A Los Angeles jury has ruled in favor of a Christian rap artist who accused Katy Perry of lifting a portion of his song for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse.”
According to HuffPost, the nine-member jury in a Los Angeles federal court ruled unanimously on Monday that Perry copied the beat and instrumental line of Christian rapper Marcus Gray’s 2008 song, “Joyful Noise,” for her song, and that the two songs were substantially similar.
Billboard reported that Perry’s collaborators for the song, including Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Juicy J, were also found liable for the copyright infringement.
Perry’s attorneys argued that elements of Gray’s song comprise basic music vocabulary that cannot be copyrighted.
“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Christine Lepera, Perry’s lawyer, said during closing arguments, according to AP.
While Perry was not present for the verdict, the pop singer did take the stand during the seven-day trial. She, along with Dr. Luke and Martin, testified that they had never heard the song “Joyful Noise” before.
The jury said the song had been disseminated enough that it was likely that they had been exposed to the song, especially for Perry given her short stint as a Christian singer and how her parents are both pastors.
The pop singer argued, however, that she had “mostly always listen[ed] to ... secular music anyway,” ABC News reports.
According to The New York Times, Gray argued in court that his reputation as a Christian rapper was affected by the “anti-Christian witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery evoked by ‘Dark Horse,’ especially in the music video version.”
The case will move to the penalty phase on Tuesday, where the jury will decide how much the plaintiffs are owed for copyright infringement.