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Judge overturns lawsuit by Christian, ruling in Katy Perry's favour

by Ruth Sax

On Tuesday a Los Angeles federal judge overturned a jury's verdict that found pop star Katy Perry and her collaborators guilty of copying a Christian rap song for her hit song, "Dark Horse." 

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said she did not believe the 2008 Christian hip-hop song "Joyful Noise" by rapper Marcus Gray was distinctive enough to be in violation of the copyright law as the jury found.

"It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favourable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in 'Joyful Noise' is not a particularly unique or rare combination," Snyder wrote in her decision.

Perry, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, Capitol Records, and others had been ordered to pay $2.78 million (approx £2.38 million) by a California jury for copyright infringement in 2019. They appealed and asked the California courts to overturn the verdict or grant a new trial.

Michael A. Kahn, Gray's attorney said in a statement to Associated Press: "We believe the jury was right and will do our best to restore their verdict on appeal."

In the initial trial, Gray and his song's co-creators had argued in their lawsuit that Perry's 2013 single "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, copied the beat of their song "Joyful Noise," featuring Lecrae.

At the week-long trial last July, both Perry and "Dark Horse" producer Dr. Luke insisted they had never heard of "Joyful Noise." Gray argued that his song's success in the niche market went on to have massive success and the defendants may have gotten wind of it at the Grammy Awards or seen it on YouTube or other social media platforms where the song has been streamed millions of times. 

Gray, professionally known as Flame, plans to appeal the new ruling.

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