The battle is no more: Led Zeppelin finally win Stairway to Heaven copyright lawsuit

(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

The protracted copyright battle over Stairway to Heaven appears to have come to an end, with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruling in a 9-2 decision on March 9 that Led Zeppelin did not steal the song's iconic opening acoustic guitar intro.

The ruling affirmed a decision by a Los Angeles jury in 2016. That case saw a trustee representing the estate of late Spirit guitarist and songwriter Randy Wolfe (a k a Randy California) accuse Led Zeppelin of lifting a piece of the 1968 Spirit instrumental, Taurus, for the intro to their own 1971 song. 

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.