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Judge overturns $2.8 million plagiarism verdict against Katy Perry

Katy Perry no longer has to pay money to Christian rapper Flame over similarities between “Dark Horse” and his song “Joyful Noise.”

March 17, 2020
Judge overturns $2.8 million plagiarism verdict against Katy Perry Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder today overturned last year’s verdict that Katy Perry, Dr. Luke, Juicy J, and their associates would have to pay $2.8 million to Christian rap artist Flame over similarities between their hit “Dark Horse” and his song “Joyful Noise.” Per Pitchfork, Snyder said her decision to overrule the previous verdict was due to the fact that the melody Perry and co. had supposedly plagiarized was not “particularly unique,” and could therefore not be sued over. Read the full verdict over at Pitchfork.

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This is great news for Perry and musicians at large: the last few years have seen an influx of court cases wherein pop musicians are sued over vague melodic similarities in their songs. As we wrote around the time of last year’s verdict, the initial decision “has the power to completely alter the way people make music as a whole,” and had the potential to create “an artistic climate where young artists could feel blocked from using sounds even vaguely similar to already-released music.” Read our full essay on the implications of these kinds of court cases here.

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Judge overturns $2.8 million plagiarism verdict against Katy Perry