Led Zeppelin Lawyer Up for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Infringement Case
As Led Zeppelin's reps prepare to fight allegations that they stole the introduction to 'Stairway to Heaven' from the Spirit song 'Taurus,' they've turned to a top entertainment industry lawyer.
Businessweek reports that attorney Helene Freeman, a partner at the New York firm Phillips Nizer, is on the case -- and although Freeman may not be a household name, her work is very familiar to music business insiders; in fact, she was responsible for helping *NSYNC wrest themselves from their rookie recording contract in the late '90s.
'Taurus' composer Randy California passed away in 1997 -- founding Spirit bassist Mark Andes filed the suit on behalf of his late bandmate's trust -- but in an interview before he died, he publicly admitted to thinking 'Stairway' ripped off his composition, calling it "kind of a sore point" and adding, "Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it."
Businessweek's report notes that Zeppelin's lawyers have until Sept. 22 to respond to the suit. Neither Freeman nor anyone involved with the band or its corporate label parent, Warner Music, have responded to requests for comment, but as we previously reported, guitarist Jimmy Page has gone on record as finding the allegations "ridiculous."