Since it emerged earlier this month that Led Zeppelin‘s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were being sued for copyright infringement, lawyers for the pair have filed a motion that their drug use during the 1960s and 70s be precluded from the trial.
Page and Plant are facing allegations that they stole vital parts of their 1971 seminal classic Stairway To Heaven from a release called Taurus by the band Spirit – which came out in 1969.
Now the two parties are fighting over whether the drug use of Page and Plant at the time should be available to be used as evidence in the trial, with lawyers for the trust of Spirit’s guitarist – the late Randy Wolfe – submitting that evidence of the “well-documented” addiction to drugs and alcohol of the Zeppelin-members is necessary for their case. They suggest too that the issues that Page and Plant had with drugs leading up to to the release of Stairway To Heaven is evidence that they “can’t accurately recall their intentions” when it come to their recording process and whether they lifted snippets of Taurus.
Jimmy Page has admitted that Spirit’s album was indeed in his collection, however he claims there are many albums in his collection that he’s never listened to. Lawyers for the defendants assert that there is therefore no definitive way to establish that members of Led Zeppelin had even heard Taurus when they recorded Stairway To Heaven.
Francis Alexander Malofiy, attorney for Wolfe’s Trust, also wants to include evidence that shows Led Zeppelin regularly copied other works, as well as to provide the court with various studio and live recordings of Taurus outside of those approved by Page and Plant’s lawyers.
“What Plaintiff (Wolfe’s Trust) seeks to disclose is the songwriting method used by Led Zeppelin that resulted in numerous occasions of Led Zeppelin having to change the credit for its songs,” said Malofiy. “First, Led Zeppelin’s serial plagiarism goes directly to how Led Zeppelin wrote songs and how Led Zeppelin wrote ‘Stairway to Heaven.'”
Lawyers for Page and Plant contest in response that “Allegations of prior claims and settlements… would mislead the jury into believing that past allegations of claims are admissible to prove copying in this instance, and distract from the juror’s actual task of determining whether copying occurred here.”
Whilst the case is ongoing, you can check out a comparison video from TJR Music, below.