Katy Perry Loses ‘Dark Horse’ Copyright Lawsuit, Copied From Christian Rap Song

2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 3
Katy Perry performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Getty Images)

A California federal court jury has ruled that Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” was stolen from Christian rapper Marcus Gray, who performs as Flame.

The decision, issued Monday afternoon, quickly moves the proceedings towards the damages phase, where Perry could face millions in penalties and the forfeiture of future earnings from the song.

The trial lasted for about one week before today’s decision was issued. It’s unclear if Perry will appeal the decision, though Perry’s attorneys are petitioning U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder to toss the jury’s decision as meritless given the evidence presented.

2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 3
Katy Perry performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Getty Images)

Perry was not present when the verdict was read.

Her attorneys argued that the song sections in question represent the kind of simple musical elements that if found to be subject to copyright would hurt music and all songwriters.

“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera said during closing arguments Thursday.

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Katy Perry performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Getty Images)

The lawsuit was lodged by Gray, Emmanuel Lambert, Chike Ojukwu, and Lecrae Moore; the group’s song, “Joyful Noise,” was originally released in 2008. “Dark Horse” was released in 2013.

Also found liable were Lukasz Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke), Karl Martin Sandberg (aka Max Martin), Henry Walter (aka Cirkut), songwriter Sarah Hudson, and rapper Jordan Michael Houston (aka Juicy J), who appeared as a featured artist on the song. Capitol Records, Warner Music, Kobalt Publishing and Kasz Money Inc. were also named defendants.

2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 3
Katy Perry performs onstage with Zedd at Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Today (July 30, 2019), the case moves to the penalty phase in which the jury will decide how much the plaintiffs are owed for copyright infringement, The Associated Press reported.

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