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Katy Perry wins appeal in Dark Horse plagiarism case after ‘travesty of justice’

Katy Perry has won her Dark Horse plagiarism case after a jury ruled in 2013 that she copied a Christian rap song.

The Roar hitmaker and several others were originally ordered to pay $2.78million (£2.12million) in damages after the ruling.

The 37-year-old singer was told she would have to fork out $550,000 (£719k) and that her label Capital Records owed nearly $1.3million (£995k) after a federal jury in Los Angeles found parts of Katy’s tune resembled Flame’s 2008 song Joyful Noise.

Katy’s five collaborators, including producer Max Martin, were also told to stump up $253,000 (£194k), and Dr Luke’s company Kasz Money Inc owed $189,000 (£145k), while he was ordered to pay $61,000 (£47k) personally.

However, on Thursday, a federal court judge ruled that the pop megastar did not plagiarise Flume’s song, marking the end of years of litigation.

As reported by Billboard, the jury favoured Katy with a 3-0 vote.

A statement from the court of appeal read: ‘The portion of the Joyful Noise ostinato that overlaps with the Dark Horse ostinato consists of a manifestly conventional arrangement of musical building blocks.

‘Allowing a copyright over this material would essentially amount to allowing an improper monopoly over two-note pitch sequences or even the minor scale itself.’

Judge Christina A. Snyder previously issued a ruling to reverse the jury’s verdict, stating that the part of the song used as evidence was not ‘rare’ enough to warrant copyright protection.

Synder wrote: ‘It is undisputed in this case, that the signature elements of the 8-note ostinato in Joyful Noise is not a particularly unique or rare combination.

Her lawyer said the original ruling was a ‘travesty of justice’ (Picture: Capitol Records)

‘A relatively common 8-note combination of unprotected elements that happens to be played in a timbre common to a particular genre of music cannot be so original as to warrant copyright protection.’

Lawyers for Flame – whose real name is Marcus Gray – had sought nearly $20million (£15.3million) for him and his two co-writers.

After the jury made its verdict, defence lawyers argued for an award of $360,000 (£276k).

Following the $2.78million decision, Katy’s lawyer Christine Lepera said that ‘the writers of Dark Horse consider this a travesty of justice.’

Dark Horse was a massive hit for Katy during her Prism era (Picture: Capitol Records)

She argued Flame and his collaborators were trying to claim copyright for basic elements of music.

Christine told the courtroom: ‘They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone.’

The Teenage Dream singer and the team behind the song – which had six co-writers in total – testified that they had never heard of Joyful Noise before.

It was also noted that Katy started her career in church and playing gospel music before going on to create songs like Dark Horse, which was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks in 2014.

During the trial, the song was meant to be played to the court but the speakers failed, and Katy lightened the tone when she offered to perform the song.

Dark Horse was released on Katy’s fourth studio album Prism, which also featured hits Birthday and Unconditionally.

She is one of the many musicians to make headlines for copyright claims in recent times, with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Normani all being hit by allegations they ripped off other artists.


Credit: Source

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