An appeals court ruled on Thursday (March 11) that Katy Perry did not plagiarize her hit song “Dark Horse” and that her team was not liable to pay Christian rapper Flame for damages related to copyright infringement.

As reported by Variety,Flame, real name Marcus Gray, had accused Perry of stealing an eight-note musical pattern from his 2008 song “Joyful Noise” and using it on her 2013 Juicy-J assisted hit. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted in a 3-0 decision that Gray did not deserve damages over the claim.

HipHopDX | Rap & Hip Hop News | Ad Placeholder
AD

AD LOADING...

AD

The latest ruling comes after a 2019 jury initially found Perry guilty of copyright infringement, and ordered she and her team pay Gray $2.78 million in damages. The verdict was then overturned in 2020 by Los Angeles Judge Christina Snyder, who claimed the “signature elements of the eight-note ostinato” in “Joyful Noise” weren’t complex enough to warrant copyright protection. Gray then appealed the decision in 2020, sending it to the Court of Appeals who upheld Snyder’s conviction.

Gray’s attorney Michael A. Kahn told Billboard he was looking at options for him and his client, though it remains unlikely the case will go to the Supreme Court.

“The notion that this simple, original, and clearly distinctive 8-note melody can’t be protected by copyright runs contrary to a series of simple and clearly distinctive 8-note opening melodies, including Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five,’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘Satisfaction,’ and, of course, the 8-note opening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony,” Kahn told the publication. “We are considering our options.”

Revisit 2013’s “Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J below, and check out Flame’s “Joyful Noise” for comparison.