cloudyn.png
Saturday August 15th, 2020 3:47AM

Jury: Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' copied Christian rap song

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury on Monday found that Katy Perry's 2013 hit "Dark Horse" improperly copied a 2009 Christian rap song in a unanimous decision that represented a rare takedown of a pop superstar and her elite producer by a relatively unknown artist.

The verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors, first sued in 2014 alleging "Dark Horse" stole from "Joyful Noise," a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.

The case now goes to a penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe for copyright infringement.

Questions from the jury during their two full days of deliberations had suggested that they might find only some of the defendants liable for copyright infringement. The case focused on the notes and beats of the song, not its lyrics or recording, and the questions suggested that Perry might be off the hook.

But in a decision that left many in the courtroom surprised, jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the songs were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song's words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song. Perry was not present when the verdict was read.

Other defendants found liable were Capitol Records as well as Perry's producers: Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who came up with the song's beat.

Gray's attorneys argued that the beat and instrumental line featured through nearly half of "Dark Horse" are substantially similar to those of "Joyful Noise." Gray wrote the song with his co-plaintiffs Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu.

"Dark Horse," a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single of Perry's 2013 album "Prism," spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014, and earned a Grammy nomination for Perry, who performed the song during her 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.

Her attorneys argued that the song sections in question represent the kind of simple musical elements that if found to be subject to copyright would hurt music and all songwriters.

"They're trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone," Perry's lawyer Christine Lepera said during closing arguments Thursday.

The defendants' musical expert testified that the musical patterns in dispute were as simple as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

But the jury of six women and three men disagreed, finding that the bumping beat and riff at the center of "Joyful Noise" were original enough to be copyrighted.

Perry and the song's co-authors testified during the seven-day trial that none of them had heard the song or heard of Gray before the lawsuit, nor did they listen to Christian music.

Gray's attorneys had only to demonstrate, however, that "Joyful Noise" had wide dissemination and could have been heard by Perry and her co-authors. They provided as evidence that it had millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify, and that the album it's included on was nominated for a Grammy.

"They're trying to shove Mr. Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits," said plaintiffs' attorney Michael A. Kahn during closing arguments, when he also pointed out that Perry had begun her career as a Christian artist.

Jurors agreed, finding that the song was distributed widely enough that the "Dark Horse" writers may well have heard it.

Kahn and Gray declined comment but smiled as they left the courtroom after the verdict.

Lepera and other defense attorneys also declined comment outside court. Perry's publicist did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Monday evening.

Perry, a 34-year-old pop superstar and "American Idol" judge, brought laughs to the proceedings when she testified during its second day when her lawyers were having technical troubles getting "Dark Horse" to play in the courtroom.

"I could perform it live," Perry said.

No performance was necessary after the audio issues were fixed. Jurors heard both songs played back-to-back in their entirety at the end of closing arguments last week.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Recordings News, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Accused of racism, Trump blasts black congressman as racist
President Donald Trump is responding to growing accusations of racism by lashing out at his critics
8:05PM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police: Too early to tell if victims targeted
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee says it's too early in the investigation to determine if any of the victims were targeted, or if he the shooter fired indiscriminately Sunday at a food festival in the city
8:02PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Doubts emerge about Trump pick for US intelligence chief
Questions are already emerging about whether President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director is qualified
7:58PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Smothers Brothers mark their CBS firing 50 years ago
The Smothers Brothers mark their CBS firing 50 years ago
6:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump signs Sept. 11 victims' compensation fund extension
President Donald Trump signs bipartisan bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money
6:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Scorsese's 'The Irishman' to premiere at New York Film Fest
Martin Scorsese's much anticipated big-budget mafia epic "The Irishman" will premiere as the opening night film at the 57th New York Film Festival
4:40PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Rapper RZA says arrested A$AP Rocky is a hostage in Sweden
RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan says he's concerned over what he calls a "hostage situation" for fellow rapper A$AP Rocky, who's charged with assault in Sweden
3:13PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Russian police begin new wave of protest arrests
Police in Moscow have begun a new wave of protester arrests and a monitoring group says nearly 700 people have been detained during clashes
1:16PM ( 2 days ago )
50 Cent: 'Power' being overlooked by Emmys is racial
50 Cent thinks "Power" being overlooked by the Emmys was racial despite the success of popular Starz series that has a prominently black cast
1:22AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Recordings News
Anne Hathaway opens up about fertility struggles
Anne Hathaway says she came forward about her struggles with getting pregnant because infertility can be painful and isolating
5:13PM ( 1 day ago )
Anne Hathaway says infertile women have 'sister' in her
Anne Hathaway says she came forward about her struggles with getting pregnant because infertility can be painful and isolating
4:05PM ( 1 day ago )
Verstappen wins chaotic German GP, Vettel goes 20th to 2nd
Max Verstappen won a chaotic and rain-soaked German Grand Prix as championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished 11th and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed near the end
12:24PM ( 1 day ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Accused of racism, Trump blasts black congressman as racist
President Donald Trump is responding to growing accusations of racism by lashing out at his critics
8:05PM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police: Too early to tell if victims targeted
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee says it's too early in the investigation to determine if any of the victims were targeted, or if he the shooter fired indiscriminately Sunday at a food festival in the city
8:02PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Doubts emerge about Trump pick for US intelligence chief
Questions are already emerging about whether President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director is qualified
7:58PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Block party shootout may have been gang related, police say
New York City police say a shootout that left one man dead and 11 people wounded at a popular Brooklyn community festival over the weekend may have been gang related
7:51PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Senate bows to Trump vetoes, allows Saudi arms sales
The Senate has failed in a bid to override a trio of vetoes issued by President Donald Trump over plans to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
7:37PM ( 34 minutes ago )