A US appeals court has ordered a new trial in a lawsuit accusing Led Zeppelin of copying an obscure 1960s instrumental for the intro to its classic 1971 rock anthem Stairway to Heaven.
A federal court jury in Los Angeles two years ago found Led Zeppelin did not steal the famous riff from the song Taurus by the band Spirit.
But a three-judge panel of the 9th US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously that the lower court judge provided erroneous jury instructions that misled jurors about copyright law central to the suit.
It sent the case back to the court for another trial.
A phone message left with an attorney for Led Zeppelin – Peter Anderson – was not immediately returned.
Michael Skidmore – a trustee for the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe – filed the lawsuit against Led Zeppelin in 2015.
Jurors returned their verdict for Led Zeppelin after a five-day trial at which the band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant testified.
Page says he wrote the music and Plant has claimed the lyrics – saying Stairway was an original.
In several hours of often-animated and amusing testimony they described the craft behind one of rock’s best-known songs.