A jury on Monday found that Katy Perry’s 2013 hit “Dark Horse” improperly copied a 2009 Christian rap song in a unanimous decision that represented a rare takedown of a pop superstar and her elite producer by a relatively unknown artist.
The verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors, first sued in 2014 alleging “Dark Horse” stole from “Joyful Noise,” a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.
Many Christians business owners and leaders think that being saved is enough to protect your smarts, music, brands, and slogans. Someone once said that as an influencer you have to be okay with people snatching your work, content, slogans, material, and preaching technique.
This case is the prime example of why you need more protection when it comes to your intellectual property and content. The case now goes to a penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe for copyright infringement.
But in a decision that left many in the courtroom surprised, jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the songs were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song’s words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song. Perry was not present when the verdict was read.
Other defendants found liable were Capitol Records as well as Perry’s producers: Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who came up with the song’s beat.
“Dark Horse,” a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single of Perry’s 2013 album “Prism,” spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014, and earned a Grammy nomination for Perry, who performed the song during her 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.
“They’re trying to shove Mr. Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Michael A. Kahn during closing arguments, when he also pointed out that Perry had begun her career as a Christian artist.
Jurors agreed, finding that the song was distributed widely enough that the “Dark Horse” writers may well have heard it.
Kahn and Gray declined comment but smiled as they left the courtroom after the verdict.
what are your thoughts? Leave your comments below, I’d love to know what you’re doing to protect your God-given product, content, and tools.