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Zeppelin lawyers ask judge to toss case

Associated Press Associated Press 21/06/2016
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Led Zeppelin's lawyers have asked a judge to throw out a case accusing the band's songwriters of ripping off a riff for Stairway to Heaven.

The estate of Randy Wolfe, founder of the band Spirit, failed to prove it owned the copyright to his 1968 song Taurus or that it was substantially similar to Stairway, lawyer Peter Anderson said on Monday.

"Plaintiff rested and failed to carry his burden of proof on multiple issues," Anderson wrote in a motion to dismiss.

US District Judge R. Gary Klausner is expected hear arguments on the motion when the trial resumes on Tuesday morning.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in 2012. Lawyers for Led Zeppelin have asked the judge to toss a copyright case, saying the defence hadn't proved they had copied a riff in 'Stairway to Heaven'. © Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in 2012. Lawyers for Led Zeppelin have asked the judge to toss a copyright case, saying the defence hadn't proved they had copied a riff in 'Stairway to Heaven'. Wolfe's estate claims that guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant incorporated a unique musical phrase from Taurus in the introduction to their 1971 rock epic.

Anderson said lawyer Francis Malofiy had failed to show that members of Led Zeppelin were familiar with the song and experts had not presented a convincing case that the tunes were similar enough to amount to copyright infringement.

Musical experts for the Wolfe estate said there were many similarities between the obscure instrumental Taurus and Stairway, but a defence expert testified on Friday that the main similarity was a common descending chord sequence used as a musical building block for 300 years.

Anderson also said the plaintiff failed to show actual damages from any infringement or present evidence of revenues from Stairway.

An economist testified that Led Zeppelin works that include Stairway earned nearly $US60 million ($A80.54 million) in revenues in the past five years, but that included other works, as well, and didn't include manufacturing costs or other expenses that could be deducted.

Anderson asked Klausner to make the judgment before the case goes to the jury. The motion is fairly typical after the plaintiff rests in a case.

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