Katy Perry’s Grammy-nominated hit “Dark Horse” copied a 2009 Christian rap song, a Los Angeles jury found Monday — and the pop star could now face a hefty payment.
The unanimous verdict came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors of “Joyful Noise” first filed the copyright infringement lawsuit against Perry, alleging that she stole from their rap for her 2013 smash.
Attorneys for Gray and his co-plaintiffs, Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu, claimed a riff featured through nearly half of “Dark Horse” was lifted from “Joyful Noise,” which Gray released under the stage name Flame.
The superstar singer’s lawyers argued the musical elements in question were so basic that making them liable to copyright would hurt all songwriters.
“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera said during closing arguments Thursday.
But the nine-person jury disagreed.
During the trial, Perry’s attorneys argued that she and the other “Dark Horse” creators, including producer Dr. Luke, don’t listen to Christian rap and had never heard of “Joyful Noise.”
Gray’s lawyers shot back that the song had been widely disseminated, with millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify and could have been heard by Perry and her co-authors.
They also pointed out that the “American Idol” judge launched her career as a Christian artist.
The trial included colorful moments, with the 34-year-old star offering to perform her hit live when the courtroom sound system had technical difficulties.
“Dark Horse” was the third single off Perry’s 2013 album “Prism” and spent four weeks atop the Billboard 100 in early 2014. Perry performed it at the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Next, the case will move to the penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe.
Jurors found all six songwriters, including Juicy J, who only wrote the rap for the tune, and all four corporations that released the smash liable.
Last year, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay nearly $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s family after a copyright lawsuit over their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.”
With Post wires
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