Jury Set in Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Trial, After Huge Fan Is Dismissed
The group reviewing evidence in a trial to decide whether "Stairway to Heaven" included a copied riff won't include one of Led Zeppelin's biggest fans.
Jury selection in the Los Angeles civil trial brought by a trustee of Spirit's Randy California began today, with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on hand in the courtroom. The appointed trustee, Michael Skidmore, filed the plagiarism complaint, which argues that a portion of Led Zeppelin's iconic 1971 song was lifted from Spirit's "Taurus," released three years earlier.
Seven of the first 14 possible jurors were dismissed, including one Led Zeppelin fan who said his "love for these two guys" is "very strong." A final group, featuring four men and four women, was later sworn in after being vetted by Zeppelin attorney Peter Anderson and fellow lawyer Francis Malofiy, who's representing the trustee.
U.S. District Court judge R. Gary Klausner has been trying to rein in the circus-like atmosphere that might have surrounded the trial, including barring laptops, cellphones and pens among those in the gallery. Billboard reports that two violators have already been removed from the courtroom. Even those taking photos elsewhere in the building have been told they will be asked to leave.
California, whose real name was Randy Wolfe, died in 1997. The copyright to "Taurus" then apparently passed to a trust, and Skidmore decided to pursue this claim, which focuses specifically on a 10-second segment less than a minute into the Spirit song that appears to echo the opening guitar pattern used in "Stairway to Heaven." Klausner has said he expects the trial to last four or five days.
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