You are here

Katy Perry and others must pay US$2.8m in dispute over 'Dark Horse', says jury

BP_Katy Perry_020819_62.jpg
A federal jury in Los Angeles on Thursday decided that Katy Perry and others must pay US$2.8 million in damages in a copyright dispute over her 2013 song Dark Horse.

[NEW YORK] A federal jury in Los Angeles on Thursday decided that Katy Perry and others must pay US$2.8 million in damages in a copyright dispute over her 2013 song Dark Horse.

The verdict came three days after the jury found that Perry, her record company and other collaborators were liable for copyright infringement because parts of Dark Horse resembled Joyful Noise, a Christian rap song from 2008 by the artist Flame, whose real name is Marcus Gray.

According to the verdict, Perry must pay US$550,000, while her label, Capitol Records, owes nearly US$1.3 million. Perry's five collaborators in writing the song were also ordered to pay, including star producers Max Martin, who owes US$253,000, and Dr Luke, who owes US$61,000 personally, while his company, Kasz Money Inc, owes US$189,000.

The jury found that 22.5 per cent of the profits from Dark Horse — which held the No 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for four weeks in 2014 — were attributable to parts of Joyful Noise.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

Michael Kahn, a lawyer for Gray, said in a statement: "Our clients filed this lawsuit five years ago seeking justice and fair compensation for the unauthorised taking of their valuable creation. It has been a long and arduous path to this day, but they are quite pleased to have received the justice they sought."

Representatives for Perry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dark Horse is the latest music copyright case to draw wide attention and has revived debate about what constitutes infringement. Lawyers for Perry argued that what little the two songs had in common were basic and generic musical elements — like a melodic pattern of a few repeated notes — that could not be protected by copyright.

Four years ago, a jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' song Blurred Lines copied Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up; Thicke and Williams were ultimately ordered to pay more than US$5 million.

Next month, a federal appeals court in San Francisco will consider whether Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway to Heaven copied a far less known song, Taurus by the band Spirit, in a case being closely watched in the music industry.

NYTIMES