Katy Perry and collaborators found guilty of copyright infringement over 'Dark Horse'

Jury agrees with Christian rapper Flame that Perry copied the beat of his song.

July 30, 2019, 7:43 AM

Katy Perry has lost a copyright infringement suit over her song "Dark Horse."

A jury in Los Angeles federal court on Monday agreed with Christian rapper Marcus Gray, aka Flame, that Perry copied the beat of his 2008 song, "Joyful Noise," for her 2013 hit single, from her "Prism" album.

Billboard reports that Perry's collaborators, including Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Juicy J, were also found liable.

Perry wasn't present for the verdict but did take the stand during the seven-day trial. She, along with Dr. Luke and Martin, testified that they'd never heard "Joyful Noise."

However, the plaintiffs argued that Perry's parents, who are both pastors, and her short-lived stint as a Christian pop singer, may have made it more likely that she heard Gray's song.

But Perry countered that she was "mostly always listening to ... secular music anyway," even during the early part of her career.

This isn't the first trouble Perry's encountered with "Dark Horse." In early 2014, a Change.org petition called for the song's ancient Egyptian-themed video to be pulled from YouTube because of a brief shot that showed a man wearing a pendant representing the Arabic name for God, Allah. The man is later zapped into a pile of dust, along with the pendant -- the latter's destruction is what angered some Muslims.

Not long after the outcry, the video, which currently has 2.6 billion views on YouTube, was altered to remove the pendant.

"Dark Horse" isn't the first No. 1 hit to find itself at the center of a copyright controversy. In 2015, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay a combined $7.4 million to the estate of the late Marvin Gaye after a jury found that their hit "Blurred Lines" infringed on the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 song, "Got to Give It Up." That ruling was upheld in 2018.

According to Billboard, the damages portion of Perry's trial will begin Tuesday.