A federal jury in Los Angeles found that pop star Katy Perry committed copyright infringement with her 2013 hit, “Dark Horse,” which was too close to a Christian rap song entitled, “Joyful Noise,” penned by artist Marcus Gray and his co-writers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The case will proceed to the penalty phase to determine how much Perry must pay to settle the case.
“Dark Horse,” was described as a hybrid of pop, trap, and hip-hop sounds on Perry’s 2013 album “Prism.” The song spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014. The song also earned Perry a Grammy nomination. Compare the tunes for yourself.
Gray’s “joyful Noise.”
Perry’s “Dark Horse.”
Perry and her producer, Dr. Luke, claimed they had never heard of “Joyful Noise” until the lawsuit was filed. Perry’s attorneys argued that the beats were too generic and common to be thought exclusive to “Dark Horse” and that similar sounds are heard throughout all of music. They also argued that copyrighting such things could seriously harm the music industry.
“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s legal team said, according to Billboard.
But Marcus Gray said the two tunes were far more alike than simple beats. He also asserted that either of them could have heard his song at the Grammy Awards, or on any of the various social media platforms when it debuted.
Perry went so far as to offer to perform her song live in the courtroom, though the judge ruled that unnecessary.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.