Katy Perry, ‘Dark Horse’ collaborators and record label to pay more than £2million in copyright trial damages

They were found liable for copying the beat of a Christian rap song

Katy Perry, her collaborators on the song ‘Dark Horse’ and her label Capitol Records have been ordered to pony up more than £2million after losing a copyright trial to Christian rapper Marcus Gray.

A California jury decided in favour of Gray – whose artist moniker is Flame – and his collaborators on Monday (July 29), finding that Perry’s 2013 song ‘Dark Horse’ had copied the underlying beat of Gray’s 2008 song ‘Joyful Noise’. They must pay £2.29million ($2.78million) in damages.


The pop star and her collaborators on the ‘Prism’ song – namely producers Max Martin, Dr. Luke and Cirkut, guest artist Juicy J and songwriter Sarah Hudson – were found liable. Capitol Records, Warner Bros. Music Corporation, Kobalt Publishing and Kasz Money Inc. were also named.

Perry herself must pay about £454,000 (just over $550,000) of the total sum, while Capitol is responsible for most of the damages, AP reports.

In deciding how much in damages Perry, her collaborators and label should owe, the jury heard from attorneys from both sides on the profits ‘Dark Horse’ brought in – and what it cost to make and promote the single.

Per AP, Gray’s lawyers claimed that the song brought Capitol Records more than £25.6million ($31million), but a lawyer for Capitol claimed that after expenses, the label’s profits amounted to approximately £536,000 ($650,000). Lawyers for both sides told the jury that the pop star herself had earned £2.47million ($3million), minus £495,000 ($600,000) in expenses.


Gray, beatmaker Chike Ojukwu and co-writer Emanuel Lambert had sued Perry and her collaborators in 2014. Perry, Max Martin and Dr. Luke all claimed they had never heard of their song ‘Joyful Noise’, which appeared on Gray’s Grammy-nominated gospel album ‘Our World: Redeemed’, before the lawsuit.