Christian rapper Flame has lost his court battle with pop singer Katy Perry, who he accused of copying a beat from his song.
Marcus Gray, a Christian rapper who goes by the name of Flame, has lost his copyright court case against Katy Perry. In 2014, he sued Perry for allegedly copying a beat from his 2008 song titled "Joyful Noise," which featured Christian rapper Lecrae and musician John Reilly. Gray alleged that the beat was used in Perry's hit song "Dark Horse," which featured Juicy J and was released in 2013.
Christian Headlines reported that earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judges unanimously ruled that Perry did not have to pay up to $2.8 million in damages. the Ninth Circuit's Court of Appeals decision upheld a 2020 district court ruling that overturned one from 2019, which ordered Perry and her record label, Capitol Records, to pay $550,000 and $2,230,000, respectively, for a total of $2.8 million to Gray for copyright infringement.
As per Christianity Today, Gray's attorney issued a statement last week expressing how they were "disappointed by the court's rejection of the unanimous verdict" from the first trial. The lawsuit's central issue was the repeated pattern of notes called an ostinato. Similar ostinatos could be heard in the beginning of both songs by Gray and Perry.
But attorneys Eric Ball and Ryan Kwock of Fenwick, a law firm focusing on technology and intellectual property, wrote in a statement addressing the judge's decision that the Ninth Circuit's Court of Appeals "concluded that the two songs' similar ostinatos result only from the use of commonplace, unoriginal musical principles, and thus could not be the basis for a copyright infringement claim."
The attorneys argued that despite Perry's win in the case that declared her as non-infringing, "the opinion simultaneously signals the weaknesses in the 'Dark Horse' song's copyright itself." They argued that if the ostinato in Gray's "Joyful Noise" is unprotectable, then the "similar elements in the ostinato in 'Dark Horse' could be unprotectable, too." This meant that other songs could use "similar-sounding elements" without being sued for infringement.
According to Church Leaders, Gray was disappointed at how his song "Joyful Noise" had been "irreparably tarnished irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in 'Dark Horse.'" But Perry and her co-songwriters denied ever hearing "Joyful Noise," before, claiming that they do not listen to Christian music. Gray's team fired back, saying that the Christian rapper's song was "widely played" and even received a Grammy nomination.
"Dark Horse" on the other hand has sold over 13 million copies worldwide and is the result of several songwriters' work, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote the lyrics and rapper Juicy J, who wrote his verse. World renowned producer Max Martin produced the track alongside Dr. Luke and Cirkut, who created the beat in question at the center of the lawsuit, Rolling Stone reported.