Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ was copied from a Christian rap song, a California jury says
CALIFORNIA — Katy Perry’s 2013 song “Dark Horse” was copied in part from “Joyful Noise,” a song by Christian rap artist Flame, a Los Angeles jury decided Monday, according to several media reports.
The unanimous decision from a nine-person jury came after a weeklong trial, during which Perry testified about the track’s creation, Variety reported. She was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, the magazine said.
Flame, whose real name is Marcus Gray, argued that “Dark Horse” infringed on his copyright by using an underlying beat from his song without permission, Variety reported. Perry’s attorneys argued, in part, that the portion in question was too common and brief to be protected by copyright, the magazine said.
The penalty phase of the trial will begin Tuesday to determine damages owed by Perry and her co-writers, The New York Times reported.
Co-writers named in the suit include Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald; producer Max Martin; producer Cirkut, whose real name is Henry Walter; songwriter Sarah Hudson; and rapper Juicy J who was featured on the track, according to the New York Times.
Perry said during her testimony that the track was provided to her by Dr. Luke and Cirkut and suggested that the part that sounds like “Joyful Noise” may have been in the song without her knowledge, Variety reported.
Flame argued that his song, which was released in 2008, was popular in the Christian community and was widely available on streaming applications, meaning Perry’s producers could have heard it before starting work on her song, according to Variety.
Both Perry and Dr. Luke testified that they had not heard “Joyful Noise,” according to an article in the Hollywood Reporter.
Technical difficulties plagued the trial, Variety reported, saying attorneys attempting to play the song were unable to make the track work. Perry offered, instead, to sing it to people in the courtroom, who responded with laughter.
A motion from Perry’s lawyer, filed Thursday, asking the judge to rule that no reasonable jury could determine copyright infringement occurred based on evidence presented during the trial is still pending, the Hollywood Reporter said.