Katy Perry takes the stand to deny ‘Dark Horse’ plagiarism accusation

Katy Perry took the stand in Los Angeles civil court on Thursday morning, where she gave an official testimony regarding a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against her.

The 34-year-old singer defended herself against claims that, without permission, she allegedly used instrumental elements of a relatively underground Christian rap song entitled Joyful Noise, for her own 2013 hit, Dark Horse.

Perry claimed that before the lawsuit she had heard of neither Joyful Noise or the artist behind it, as reported by ABC7.

The song was originally recorded and released in 2008 by Marcus Gray (known professionally as Flame).

Gray and his team of writers filed the suit in federal court back in July 2014. It was pitted against Perry, co-songwriters Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Sarah Hudson and American rapper Juicy J, who is also featured on Dark Horse.

During his opening statement, Michael Kahn, Gray’s lawyer made a point about how readily available Our World Redeemed — the album which contains Joyful Noise — is, highlighting retail outlets which carry it and its digital presence, distribution and numbers, namely through YouTube and MySpace.

He added that Perry’s team settling for “innocent infringement” — which is copyright theft without awareness — would suffice as a settlement for his client, as reported by Billboard.

Perry’s own attorney, Christine Lepera, fought this by stating that the plaintiffs could not provide any “evidence of widespread distribution” for Joyful Noise.

She continued that it was unlikely that her clients would have heard the song due to its obscurity and comparative lack of success to Perry’s career.

Katy Perry attends the Human Rights Campaign gala on March 18, 2017, in Los Angeles, Calif.

Upon returning to the stand, Perry reiterated her claims that she was unfamiliar with the tune, suggesting that her early Christian background in the music industry would have made it likely for the song to cross her path — if it was more successful.

The Roar singer claimed that by the time she recorded Dark Horse, she no longer listened to religious music actively.

Gray was the final witness to take the stand. He reportedly fought Perry’s argument in claiming Joyful Noise’s demographic went beyond Christian listeners.

He suggested Joyful Noise’s main instrumental section, which was allegedly responsible for this lawsuit, was utilized to appeal to a larger hip-hop audience.

“I feel my music is unlimited,” he claimed. It’s for everybody.” Furthermore, Gray supposedly listed a variety of settings and venues which he performs at, including churches, stadiums, sports arenas, radio stations, and other “secular venues.”

The trial is set to continue on Friday, July 19, where Gray will continue his testimony, according to Billboard.

Also set to take the stand is his manager and wife, Crystal Gray. Perry’s co-songwriters are expected to make testimonies later in the trial.

As of this writing, none of the allegations have been proven in court.

The music video for Dark Horse currently holds more than 2.6 billion views on YouTube alone, as opposed to Joyful Noise’s 3.5 million.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca
Follow @adamrwallis

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