Judge reverses Katy Perry $2.8M ‘Dark Horse’ plagiarism verdict

Seven months after a jury deemed Katy Perry guilty of improperly copying a 2008 Christian rap song with her 2013 hit, Dark Horse, a federal judge in Los Angeles has overturned that verdict.

Reversing one of the music industry’s most controversial plagiarism cases, Judge Christina A. Snyder handed the now-pregnant pop icon a victory on Tuesday and found that Marcus Gray‘s Joyful Noise was not distinctive enough to be protected by copyright, despite what the jury decided last July, as reported to the Associated Press.

The Christian musician, known professionally as “Flame,” filed a lawsuit against Perry, 35, back in 2014, accusing her of using instrumental elements from his original — and underground — song without permission.

“It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favourable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in Joyful Noise is not a particularly unique or rare combination,” Snyder wrote in her decision, according to court documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.

In the legal dispute, Gray, 38, targeted not only Perry, but her team as well, including co-songwriters: Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Sarah Hudson and American rapper Juicy J, who is also featured on Dark Horse.

Last August, the jury awarded Gray and his co-writers US$2.78 million from Perry and those songwriting partners, however, the verdict has since been reversed, meaning they no longer have to pay up.

During her testimony last July, Perry claimed that before the lawsuit came about, she had heard of neither Joyful Noise or Gray.

Perry’s own lawyer, Christine Lepera, backed her up by saying that the musical elements used in Dark Horse are so simple that it would affect the majority of songwriters.

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