Led Zeppelin can settle suit for $1

Lawyers suing members of rock group Led Zeppelin say their client is willing to settle a lawsuit over the band's most famous song for just $1.

However, band members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would have to give the late Randy Wolfe, known as Randy California, a writing credit on the iconic 1971 rock ballad Stairway to Heaven. Such an agreement by Plant and Page would head off a much anticipated copyright infringement trial scheduled for 10 May in Los Angeles federal court, but would also mean sharing future income from one of the most recognisable rock songs ever written.

Too commonplace for copyright protection?

Lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy brought the suit on behalf of Michael Skidmore, administrator of the trust of the late Randy Wolfe. Malofiy claims that Wolfe wrote an instrumental track called Taurus in the late 1960s and that Page and Plant copied it in their finger-picked opening of Stairway to Heaven. But lawyers for Led Zeppelin argue that any similarity between the songs was limited to a musical structure that is too commonplace to be entitled to copyright protection.

Speaking after a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles on Monday, Malofiy and his co-counsel, Glen Kulik, said they would agree to such a settlement. Peter Anderson, a lawyer for Page, Plant, and their record labels, declined to comment.

Charitable intentions

Skidmore has said any windfall would support the ongoing mission of Wolfe’s trust, the Randy California Project, which supplies musical instruments and lessons to students at low-income schools in Ventura County, California.

Source: Bloomberg

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