Katy Perry is currently being sued by a Christian hip hop artist over similarities between her hit single ‘Dark Horse‘ and a song of his from several years ago. Getting in a copyright dispute is probably not ideal, although by all accounts, the trial actually sounds like quite a fun time.
Rapper Marcus Gray claims that Perry’s 2013 hit uses an instrumental phrase nearly identical to one from his own song ‘Joyful Noise‘. In a claim that has since been dropped, he also accused Perry of tainting his song with “witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery.”
The singer took to the stand on Thursday to testify, but when her lawyers attempted to play ‘Dark Horse’, technical difficulties prevented this. Per reports in Billboard, after several minutes of “awkward scrambling” Perry said “I could perform it for you live”, to the laughter of all those present.
She reportedly wore a “mint green suit” and matching earrings to the trial, a fashion statement to which I have no objection. Honestly, Katy’s day in court sounds delightful, and hers is exactly the kind of energy I would like to bring should I ever get sued by a Christian rapper.
Many of the arguments in the trial so far have centred around whether Perry and her team would or could have heard ‘Joyful Noise’ before composing ‘Dark Horse’.
Witnesses for Marcus Gray gave evidence that the song was a hit in Christian music circles and was widely-available on streaming services, as well as being performed at venues around the US, meaning Perry’s people could well have been exposed to it.
In her opening statement, defence lawyer Christine Lepera rejected this proposition, saying it defies “common sense” to claim that Perry or her team would have heard the song, given its relative obscurity as well as the massive amount of music available for online streaming.
Furthermore, she argued that the “underlying beat” of the songs, which is the issue at hand, is “too simple” to be the basis of a copyright claim. “You can’t copyright common building blocks of music,” she said.
When Katy Perry took the stand herself, she said that she was presented with the instrumental track for ‘Dark Horse‘ by her co-writers, and that she was not aware of any similarity to ‘Joyful Noise’ because she was not familiar with the song.
She also that while she and producer Dr. Luke watched YouTube for inspiration while working together in the studio, they watched mainly “cat videos”, and did not go looking around for any other music to inspire the beat of ‘Dark Horse’.
Under cross-examination, Perry testified that, while she got her start in Christian music and released a Christian rock album in 2001 under the name Katy Hudson, she typically only listens to secular music, and has done so from the start of his career through to today.
The trial is ongoing. Meanwhile, Katy Perry is still involved in a drawn-out dispute with some nuns over her purchase of a convent. I guess you could say her legal woes are
over:Image: Getty Images / Lester Cohen