Katy Perry won a legal victory in court after a California judge reversed a $2.8 million copyright infringement suit filed by a Christian rapper, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the decision, handed down on Tuesday (March 17), U.S. Court District Judge Christina Snyder concluded that plaintiff Marcus Gray failed to prove that Perry copied his song “Joyful Noise” for her 2013 single “Dark Horse.”
In order to prove infringement “a plaintiff must establish ownership of a valid copyright and copying of constituent elements of the work that are original,” the legal decision states.
Gray, a.k.a. “Flame” sued Perry, Capitol Records, and producer Dr Luke. After reviewing the evidence, including testimony from musicologist Dr. Todd Decker, Snyder ruled in Perry’s favor.
“Because the sole musical phrase that plaintiffs claim infringement upon is not protectable expression, the extrinsic test is not satisfied, and plaintiff’s infringement claim — even with the evidence construed in plaintiffs’ favor — fails as a matter of law,” Snyder wrote.
“It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the 8-note obstinate in ‘Joyful Noise’ is not a particularly unique or rare combination, even in its deployment as an obstinate: prior compositions, including prior works composed by the parties, as well as what all agree is a separate non-infringing ostinato in ‘Dark Horse,’ all contain similar elements.”