Led Zeppelin’s publishing firm is seeking $600,000 remuneration in legal fees for Led Zeppelin representation.
Not so long ago, Led Zeppelin and Spirit guitarist, Randy California, were in court over copyright infringement of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Led Zeppelin were accused of copying the guitar riff from Spirit’s song ‘Taurus’ in their now-legendary song. Since Led Zeppelin have won, Warner/Chappell Music is seeking money used for the band’s legal representation.
Spirit’s lawyer, Malofiy, is also suspended for his “unprofessional” behaviour in court. He is barred from practiscing law for at least 3 months.
During Zeppelin’s trial, the lawyer was admonished for his behaviour and had more than 100 objections upheld against him by Judge Gary Klausner.
He also presented false and misleading evidence at the court. This includes a photo that had been doctored to show Robert Plant speaking to Spirit’s former bassist, Mark Andes, which would thereby prove that the band did have access to and knowledge of ‘Taurus.’
There were also concerns over Malofiy’s past unlawful behaviour. In 2014, the lawyer was fined for misleading a co-defendant into signing a contract without prior lawful advice.
Despite the claims, Malofiy dismisses the allegations he had broken rules. He also says that if he had, he is being unreasonably punished.
Following the Zeppelin trial, Malofiy hinted at the possibility of an appeal. He believed that the band won on a “technicality.” He also stated that had he been able to play the riffs of both songs, the defence may have won. However, Judge Gary Klausner refused the playback of the songs, stating that American “copyright law rests on registered sheet music rather than any recording.” Instead of listening to recordings of both songs, the jury looked at pieces of sheet music that had not been seen by members of both bands.
Nonetheless, Malofiy rests his view. “For Led Zeppelin the case was about their legacy and reputation. For Randy California it was about credit. In this regard, neither party won. Here there was injustice.”
Following the trial, Led Zeppelin released a statement to the public. “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favour, putting to rest questions about the origins of Stairway To Heaven and confirming what we have known for 45 years. We appreciate our fans’ support and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.”
Whether or not the appeal will be upheld is still in consideration. Music lawyer William Hochberg believes that the appeal “…would be a waste of time and money. I would suggest that they think long and hard about whether they really want to go forward with an appeal.”
Perhaps the appeal should be upheld, however, would it lead to a more lawful outcome? Would another hearing still reach a lawful decision with a lawyer who is determined to be right even though he may be in the wrong?