The rock band, lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page
had been accused of copyright infringement for stealing the riff
from "Taurus," a song written in 1967 by the guitarist Randy
Wolfe of the lesser-known band Spirit.
A jury in Los Angeles ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in June
2016, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 last
September that errors by the trial judge required a new trial.
Francis Malofiy, a lawyer for the trustee representing Wolfe's
estate, said the 11-judge appeals court panel that will
reconsider the case under Monday's order will focus on whether
to broaden copyright protection for "Taurus."
He said the three-judge panel erred in deciding that a sheet
music "deposit copy" of "Taurus," rather than sound recordings
by Spirit, defined the scope of what could be copyrighted under
the federal 1909 Copyright Act.
"It deals with an iconic song that defined a generation," said
Malofiy, a lawyer at Francis Alexander. He said the trustee,
Michael Skidmore, will get a new trial "no matter what."
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A lawyer for Led Zeppelin had no immediate comment.
Led Zeppelin had sought a broader rehearing by the appeals
court. Malofiy said the court never asked him to respond, as
would be required under its rules before granting the band's
The lawsuit is among the music industry's most closely watched
copyright cases, potentially exposing Plant and Page to millions
of dollars of damages. Wolfe drowned in 1997.
The case is Skidmore v Led Zeppelin et al, 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals, No. 16-56057.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan
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