More than a half a year after a California jury stunned the music world by punishing Perry for ripping off a Christian rapper's song, a judge finds there was nothing protectable to infringe.
It took much longer than expected but seven months after the conclusion of a copyright trial that stunned the music world, a California federal judge on Tuesday delivered a win to Katy Perry, Capitol Records, Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald and others who worked on the 2013 hit "Dark Horse." In an opinion today, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder finds the defendants are not liable for infringing a Christian rapper's song. As a result, Marcus Gray, known professionally as Flame, finds his $2.8 million jury verdict wiped out.
Judge Snyder comes to the conclusion after reviewing the evidence presented at the July trial and finding that Gray can't satisfy the extrinsic test, which requires that a copyright plaintiff identify concrete elements based on objective criteria that the works are similar.
Flame's "Joyful Noise" is analyzed, and the judge considers the elements identified by his musicologist Todd Decker. But none of these elements including pitch sequence and the temporal spacing of notes is protectable, writes the judge.