Lawsuit Against Katy Perry For Plagiarism Of 'Dark Horse' Fails

Michael Kahn, the plaintiff's lawyer, said that his clients are exploring their legal options. Photo: Katy Perry/Instagram

On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that Katy Perry and her team cannot be held responsible for a hip-hop artist's claim that they copied her song "Dark Horse" from their Christian rap song.

By a 3-0 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Flame, who goes by the name Marcus Gray, is not entitled to damages for copyright infringement over a musical pattern he claimed Katy used from his song "Joyful Noise."

The California-based court, Pasadena, ruled that the eight-note pattern lacked the degree of originality required for copyright protection because it was made up of commonplace musical elements.


Flame and two other plaintiffs had been awarded $2.79 million by a Los Angeles jury in July 2019. The following March, however, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder set aside that verdict, saying Katy had not violated any independently protectable elements in the music.

It is worth noting that Christina's decision came just one week after the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin concerning the opening guitar riff to "Stairway to Heaven."

According to the appeals court, the "Dark Horse" jury verdict should be overturned. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Michael Kahn, said his clients are exploring their legal options.

Christine Lepera, a lawyer for Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Capitol said that they were thrilled with the ruling.

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