Judge rules against jury verdict in case over song Dark Horse, which had previously been found in favour of rapper Marcus Gray
Ben Beaumont-Thomas – The Guardian
Katy Perry performing earlier in March. Photograph: James Ross/AAP
Katy Perry has won an appeal in a copyright case involving damages of $2.8m (£2.3m).
In July 2014, Perry was accused of plagiarising the song Joyful Noise by a Christian rapper named Marcus Gray (AKA Flame), for her US No 1 hit Dark Horse, which was the second biggest-selling song worldwide that year. The songwriters sued, with Perry and her team defending themselves by saying they had never heard Joyful Noise.
In July 2019, a jury sided with Gray, and so Perry, along with five co-defendants including producer Max Martin and rapper Juicy J, were ordered to pay damages, with Perry herself owing $550,000.
An appeal has reversed that decision, with the judge, Christina Snyder, setting aside the jury’s verdict. She said it was “undisputed” that the eight-note section of Dark Horse in question was “not a particularly unique or rare combination” of notes.
During the initial trial, Perry’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, had argued Gray and his team were “trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone”.
Gray intends to appeal the appeal decision.