Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Katy Perry and team to pay Dh9.9m after jury finds 'Dark Horse' copied Christian rap song

'Dark Horse' was the third single from Perry's 2013 album Prism and spent four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014

Katy Perry and her team must pay $2.7 million in damages to Christian rapper Flame after a jury ruled Dark Horse was copied (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)
Katy Perry and her team must pay $2.7 million in damages to Christian rapper Flame after a jury ruled Dark Horse was copied (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

A Christian rapper was awarded $2.7 million (Dh9.9m) on Thursday by a Los Angeles jury that found Katy Perry's 2013 hit Dark Horse contained a musical passage from one of his songs.

The verdict, reported by Los Angeles City News Service, followed a copyright trial in which Marcus Gray, known as Flame, said the beat in his song Joyful Noise was lifted and used in Perry's single.

The jury last week ruled that the short passage in the two songs was identical.

Perry, who was not in federal court for the damages decision, testified last month that she believed Dark Horse was an original work. The song was created by her producers and writers after she was presented with a series of short instrumental passages, the pop star testified.

Her attorney said she would appeal.

Rapper Marcus Gray, right, smiles as his attorney, Michael A. Kahn, second from right, congratulates Gray's wife, Crystal, as they leave the federal courthouse in Los Angeles, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. A jury has decided that Katy Perry, her collaborators and her record label must pay more than $2.78 million because the pop star's 2013 hit "Dark Horse" copied a Christian rap song by Gray. Perry's attorney said they plan to vigorously fight the decision. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Rapper Marcus Gray, right, smiles as his attorney, Michael A. Kahn, second from right, congratulates Gray's wife, Crystal, as they leave the federal courthouse in Los Angeles (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

"The writers of Dark Horse consider this a travesty of justice," attorney Christine Lepera told reporters outside the court, City News reported.

Dark Horse brought in about $31 million (Dh113m) for record label Capitol Records, a unit of Universal Music Group, attorneys for both sides agreed during the trial. Perry earned about $3.2 million (Dh11.7m).

On Thursday, Capitol Records was ordered to pay $1.2 million (Dh4.4m) in damages to Gray, while Perry was ordered to pay $550,000 (Dh2m). Producers and other collaborators on the song were told to pay the balance of the $2.7 million award.

Flame, 37, from St. Louis, Missouri, released his first album in 2004 and has had several hits on the Billboard gospel and Christian charts, but is little known outside of that genre.

Perry, 34, rose to fame in 2008 and went on to become one of the best-selling female pop stars in the world.

Updated: August 2, 2019 04:02 PM

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