No, Led Zeppelin Didn't Steal "Stairway to Heaven," Court Rules
The opening riff may sound similar to "Taurus," but the court ruled there's no copyright infringement.
A court decided for the second time that Led Zeppelin's most famous song, "Stairway to Heaven," did not infringe on the copyrights of a song that opens with a similar acoustic guitar progression, Spirit's "Taurus."
The California-based band has long alleged that the opening to "Taurus" is similar enough to the opening of Led Zeppelin's classic that it warrants a copyright infringement.
The initial decision in 2016 in favor of "Stairway to Heaven" was challenged and ultimately resulted in an appeals court decision that also went in Led Zeppelin's favor.
In 1968, the then up-and-coming Led Zeppelin opened up for Spirit at a December concert in Colorado. This ostensibly gave credence to the notion that the similar song openings were "borrowed," but the judges said no.
Thanks to BYU's Copyright Licensing Office, you can listen to both versions and compare the two yourself: