Katy Perry lost a lawsuit over her song “Dark Horse” to Christian Rapper Flame He sued Capitol Records, Katy, Dr. Luke and 7 other songwriters for allegedly infringing the copyright on his song “Joyful Noise.”
Now, the federal jury in Los Angeles has awarded damages. The American Idol judge will have to pay $440K to Flame. Capitol Records will have to shell out $1.2 million. Dr. Luke has been ordered to pay $60,799 while six other producers are on the hook for anywhere between $29k to $253k.
According to TMZ, Flame will get a total of $1.7 million from all the defendants. The jury declared that he was owed %22.5 of the “Dark Horse” profits. To date, Katy has earned $3.2 million off of the song and its album Prism, while Capitol earned $31 million.
Flame’s Grammy-nominated gospel track came out in 2008. Katy dropped “Dark Horse” in 2014.
A unanimous jury returned the initial verdict that Katy and her co-defendants improperly copied the Christian rap track. In the lawsuit, first filed back in 2014, Flame claimed Katy stole the underlying beat and riff in the middle of “Joyful Noise” for “Dark Horse.” He also said it “destroyed his reputation in Christian music because he became associated with the anti-Christian imagery present in her music vid.”
Katy said during her jury testimony earlier this month that she’d never even heard Flame’s song before he filed the lawsuit. She first heard the beats from Dr. Luke and wrote “Dark Horse” in only 4 hours.
However, Flame’s legal team was able to convince the jury that his song was popular and prevalent enough to have been heard and stolen.
These copyright lawsuits are problematic because these juries decided the cases don’t really have a grasp on music fundamentals. However, there are elements in both songs that sound similar. However, I would imagine Katy and the rest of the defendants will appeal the verdict.
Check out both songs for yourself.
Katy Perry’s Dark Horse
Flame’s Joyful Noise