Christian rapper Flame claims Perry and producer Dr. Luke stole the underlying beat of his "Joyful Noise" -- they claim they'd never heard it.
In a rare copyright case to face a jury trial, Katy Perry has lost and now faces damages in a case brought against her by Christian artist Marcus Gray, professional name Flame, claiming that Perry's 2013 single "Dark Horse" sampled his own 2008 Christian hit "Joyful Noise" without his permission.
In particular, the Christian rapper alleges that Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke sampled the underlying beat from his song. Though both Perry and Dr. Luke insisted they had never heard "Joyful Noise" prior to Gray's lawsuit, the nine-person jury found unanimously in favor of the plaintiff on Monday.
Gray argued that any of the defendants could have heard his track, which was a hit in the Christian music market, on the Grammy Awards, on streaming platforms, YouTube or any place else such music might be broadcast. Perry's lawyers argued the beat was too common and too brief to even be protected by copyright, but the jury clear disagreed.
Their decision came after a week-long trial that was itself filled with bizarre moments, such as when Katy Perry offered to sing her track when attorneys had difficulty playing it in court. That offer was met with laughter, according to CNN, and certainly wouldn't have helped the jury hear the underlying beat in question.
During the trial, Perry said that producer Dr. Luke and his co-writer Cirkut (Henry Walter) provided the track to her, and so the underlying beat in question may have been in there without her even being aware of it, according to Variety.
Other co-writers named in Gray's suit include producer Max Martin, songwriter Sarah Hudson and rapper Juicy J, who featured on the track with Perry.
Perry's lawyer did file a motion on Thursday asking for a ruling from the judge that no reasonable jury could possibly determine copyright infringement based on the evidence that was presented at trial. The Hollywood Reporter says that ruling is still pending, so it is still possible this determination could be thrown out.
In the meantime, though, the trial itself moves toward the damages phase which begins immediately on Tuesday. While Perry was present for her 35-minute testimony, she was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read.