Pop star Katy Perry has to shell out some millions after she lost a copyright infringement lawsuit from Christian rapper Flame.
A jury decided on Thursday that Perry, her collaborators, and her record label have been ordered to pay $2.78 million over the pop star’s 2013 hit “Dark Horse”, which they reportedly copied from a Christian rap song. Marcus Gray, once known as the rapper Flame, finally received victory in his 5-year-old lawsuit against Perry and those who wrote the hit song.
Though he didn’t receive the $20 million he initially demanded, attorneys for Gray and his two co-writers on the 2009 song “Joyful Noise”, say they were pleased with the decision.
“These defendants have made millions and millions of dollars from their infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright,” Gray’s attorney, Michael A. Kahn, told the jury.
Perry herself will have to pay a little over $550,000, while Capitol Records has been made responsible for the vast majority of the $2 million payout. Defense attorneys had argued for an award of about $360,000 after the jury decided earlier this week that “Dark Horse” copied “Joyful Noise.”
Perry’s attorney, Christine Lepera, says they plan to fight the court’s ruling.
“The writers of Dark Horse consider this a travesty of justice,” Lepera said.
It was found that Perry herself made a profit of $2.4 million from the song, while Gray’s attorneys argued that her song had grossed about $41 million. It was the rhythmic instrumental riff from “Joyful Noise” that was copied throughout 45% of “Dark Horse,”. Kahn argued that his clients were entitled to 45% of the entire earnings of Perry’s album “Prism,” where her song appears.
The defense recommended dividing the award money by the number of songs on the album. Both sides agree that sales and streams of “Dark Horse” should be considered.
“A CD is a CD, you can’t break it into pieces,” Kahn said. “Every album had an infringing song. And not just any song, but the most popular song on the album.”
The trial ended on Monday with jurors finding all six writers of “Dark Horse” liable for copying from “Joyful Noise,”. That included Perry, who only co-wrote the lyrics to the song, and rapper Juicy J, who only provided one verse for it.