Katy Perry, others ordered to pay US$2.78M for copying song

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Katy Perry. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Katy Perry. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Los Angeles (AP) — Katy Perry, her collaborators and her record label must pay more than US$2.78 million because the pop star’s 2013 hit “Dark Horse” copied a 2009 Christian rap song, a federal jury decided last week.

It was an underdog victory for rapper Marcus Gray, a relatively obscure artist once known as Flame, whose 5-year-old lawsuit survived constant court challenges and a trial against top-flight attorneys for Perry and the five other music-industry heavyweights who wrote her song.

The amount fell well short of the nearly $20 million sought by attorneys for Gray and the two co-writers of “Joyful Noise” — Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu — but they said they were pleased.

“We weren’t here seeking to punish anyone,” said Gray’s attorney, Michael A. Kahn. “Our clients came here seeking justice, and they feel they received justice from a jury of their peers.”

Perry herself was hit for just over $550,000, with Capitol Records responsible for the biggest part of the award — $1.2 million. Defense attorneys had argued for an overall award of about $360,000.

Perry’s attorney, Christine Lepera, said they plan to vigorously fight the decision.

“The writers of Dark Horse consider this a travesty of justice,” Lepera said.