A jury has determined that Katy Perry lifted the beat for her 2013 single “Dark Horse” from a 2008 Christian rap song called “Joyful Noise.”
Before we go any further, let’s compare. Here’s “Dark Horse”:
And here’s Joyful Noise:
According to the AP, Gray and his two co-writers first filed their suit five years ago, arguing that the beat and instrumental line of “Dark Horse” is “substantially similar” to that found in “Joyful Noise.”
Attorneys for Perry countered that Gray doesn’t have the patent on sounds, okay?:
Meanwhile, Perry’s attorneys argued that those elements found in “Dark Horse” represent the foundations of music, and that a decision against Perry would set negative precedents for music and songwriters in general.
“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.
Perry, along with producer Dr. Luke and co-writer Max Martin, testified that they had never heard “Joyful Noise” ahead of getting sued. Attorneys for Gray said their song had been listened to millions of times on YouTube and Spotify, thereby arguing that it was unlikely Perry and co. hadn’t come across it:
“They’re trying to shove Mr. Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Michael A. Kahn during closing arguments, when he also pointed out that Perry had begun her career as a Christian artist.
The jury arrived at its decision over seven days, though oddly, reports say they listened to the two tracks back-to-back only at the end of closing arguments. What? Shouldn’t they have had to listen to it enough times to permanently rewire their brains? Or would that have been mean?