Mar 16, 2022

Dark Horse Victory

Katy Perry (“Perry”) wins in the federal appeal court in the case against Christian rapper Flame (“Flame”). Following the release of Perry’s hit song “Dark Horse” back in 2013, Flame sued Perry in 2014 on the grounds of plagiarism of an eight-note sequence of his song “Joyful Noise”.

Flame’s song, Joyful Noise, was first released in 2008. The song was then nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album”. This, Flame argues, suggested Perry had substantial access to the song.

A jury originally sided with Flame, ruling Perry to pay Flame $2.8 million (the equivalent to just over £2.1 million) as a penalty. Perry appealed the decision in 2020. The Court of Appeal overturned the ruling on the grounds that the sequence in question “results only from the use of commonplace, unoriginal musical principles” and therefore “it cannot be the basis for a copyright infringement claim on its own”.

This is not the first high profile battle over a musical sequence, we recently reported on the high court battle between Ed Sheeran and Sami Chokri & Ross O’Donoghue. It is to be seen if Perry’s victory will be cited in the ongoing High Court trial.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or

in: Case Law, Copyright, EU/International

Share this page