The copyright battle over “Stairway to Heaven” is over thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Led Zeppelin was sued over their 1971 hit for sounding too similar to Spirit‘s 1968 track “Taurus,” which the court said isn’t the case. This comes after Led Zeppelin successfully won the same lawsuit in 2016, though representatives of Spirit wanted a wider panel of judges to hear the songs and make a ruling. Which happened, and here we are.
The court said they “have never extended copyright protection to just a few notes” and “we have held that ‘a four-note sequence common in the music field’ is not the copyrightable expression in a song.” So basically just because there’s some bits that sound like “Stairway to Heaven” doesn’t constitute theft. Which makes sense.
Read the full ruling here. You should also check out a video on a similar topic by Adam Neely regarding Ed Sheeran being sued for his song “Thinking Out Loud” sounding too much like Marvin Gaye’s “Let It Get On,” which certainly touches on a lot of the same points.