Katy Perry's Hit 'Dark Horse' Copied a Christian Rap Song, a Jury Finds

The singer took the stand at the beginning of the trial to defend her song "Dark Horse" after she was accused of copyright infringement

A verdict has been reached in Katy Perry‘s copyright infringement lawsuit — and the results are not in her favor.

A nine-member jury in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday found that Perry and her songwriting team improperly copied Christian rapper Flame’s (a.k.a. Marcus Gray) 2008 song “Joyful Noise” in her 2013 hit “Dark Horse” without Gray’s permission, the Associated Press reports.

As the verdict was read, Perry, 34, was reportedly not present in the courtroom.

The case now moves to a penalty phase, where the jury will determine how much Perry and her team, including the song’s co-creators Dr. Luke and Cirkut, will owe for the copyright infringement, according to the outlet.

The trial that began earlier this month helped settle a dispute over whether the underlying beat and instrumental line from Flame’s song were also used in Perry’s Grammy-nominated hit.

Katy Perry
Katy Perry. Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

The pop singer’s attorneys argued that the beat and the song are derivative, and the beat is too common to be protected by copyright.

“There is no copyright registration for the Beat itself, which means that no claim for copyright infringement can be brought with respect to the Beat,” Billboard reported.

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They also claimed in court on Thursday that considering it a copyright infringement would be detrimental to songwriters and music as a whole, according to AP.

“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.

Katy Perry
Katy Perry. Splash

Perry even testified herself on the first day of trial, recalling for 35 minutes on the stand how Dr. Luke and Cirkut brought her the instrumental track and that she had never heard “Joyful Noise” and the artists behind the song, ABC 7 reported.

On that day, the singer and her attorneys experienced a few technical difficulties when they tried to play “Dark Horse” over the courtroom’s sound system.

“I could perform it for you live,” the 13-time Grammy nominee offered in response to the technical dilemma as laughter filled the courtroom, according to Billboard.

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While Perry had argued that she had never heard of the song or its co-writers, Emmanuel Lambert Jr., a.k.a. Da Truth, who was one of the co-writers of “Joyful Noise,” testified that their song was widely available on streaming services, according to Variety.

However, Perry retaliated with the argument that her Christian music background wouldn’t have made her privy to “Joyful Noise,” according to Billboard, arguing that she mainly listened to secular music despite her past.

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