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Jimmy Page and Robert Plant do indeed plan on showing up to a trial beginning June 14 that will explore whether Led Zeppelin copied the 1968 instrumental “Taurus” to create the iconic song “Stairway to Heaven.” And attorneys for the musicians are reacting strongly to the plaintiff’s demand they be compelled into attendance.
“Plaintiff’s motion is a PR stunt in the hope of tainting the jury pool,” states an opposition brief filed Tuesday. “Despite being told that Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones fully intend to appear at the trial, plaintiff’s counsel misrepresented to the Court at the April 25, 2016 Pretrial Conference that Messrs. Page, Plant and Jones ‘are refusing to appear in this court in the claims against them,’ and plaintiff’s counsel repeated that misrepresentation to news cameras on the Courthouse steps, causing a flurry of press reports repeating plaintiff’s false accusation. When those reports died down, plaintiff triggered renewed reports of his misrepresentation by now filing a belated motion that is so devoid of merit it can only be seen as playing to the press.”
According to Led Zeppelin, Francis Malofiy — the attorney who represents the Trustee who manages the estate of Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe — has been shooting his mouth off about notices and subpoenas despite never properly serving them.
The attack on Malofiy (who was once sanctioned by a judge in a song theft case) could be moot anyway since Led Zeppelin bandmembers do figure to make an appearance. As to any suggestion that Led Zeppelin is running from its court date, a footnote in the latest opposition brief states, “There simply is no merit to plaintiff’s attempt to pursue a 45-year-old claim that the actual copyright owner and Randy Wolfe never bothered to file.”
The case over such an old song is happening now thanks to a huge assist from the U.S. Supreme Court, but that doesn’t mean the plaintiff will succeed. There are plenty of challenges to show copyright infringement. Besides not getting the opportunity to present the sound recordings he wants, Malofiy may be precluded from using the depositions Page and Plant gave in the case. Peter Anderson, attorney for the defendants, insists that his adversary is flouting legal procedure by failing to mark deposition transcripts as required.
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