Katy Perry Wins Appeal in ‘Dark Horse’ Copyright Infringement Case

Pop singer was accused of plagiarizing from a Christian rap song

Last Updated: March 18, 2020 @ 10:13 AM

Pop singer Katy Perry has emerged victorious in the copyright infringement case over her 2013 hit “Dark Horse.”

In July of last year, a jury decided that Perry and others had plagiarized part of a 2009 Christian rap song by Marcus Gray called “Joyful Noise.”

That decision was overruled Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder, who ruled instead that the brief, eight-note musical phrase which Gray claims Perry stole was not original enough to be protected under copyright law.

“It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in ‘Joyful Noise’ is not a particularly unique or rare combination,” Snyder wrote in her decision.

The lawsuit, which has been ongoing since 2014, has taken some dramatic twists and turns — most notably when Perry offered to perform “Dark Horse” live during the trial when there were technical difficulties playing the song in court.

Gray’s attorney, Michael A. Kahn, said he plans to appeal Tuesday’s decision in a statement to the Associated Press.

“When the jurors returned a unanimous verdict of infringement, I cautioned my clients that we had only finished Round 11 of a 15-round match and that the next round would take place in the court of appeals,” he said. “We believe the jury was right and will do our best to restore their verdict on appeal.”

Perry’s lead attorney Christine Lepera did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but in a statement to Variety, she called Tuesday’s decision “an important victory for music creators and the music industry.”

The ruling follows a similar victory for Led Zeppelin, after a ruling from an appellate court earlier this month that the iconic band did not plagiarize their song”Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 song “Taurus.”

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