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Led Zeppelin in court for Stairway lawsuit

dpadpa 14/06/2016

Led Zeppelin are defending claims they plagiarised their hit song Stairway to Heaven.

Did Led Zeppelin steal key parts of their rock classic Stairway to Heaven from a lesser-known band?

That's the question before a Los Angeles court, when trial is scheduled to begin in a lawsuit against the British rockers.

Lawyers for the estate of late guitarist and songwriter Randy Wolfe say Led Zeppelin swiped Stairway's iconic opening from Taurus, a 1968 song by Wolfe's band Spirit.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has called the claims "ridiculous."

But a judge ruled that the two songs sound similar enough that a jury should decide the lawsuit, which was filed in 2014.

At stake is a share of the royalties for Stairway to Heaven, which topped $US562 million ($A763.64 million), according to a 2008 estimate by Conde Nast Portfolio.

Wolfe's estate lawyer, Francis Malofiy, said he would settle the suit for just $1 in back damages - if Led Zeppelin gives posthumous songwriting credit to Wolfe, who drowned while rescuing his son in

1997. That acknowledgement could still be worth millions of dollars in future rights.

Led Zeppelin have been accused of plagiarism before, and have settled out of court on claims they borrowed other musicians' work on their songs Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Whole Lotta Love and Dazed and Confused.

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