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Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven to get another courtroom airing

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page belt out a Led Zeppelin song. Credit: AP

Rock anthem Stairway to Heaven is to get another airing - this time likely in a packed courtroom.

The 1971 Led Zeppelin classic has been at the centre of a copyright wrangle for several years.

It's claimed the opening riff was stolen by Led Zep icons, lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, from an instrumental song called Taurus, written by little-known artiste Randy Woolfe for his band Spirit.

Now a San Francisco court has ruled an earlier trial should have heard the two songs rather than a jury make a ruling based on the musical score or sheet music showing chords and scale.

In a 2016 trial in Los Angeles that included testimony from Page and Plant, a jury found that Stairway to Heaven did not significantly resemble Taurus.

The jury found that the riff they were accused of taking from Taurus was not intrinsically similar to the opening chords of Stairway.

But that jury never actually got to hear recordings of both songs.

Last September, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that errors by the trial judge required a new trial - something Led Zeppelin is contesting.

And now a panel of 11 judges from the appeals court agreed on Monday to hear Led Zeppelin’s appeal over that decision.

Francis Malofiy, a lawyer for the trustee representing the estate of the late Randy Woolfe, who died in 1997, said the appeals court panel would reconsider the case on whether to broaden copyright protection for Taurus.

The next hearing is likely to take place in San Francisco in September.