According to Billboard, Katy Perry has been found liable for ripping off the “underlying beat” to a 2008 Christian rap song called “Joyful Noise” by Marcus Gray for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse.” The jury also found that Perry’s collaborators on the song were also liable, including rapper Juicy J, and producers/co-writers Cirkut, Max Martin, Sarah Hudson, and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald—who you may remember for allegedly being an awful piece of shit who has been accused of both physically and mentally abusing Kesha, leading to a long and extremely brutal legal fight when Kesha tried to get out of her contract with Gottwald’s label. He worked on this Katy Perry song and many other popular songs that you’ve probably heard of.
Anyway, a jury agreed with the plaintiffs (including Gray, co-writer Emanuel Lambert, and original beat creator Chike Ojukwu who had licensed it for Gray’s song) and determined that Perry and her collaborators copied the beat from “Joyful Noise,” either “knowingly or unknowingly,” with the damages portion of the trial set to begin tomorrow. It probably won’t match the gigantic payout that the Marvin Gaye estate won from “Blurred Lines,” but that case did set a big precedent for suits like this.
In a surprising twist for a suit involving a Christian rap song, it sounds like one of the main angles that the plaintiffs took in this case was using Perry’s religious background against her. After all, Perry was briefly a Christian singer before she broke into secular music, so surely she must’ve heard this Christian rap song. Perry denied any familiarity with it, saying she always just listened to non-churchy stuff anyway, but apparently the jury wasn’t swayed by that. Here are the two songs, so you can decide for yourself: