Katy Perry and her team are not responsible for a hip-hop artist who claimed to have copied his No. 1 hit “Dark Horse” from his Christian rap song, an appeals court heard Thursday federal.
According to Reuters, in a 3-0 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Flame, whose first name is Marcus Gray, did not deserve damages for copyright infringement on a musical pattern he said Perry, 37, borrowed from her song “Screams of Joy.”
The Pasadena, Calif., court said the eight-note pattern, known as the ostinato, consisted “entirely of common musical elements” that lacked the “quantum of originality” needed to protect copyright. author.
A Los Angeles jury had in July 2019 awarded Flame and two other plaintiffs $2.79 million, including $550,000 from Perry and $1.29 million from her Capitol Records label, which is part of Universal Music. Group.
But the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder, overturned that verdict the following March, saying Perry had not infringed any independently copyrightable musical material.
Snyder ruled a week after the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in a similar case regarding the opening guitar riff of his song “Stairway to Heaven.”
The appeals court agreed that the verdict of the “Dark Horse” jury should not stand.
“If we were to decide otherwise, it is hard to believe that a collection of pitches laid out in flat rhythm could fail to meet the threshold of originality,” circuit judge Milan Smith wrote.
Michael Kahn, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said his clients are considering their legal options.
He stated that not granting “Joyful Noise” protection “goes against a series of simple and clearly distinctive 8-note opening melodies” as in Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Perry’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Christine Lepera, attorney for Capitol and Perry producers Cirkut, Dr. Luke and Max Martin, said they were “very pleased” with the decision.
“Dark Horse” appeared on Perry’s 2013 album “Prism” and spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014…Reuters