Katy Perry Wins Appeal in Copyright Case Regarding 2013 Hit Song “Dark Horse”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

In one of a seemingly commonplace string of copyright lawsuits aimed at big name stars, pop sensation Katy Perry won her appeal in a trial regarding her 2013 hit song “Dark Horse.”

The rapper Flame had argued that Perry had plagiarized one of his works but a judge has now ruled a win for Flame would create a precedent that would “limit musical creativity.”

As a result, the musician will not have to pay nearly $3 million to Flame (born Marcus Gray), who claimed that her track stole an eight-note ostinato (or, a repeated musical phrase) from his 2009 track, “Joyful Noise.”

Originally, Gray sued Perry and Capitol Records in 2016 and was initially awarded $2.8 million in a jury verdict three years later. But Perry since appealed and a federal district court judge vacated the verdict, The Guardian reports.

That judge ruled that Gray was aiming to claim an “improper monopoly” over “musical building blocks.”

The new ruling reads: The ostinatos in Perry and Gray’s songs “consist entirely of commonplace musical elements, and … the similarities between them do not arise out of an original combination of these elements.”

The judge continued, saying that to allow copyright over the music would amount “to allowing an improper monopoly over two-note pitch sequences or even the minor scale itself, especially in light of the limited number of expressive choices available when it comes to an eight-note repeated musical figure.”

Other big-name artists have been facing copyright lawsuits of late, including Dua Lipa (twice) and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. Read about each of those HERE and HERE.

And check out both Perry and Flame’s songs in question below.

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