of the first amended complaint.”

Filed by heirs of Randy Craig Wolfe (also known as Randy California), a founding member of the band Spirit, which toured with Led Zeppelin in the late 1960s, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania suit alleges that key portions of “Stairway to Heaven” are from his song “Taurus,” an earlier Hollywood Reporter article explains.

“Any reasonable observer, when comparing ‘Taurus’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ must conclude that—at the very least—significant portions of the songs are nearly identical,” the suit says.

Related coverage:

Hollywood Reporter: “Led Zeppelin Loses First Round in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.