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Katy Perry Appeals $2.8 Million ‘Dark Horse’ Copyright Verdict

Oct. 15, 2019, 9:36 PM

Katy Perry and her collaborators on the 2013 hit “Dark Horse” are fighting a jury’s decision to make them pay $2.78 million for cribbing a Christian rapper’s beat, in an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

The pop star and her co-defendants filed the appeal Oct. 15, four days after giving notice to a district court. They claim that no evidence supported the jury’s findings that they accessed and copied aspects of “Joyful Noise” by Marcus Gray, who’s also known as Flame.

Perry may have an uphill fight in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, because courts are reluctant to overturn jury verdicts.

A jury found that “Dark Horse” infringed because the songwriters built it around a rhythm nearly identical to one from “Joyful Noise.” The jury ordered Perry Aug. 1 to pay $550,000, Capitol Records LLC to pay $1.3 million and various producers and writers to pay the remaining $930,000.

Perry and her co-defendants also have asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to overturn the verdict. In that motion, they accused Gray’s expert of giving “improper and highly prejudicial testimony” and his counsel of making “knowingly false and highly prejudicial assertions.” They also contested damage calculations and findings that Dark Horse wasn’t independently created.

The case is Marcus Gray et al. v. Katheryn Hudson et al., 9th Cir. App., No. 19-56195, Appeal 10/15/19

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyle Jahner in Washington at kjahner@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Baker at rbaker@bloomberglaw.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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