Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' ruling is the latest in music copyright infringement wars

A jury will decide how much Perry owes Marcus Gray and two co-authors, who first sued Perry five years ago for copyright infringement, claiming she copied from their song, "Joyful Noise."
6:21 | 08/02/19

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Transcript for Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' ruling is the latest in music copyright infringement wars
Katy Perry's hit song "Dark horse" earned her lots of awards and lots of money. Today a jury decided the singer's smash sensation is going to cost her. Here's Rebecca Jarvis. Reporter: Katy Perry's "Dark horse", one of the biggest hits of 2013. More than 13 million copies worldwide. Racking up more than 2 billion views on YouTube. Performed live at the super bowl. Katy Perry! Reporter: The music video even won the 2014 mtv best female video award. For now it appears that the party is officially over. Perry and her team found guilty of copyright infringement. A jury today awarding Christian rapper Marcus gray $2.78 million in damages, a small fraction of the estimated $41 million profit the record made. Gray, who goes by flame alleged that she told the riff from "Joyful noise", to create one of the underlying beats for "Dark horse." Let's play that again. Here's one. Here's the other. Gray first filed the lawsuit against Perry in 2014, saying that his song's memorable beat had been stolen. While Perry's team argued in court that gray was trying to own basic building blocks of music that could hurt all Very rare that you're going to hear some completely esoteric melody in a pop song, because that kind of defeats the definition of pop. Reporter: Gray's legal team spoke to us tonight about the decision. My clients feel vindicated. They feel that they've received justice. Reporter: Perry's attorneys issuing a statement tonight, saying in part, the writers of "Dark horse" view the verdicts as a travesty of justice. We will continue to fight at all appropriate levels to rectify the injustice. But determining whether or not a song was inspired by another or plagiarized is a tricky one. You have experts on both sides testifying that it is substantially similar, it's not substantially similar. And then the jurors have to, in the end, weigh in as the final word. Reporter: Perry and her song's co-authors testified during the seven-day trial that they had never heard of gray or his song. But gray's attorneys pointed to the millions of plays "Joyful noise" had on YouTube and Spotify and the grammy nomination his Christian album received, saying Perry's team could have heard the song and citing her Christian roots. There's no question that this verdict and others like it are sending a loud message to big-time music stars. You better be careful. Ice, ice baby Reporter: Remember this classic '80s beat from a Mr. Vanilla ice? Reporter: Ice ice baby was a platinum hit, but to some that beat might sound too familiar. Reporter: David bowie and queen thought so, at least and sued vanilla ice in 1990 for copyright infringement of "Under pressure." Pressure Reporter: They ultimately settled out of court. There's also Ed sheeran's 2014 song "Thinking out loud." Take me into your Lovin' arms Reporter: And Marvin Gaye's hit, "Let's get it on." The estate of Marvin Gaye's co-writers sued sheeran for $100 million in 2016, again for copyright infringement which sheeran has denied. The trial date is set for September of this year. This isn't the first trial that's involved a Marvin Gaye song. Singer robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams found themselves in court after a lawsuit was brought on by the Gaye family on whether "Blurred lines" ripped off "Gottagive it up", heard on soul train. I took it to a music producer and instructor, Chris Preti. This is the Marvin Gaye and here's the beginning of "Blurs lines." Reporter: And this is the heart of the argument. You would have thought it was "Blurred lines." Reporter: And the jury must have thought so, too. The jury awarded Marvin Gaye's family millions after they determined that they did indeed copy Marvin Gaye's music. A big upset to the defense. Nothing detracts from the fact that we know it, that the song "Blurred lines" came from the heart and soul of Pharrell Williams and no one else. Reporter: As the lines between music tracks continue to Katy, did you use music or rhythm's from flame's song? It will embolden people to, you know, who may not really have a case to pursue one, and, you know, there are some statistic, I think it was eight out of the ten songs nominated for grammy song of the year had lawsuits filed against them. So people smell money. Reporter: Artists may have to create tunes on wholly original ideas or be prepared to pony up.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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