The case of alleged plagiarism on the hit “Dark Horse” pits rapper Marcus Gray and singer Katy Perry. Indeed, this rapper claims that the star was inspired by one of his songs on “Dark Horse” which appeared on the 2013 hit parade. He thus demanded $ 2.8 million from Katy Perry for violation of rights author. Fortunately for the 37-year-old singer, a federal appeals court ruled in her favor on March 10, according to information provided by Billboard. This court ruled that the rapper sought to “obtain an abusive monopoly on basic musical elements”. Indeed, the court found that the 2 songs only share basic musical elements.
It was in 2014 that Marcus Gray accused Katy Perry of copying his song “Joyful Noise”. At that time, the jurors had given him his case. Only, a judge reversed this verdict in 2020 on the grounds that “the ostinato that Katy Perry allegedly copied was too simple to be protected by copyright”. A decision that was confirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday, March 10. Moreover, the Court of Appeals of the United States affirmed that an action against Katy Perry would have dangerous consequences. “Allowing a copyright in this material would essentially amount to allowing an unfair monopoly over sequences of two-note pitches or even the minor scale itself,” the Court of Appeals wrote.
A landmark decision
According to the court, the alleged Katy Perry copy was “in reality no more than a two-note excerpt from a descending minor scale, with certain notes repeated”. The court also claimed that this same sequence was in other tracks like “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas”. “The footage should be free for future perpetrators to use,” the court said.
This decision in favor of Katy Perry will surely be a counterweight to an earlier decision regarding “Blurred Lines”, according to Billboard. It’s also likely that this decision will be cited in future copyright cases in the music world.
Katy Perry © Backgrid USA