Katy Perry ordered to pay over half a million dollars to Christian rapper in copyright infringement case

Published 02 August 2019  |  
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Singer-Songwriter Katy Perry arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 7, 2018.

Katy Perry has been ordered to pay $550,000 to Christian rapper Flame after a court upheld his copyright infringement claim.

The California jury found in favour of Flame, real name Marcus Gray, earlier this week when it ruled that the 2013 song "Dark Horse" copied the underlying beat from his 2009 song "Joyful Noise", featuring rapper Lecrae.

Flame first launched a legal challenge in 2014, saying that the beat from "Joyful Noise", which appeared on his Grammy-nominated gospel album Our World: Redeemed,had been used without his permission.

"Defendants never sought or obtained permission from plaintiffs to use the 'Joyful Noise' song in creating, reproducing, recording, distributing, selling, or publicly performing defendants' song," the complaint reads.

"Plaintiffs never gave any of the defendants permission, consent, or a license to use 'Joyful Noise' for any purpose, including creation of a derivative work based on 'Joyful Noise'."

Although the legal proceedings related to the beat, the court determined that Perry, her producers and songwriters were also liable.

Called to give evidence during the trial, Perry claimed she had never heard of Flame or "Joyful Noise" before recording "Dark Horse".

Flame has been awarded $2.7m in total, with most of that amount falling to Perry's label Capitol Records.

The US court ordered Perry to pay $550,000 (around £454,000) from the money she made off "Dark Horse", which came from her album Prism and sold 13.2 million units worldwide, making it the second biggest selling single in 2014.

Flame was hoping to be awarded considerably more, up to $20m, the BBC reports.

His attorney Michael Kahn told the court: "These defendants made millions and millions of dollars from their infringement of the plaintiffs' song."

Perry's attorney Christine Lepera called the decision a "travesty of justice". Her legal team plan to appeal.

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