A jury found Katy Perry guilty of copyright infringement, but a judge recently overturned the decision after concluding that Christian rapper Flame couldn’t prove that Perry copied his song
The song in question was “Joyful Noise.” Flame believes it was sampled in Perry’s 2013 single, “Dark Horse,” but legal documents stated that “a plaintiff must establish ownership of a valid copyright and copying of constituent elements of the work that are original” in order to prove infringement.
One testimony, which was reviewed carefully by the judge, came from musicologist Dr. Todd Decker and his findings were in Perry’s favor.
“Because the sole musical phrase that plaintiffs claim infringement upon is not protectable expression, the extrinsic test is not satisfied, and plaintiff’s infringement claim — even with the evidence construed in plaintiffs’ favor — fails as a matter of law,” Judge Christina Snyder wrote. “It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the 8-note obstinate in ‘Joyful Noise’ is not a particularly unique or rare combination, even in its deployment as an obstinate: prior compositions, including prior works composed by the parties, as well as what all agree is a separate non-infringing ostinato in ‘Dark Horse,’ all contain similar elements.”
The news comes after the summer 2019 ruling that first ordered Katy Perry and her record label to pay Flame $2.8 million.