Lawsuit Coming at You Like a ‘Dark Horse ’.

A jury in Los Angles has ruled that Katy Perry’s hit song ‘Dark Horse’ copied the 2008 Christian rap song ‘Joyful Noise’ by artist Flame.

Katy Perry (Image Source CNBC)
Katy Perry (Image Source CNBC)

Five years after the initial lawsuit began, Marcus Gray, stage name ‘Flame’, and two co-authors would be feeling vindicated as the nine member federal jury ruled that ‘Dark Horse’ released in 2013 by Katy Perry, copied substantially elements of their song ‘Joyful Noise’ which was released in 2008. Gray’s lawyers argued that the beat and instrumental line featured in Dark Horse were almost identical to that of Joyful Noise. Perry’s lawyer, Christine Lepera argued that the sections of song in question were simple music elements, in her closing arguments stated that “they’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone.”

This is not the first case of an artist being sued for copyright within the music industry. Countless lawsuits and allegations have been made over the years involving many famous stars. With this phenomenon apparently on the rise, is it a case of lazy song writing or do we need to change the definition of the copyright laws? When a jury sits down and makes a ruling in these cases they are based on sheet music as well as a ‘vibe’ of a song. Yet so many songs follow a similar chord progression. Comedy band Axis of Awesome most famously made people aware of this with the 4 chord song. Indeed music is as much about originality as it is taking something old and allowing for creative license to change it into something new. It is important that these laws exist to stop outright copying of songs but if the fundamental basics of music are going to lead to law suits for artists is it about time we applied some common sense to the matter and simply let it be?

Do the songs sound the same? Check out the video and decide for yourself.

 

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Kieran Petrik-Bruce is a writer, Deakin University Arts graduate, book lover and sports nut who loves to spend his free time writing, reading and, talking about sport. When he isn’t talking about sport he is playing dodgeball and has competed 3 times for Australia internationally in dodgeball between 2016-2018. As an Arts graduate from Deakin University with a major in journalism, Kieran wants to share his passion for sport with the rest of the world and to travel the world and have the rest of the world share their many passions and experiences with him.