Katy Perry Loses ‘Dark Horse’ Copyright Trial

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Katy Perry performs onstage with Zedd at Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, Calif.

A jury has found Katy Perry liable for copying the underlying beat of Marcus Gray’s 2008 Christian rap song “Joyful Noise” for her hit single “Dark Horse” in a verdict handed down on Monday (July 29) in Los Angeles federal court.


Also found liable were Perry’s “Dark Horse” collaborators Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), Karl Martin Sandberg (Max Martin), Henry Walter (Cirkut), songwriter Sarah Hudson and Jordan Michael Houston (Juicy J), as well as Capitol Records, Warner Bros. Music Corporation, Kobalt Publishing and Kasz Money Inc.

Perry and her collaborators were sued in 2014 by Gray (aka Flame), who claimed they had used the beat from his 2008 track “Joyful Noise” in “Dark Horse” without permission. Chike Ojukwu, who created the beat, and co-writer Emanuel Lambert were also plaintiffs in the case.

After a trial lasting seven days, the jury of six women and three men ultimately decided in favor of the plaintiffs, who set out to prove that Perry and her co-defendants had — either knowingly or unknowingly — copied the “Joyful Noise” beat for “Dark Horse.”

Judge Christina A. Snyder had previously granted a joint request for a bifurcated trial, with today’s judgment concluding the liability portion. The damages portion of the trial will begin on Tuesday.

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