Katy Perry wins ‘Dark Horse’ copyright lawsuit appeal

Katy Perry
performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, California.

A federal appeals court has ruled in favour of singer-songwriter Katy Perry in the ‘Dark Horse’ copyright lawsuit against Christian rapper Marcus Gray.

According to Variety, Perry was first sued by Gray in 2014, when he had claimed that her song ‘Dark Horse’ had similarity to his song ‘Joyful Noise’.

Though Perry was found liable for infringement in 2019 by the Los Angeles jury, however, a year later, when a judge ruled that the eight-note “ostinato” Perry allegedly copied lacked the “quantum of originality” to warrant copyright protection, that verdict was overturned.

In 2020, Gray appealed the decision by writing in a brief about the incriminating similarity of timbre between the songs, he argued against the musicologists’ use of databases of melodies to determine instances of similarities in previous works.

Now, on March 10, 2022, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the District Court’s overturning the initial jury verdict.

The win that Perry had in 2020 marks a rare occasion in which a court overturned a jury verdict in a copyright infringement case. Led Zeppelin also defeated plaintiff Michael Skidmore over a factually similar suit over ‘Stairway to Heaven’ that same year.

As per variety, currently, Dua Lipa has two lawsuits for her global hit ‘Levitating’, which has spent over a year on the Billboard Hot 100.