After a trial lasting seven days, the jury of six women and three men have found Katy Perry liable for copying the underlying beat of Marcus Gray's 2008 Christian rap song "Joyful Noise" for her hit single "Dark Horse." Also found liable were Perry's "Dark Horse" collaborators Lukasz Gottwald(Dr. Luke), Karl Martin Sandberg (Max Martin), Henry Walter (Cirkut), songwriter Sarah Hudson and Jordan Michael Houston (Juicy J), as well as Capitol Records, Warner Bros. Music Corporation, Kobalt Publishing and Kasz Money Inc.
"Dark Horse," a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single of Perry's 2013 album "Prism," spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014. Meanwhile, Gaye, who is better known as the Flame, recorded "Joyful Noise" in 2008. Though "Joyful Noise" received little mainstream success, it was popular among Christian audiences (it had nearly 5 million views combined on YouTube and MySpace, and the album on which it appeared, Our World Redeemed, was nominated for a Grammy).
Gray's lawyers argued that the beat and instrumental line featured through nearly half of Dark Horse are substantially similar to those of Joyful Noise. Meanwhile, Perry's lawyers argued that the song sections in question represent the kind of simple musical elements that if found to be subject to copyright would hurt music and all songwriters.
Perry and the song's co-authors, including her producer Dr Luke, testified during the seven-day trial that none of them had heard the song or heard of Gray before the lawsuit, nor did they listen to Christian music.
However, this was countered by the plaintiffs that Perry was a Christian pop singer in the early 2000s and her background as the child of two pastors -- the implication being that she may have been more predisposed to have come across "Joyful Noise" because of her history. But Perry testified that she was "mostly always listening to ... secular music anyway," even during the Christian-pop phase of her career.