Led Zeppelin have lost the first round in their plagiarism battle over mega-hit Stairway To Heaven.

A judge has denied a request from the group's lawyer to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the classic song was heavily inspired by a late 1960s track recorded by Spirit.

Led Zeppelin's legal team had challenged whether the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the suit was filed, had the right to rule on the case.

Helene Freeman argued, "The individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here."

However, the judge overseeing the case sided with the plaintiff Francis Malofiy, a lawyer representing late Spirit guitarist Randy California.

Earlier this year (14), the children of Randy California filed suit against Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement on the grounds that the opening riff from Stairway to Heaven was appropriated from their father's song Taurus.

They claim the defendants ripped off the song while performing as Spirit's opening act in the late 1960s, and they're seeking monetary damages and co-writing credit.