It’s no secret that plagiarism is an endemic that has pervaded the global music industry for decades but, for the most renowned of popstars, being stuck in the crossfire of litigation stemming from it is a rare sight to behold; one that we observed this week.
On Monday, a federal court in California ruled that singer Katy Perry and her team of producers had plagiarised their multi-platinum-selling 2013 single ‘Dark Horse.’
The lawsuit was lodged by Christian rapper Flame – real name Marcus Tyrone Gray – on the basis of the argument that Perry and her team had copied his 2008 release ‘Joyful Noise.’
Perry’s legal team, led by Christine Lepera, stated that Gray’s song was too obscure to have been noticed by Perry at any given period and that the similarities in both tracks, which in their opinion only pertained to the beat, were minute.
In addition to Perry herself, the court will also hold liable rapper Juicy J, who featured on the track and even wrote a verse, producers Dr Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut, and lyricist Sarah Hudson.
Though the court ruled in Gray’s favour, a separate legal process will now ensue to determine the extent of the damages that have to be paid, which could amount to millions in terms of royalties and licencing.
Released in 2013, Dark Horse remains a phenom in pop music, with a music video that has over 2.6 billion views on YouTube and having been certified diamond for worldwide sales easily exceeding 10 million copies.
Joyful Noise, on the other hand, has only 3.6 million views on the platform, with a similar number of streams on Spotify, compared to Dark Horse’s 600 million-plus.