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Friday, September 22, 2023

Katy Perry defeats appeal in $2.8m Dark Horse copyright case as court agrees hit song did not plagiarise rap track

Rapper Flame, real name Marcus Gray, sued Katy Perry in 2014 following the release of Dark Horse the previous year, accusing her of copying his track Joyful Noise. A jury found in his favour in 2019, but that decision was later overturned and an appeals court has now given its ruling.

Katy Perry no longer has to pay $2.8 million to a rapper who accused her of plagiarising part of one of his songs for her huge 2013 hit, Dark Horse.

Following a lengthy legal battle, a federal appeals court decided on Thursday that the US pop star and her team are not liable to pay out the sum (about £2.1 million) to hip-hop artist Flame, whose real name is Marcus Gray.

In 2019, a Los Angeles jury agreed and awarded Flame and two other plaintiffs $2.79 million, including $550,000 from Perry and $1.29 million from her label Capitol Records, part of Universal Music Group.

However, a judge overturned the verdict in 2020, saying Perry did not infringe any independently protectable musical elements.

Now, the appeals court has agreed that the jury verdict should not stand and Gray does not deserve damages for copyright infringement.

The eight-note pattern in Dark Horse, known as an ostinato, consisted “entirely of commonplace musical elements” that lacked the “quantum of originality” needed for copyright protection, the court said.

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