Lawyers suing Led Zeppelin over claims that the opening to Stairway to Heaven was stolen, say their client is willing to settle for the sum of US$1.
The band’s lead singer, Robert Plant, and guitarist, Jimmy Page, face a US jury trial over their 1971 classic after Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Spirit’s Randy California, alleges Page was inspired to write Stairway to Heaven after hearing Spirit perform Taurus while the bands toured together in 1968 and 1969. Lawyers for Led Zeppelin claim any similarity between the two songs is a result of a common musical structure that has existed for centuries.
According to Bloomberg News, the $1 offer would, however, come at a bigger price: Randy California would need a writing credit on the track – not to mention sharing its future profits. “It’s always been about credit where credit is due,” said attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy, representing Michael Skidmore.
Bloomberg News also reports that a filing by Malofiy in the case cites a 2008 agreement that Page and Plant made with Warner/Chappell Music, in which both songwriters receive $60m over 10 years for the company’s right to use Stairway and other songs. Malofiy has requested at least two thirds of that amount should be allocated to the infringing period, totalling in $40m.
Skidmore has said any windfall would support the Randy California Project, which supplies musical instruments and lessons to students at low-income schools in California.
The copyright infringement trial is scheduled for 10 May in Los Angeles federal court.