The lawyer who argued Led Zeppelin plagiarised their song Stairway To Heaven has hit out at a U.S. court's verdict in the band's favour.
At a trial in Los Angeles on Thursday (23Jun16) a federal jury cleared Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of stealing the opening guitar riff of the song Taurus, a tune written by the late Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit.
The attorney representing Wolfe's estate, Francis Malofiy has slammed the verdict, claiming the band only avoided losing the case and having to pay substantial royalties to members of Wolfe's family on a "technicality", as the court was not permitted to hear a specific version of Spirit's track.
"For Led Zeppelin, they won on a technicality – they should be proud of that," he tells Rolling Stone magazine in an email. "The jury’s verdict is disappointing, but largely determined by one ruling of the court: Plaintiff was not permitted to play the album recording of Taurus, which Jimmy Page had in his record collection."
Members of the jury were not legally allowed to hear the original recordings of Stairway to Heaven or Taurus when determining their verdict in the case. Instead, an expert musician performed both songs for the jury based on the original sheet music.
Malofiy hinted that he may attempt to appeal the verdict on behalf of Wolfe's family, writing, "Needless to say, we do not believe it is legally correct or logically sound."
Robert Jacobs, a litigator and expert in U.S. copyright law tells America's Billboard magazine that although he believes Malofiy will appeal against the decision any attempt to overturn the verdict is likely to be unsuccessful.
"Malofiy being Malofiy, he’s going to appeal it," Jacobs says. "The law is well settled that you’re stuck with what the Copyright Office got. That’s just the way it is."
During the eight-week trial, both Page and Plant testified, insisting they had no knowledge of Wolfe's Spirit track before they composed Stairway To Heaven.