A jury has ruled that Katy Perry’s track “Dark Horse” copied a Christian rap song.
The singer was accused of copying 2008’s ‘Joyful Noise’
The pop singer was sued five years ago by Marcus Gray – professionally known as Flame – and two co-writers who claimed her 2013 hit was stolen from his and Lecrae’s song “Joyful Noise”, which was released in 2008.
After a week-long trial, nine jurors determined that the track directly copied the underlying beat of Gray’s rap song despite both Perry and producer Dr Luke insisting they’d never heard it as they don’t listen to Christian music.
Gray went on to say that they could have heard it on YouTube, MySpace or Spotify, where the song has been played millions of times, or even the Grammy Awards. The song is the closing track of Flame’s record Our World: Redeemed, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009.
Perry had earlier entertained members of the jury after offering to perform the song live when the courtroom’s sound system failed to work.
During the trial, Katy’s lawyer, Chritine Lepera, described the beat of both songs as “commonplace”, arguing that because of that, Flame (real name Marcus Tyrone Gray) could not claim copyright.
“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” said Katy’s lawyer Christine Lepera during her closing arguments in court last week.
“They’re trying to shove Mr Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits,” said Gray’s lawyer Michael A. Kahn.
He also mentioned the fact that Katy started her career as a Christian artist.
Despite the trial focusing on the production of the song – it was produced by Dr Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut – the court found that the six songwriters of Dark Horse were also liable.
This includes Katy Perry, and rapper Juicy J, who contributed a verse to the song.
It will now be worked out how much defendants, including Perry, will have to pay out following the guilty verdict.
Grammy-nominated song “Dark Horse”, taken from Perry’s 2013 record Prism, was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.