In a lawsuit filed to Missouri District Court on Tuesday, rapper Flame claimed Perry ripped off his acclaimed religious track “Joyful Noise” and used the same melody and beat.
Flame, real name Marcus T Gray, states in the lawsuit his 2008 song has been “irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in ‘Dark Horse’”.
He also claims that Perry and the song’s co-writers have infringed copyright and profited from use of “Joyful Noise” without permission.
“Joyful Noise” featured on Flame's album Our World: Redeemed , which was nominated for best rock or rap gospel album at the Grammys.
Lawyer Eric Kayira said that comparisons between the two tracks “percolated” various websites before being made known to Flame, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
“Joyful Noise” producers Chike Ojukwu, Lecrae Moore and Emmanuel Lambert filed the lawsuit along with Flame and are believed to be seeking a jury trial, a ban on Perry using the song and unspecified financial damages.
“Dark Horse” is sung from a witch’s perspective, with its Egyptian-themed music video attracting more than 440 million views on YouTube.
The video sparked controversy in February when more than 60,000 people demanded removal of an allegedly offensive scene showing an Islamic necklace burned by lightning shot from Perry’s fingers, with some Muslims claming it was blasphemous.
“Dark Horse” was edited to replace the pendent with a plain gold chain.
The 29-year-old grew up in a devout Christian home with Pentecostal pastors for parents.
Her 2001 debut album Katy Hudson was a Christian rock record, including songs such as “Faith Won’t Fail”.
Since then, Perry has distanced herself from her religious upbringing. “I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne,” she told Marie Claire last December.
“I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable. I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God.”
Perry's representatives have been contacted for a comment on the lawsuit but are yet to respond.