August 23, 2019 | Miriana Dugosija

A recent jury decision handed down in California held that the writers of ‘Dark Horse‘, Perry’s hit song, copied a part of ‘Joyful Noise‘, a song by Christian rapper, Flame.

The track from Perry’s fourth studio album ‘Prism’ remained at the top of the charts for four weeks in 2013.

Flame was awarded almost $2.8 million in damages in what has been criticised as setting a dangerous precedent. Musicians are worried about the wider implications in the industry, claiming that the copied part of the song is merely a small melodic fragment which is too commonly used to be copyrightable.

There is concern about the chilling effect such decisions will have in the industry, with the risk of a lawsuit potentially deterring artists from creating music and pursuing other artistic endeavours. The decision follows the 2015 “Blurred Lines” case and recent disputes involving Lana Del Rey (who was sued by Radiohead) and Ed Sheeran.

“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, argued during the case.

Perry’s lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict.

Thank you to intern Jess Flatters for this article.

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