Thursday of last week marked a good day for Christian rapper Marcus Gray.
Gray – better known by his professional moniker Flame –perhaps celebrated with family and friends later that day.
If he did, he likely picked up the tab, given that a federal jury in Los Angeles awarded him $2.7 million in damages hours earlier.
That sizable chunk of change came Gray’s way following a legal argument that convinced jurors to rule iii his favor following a week-long trial.
At issue were two songs. Gray’s “Joyful Noise” was recorded in 2009. The second song spotlighted at trial was the much more widely known Katy Perry song “Dark Horse,” which first gained airplay in 2013.
The central allegation advanced by plaintiff Gray in a copyright infringement lawsuit leveled against Perry and additional defendants was this, as noted in a recent media account of the litigation: Perry’s tune unlawfully copied Dark Horse, allegedly “lifting its underlying electric beat.”
The jury saw it that way, despite Perry’s claim that she had never even heard Gray’s song prior to trial. Co-defendant Capitol Records argued similarly. The defendants collectively maintained, additionally, that the material they were accused of copying was too common to even qualify for copyright protection.
Those failing arguments yielded the above-cited verdict. The record company is reportedly on the hook for the lion’s share of damages, but Perry was also assessed personal liability of more than $550.000.
Dark Horse was a hugely successful song for Perry, bringing in an estimated $41 million in revenue.