Katy Perry and team ordered to pay $2.78 million in copyright damages after ‘Dark Horse’ trial

Pop star herself owes just over $500,000, while the rest is due by her label

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Friday 02 August 2019 06:53
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Katy Perry song 'Dark Horse' accused of stealing from Christian rapper's song

Katy Perry and others who worked on her 2013 hit “Dark Horse” have been ordered to pay $2.78 million in damages to Christian rapper Flame, according to reports.

The pop singer was sued five years ago by Marcus Gray – professionally known as Flame – and two co-writers who claimed her 2013 hit was stolen from his and Lecrae’s song “Joyful Noise”, which was released in 2008.

This week, a federal jury in California ruled that the pop star’s song infringes on the song.

Jurors had been told during the damages phase of the trial that the song had earnt $31m from the single, album sales and concert DVD that featured the song.

Perry’s label Capitol Records claimed that after expenses for the song’s release were accounted for, just a fraction of that money was actually left over.

Nine jurors determined that the track directly copied the underlying beat of Gray’s rap song ¬– despite both Perry and producer Dr Luke insisting they’d never heard it, as they don’t listen to Christian music.

Gray said that they could have heard it on YouTube, MySpace or Spotify, where the song has been played millions of times, or even at the Grammy Awards. The song is the closing track of Flame’s record Our World: Redeemed, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009.

Perry’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, stressed the belief that Gray and the song’s co-writers are “...trying to own basic building blocks of music... that should be available to everyone.”

Perry herself owes just over $500,000 in damages, while the rest is due by the label.

Additional reporting by AP

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