There has been a slew of copyright cases in the music industry as of late, from Dua Lipa getting sued for “Levitating” to Sam Smith and Normani getting sued for “Dancing With A Stranger.” Luckily, though, Katy Perry finally won her “Dark Horse” case, which dates all the way back to 2014.
In 2019, she lost the case when the jury decided that Perry replicated the underlying beat of Marcus Gray’s, aka Flame’s, 2008 Christian rap song “Joyful Noise.” After Perry appealed that decision, she ended up winning in the following year. In October of 2020, though, Gray then appealed that decision, but the federal appeals court has stuck with their previous stance, meaning Perry remains the winner in the case.
The appeal court voted 3 to 0, stating: “The portion of the ‘Joyful Noise’ ostinato that overlaps with the ‘Dark Horse’ ostinato consists of a manifestly conventional arrangement of musical building blocks. Allowing a copyright over this material would essentially amount to allowing an improper monopoly over two-note pitch sequences or even the minor scale itself.”
The reasoning is similar to Post Malone’s in his recent “Circles” case with Canadian musician Tyler Armes; Post’s lawyers claim that Armes only played an “admittedly extremely commonplace guitar chord progression.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.