Jury rules Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ copied a 2008 Christian rap song

Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Juicy J were also found liable

A jury has ruled that Katy Perry’s song ‘Dark Horse’, from her 2013 album ‘Prism’, has copied the beat of a Christian rap song, ‘Joyful Noise’ by Flame.

According to Billboard, the verdict handed down on Monday (July 29) also found Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ collaborators liable: namely, producers Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, guest artist Juicy J, and songwriter Sarah Hudson. Capitol Records, Warner Bros. Music Corporation, Kobalt Publishing and Kasz Money Inc. were also found culpable.

Flame, aka Marcus Gray, beatmaker Chike Ojuwku and ‘Joyful Noise’ co-writer Emanuel Lambert had sued Perry and her collaborators in 2014, claiming ‘Dark Horse’ had used the beat of their 2008 song without permission. ‘Joyful Noise’ – which features fellow Christian artists Lecrae and John Reilly – is the closing track of Flame’s Grammy-nominated gospel album, ‘Our World: Redeemed’. Listen to it below:


Per The New York Times, Gray had also argued that “anti-Christian witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by ‘Dark Horse’, especially in the music video version”, had tarnished his reputation as a Christian gospel artist. The video for ‘Dark Horse’, directed by Matthew Cullen, depicts Perry as an Egyptian pharaoh in Memphis, Egypt, “a crazy long time ago”. Revisit it below:

The pop star took the stand on the first day of the copyright trial, on July 18. Perry told the court she had never heard of ‘Joyful Noise’ before the lawsuit – a claim that Dr. Luke and Martin also made – and said that even when she was making music as a Christian artist before her pop career, she was “mostly always listening to… secular music anyway”, Billboard reports.

After a seven-day trial, which also heard testimony by musicologists, the nine-person jury decided in favour of Gray. Perry was not present when the verdict was read. The next part of the trial, which decides how much Perry and her collaborators owe in damages, begins Tuesday (July 30).

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