FLAME Wins Case Against Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ Plagiarism of ‘Joyful Noise’
The verdict is in, and it was determined FLAME and his team won the nearly 5 year legal battle against Katy Perry. It was reached that the beat to Perry’s smash hit “Dark Horse” “improperly copied” FLAME’s track “Joyful Noise.”
According to Billboard, the song’s collaborators Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), Karl Martin Sandberg (Max Martin), Henry Walter (Cirkut), Sarah Hudson, and Jordan Michael Houston (Juicy J), Capitol Records, Warner Bros. Music Corporation, Kobalt Publishing, and Kasz Money Inc are all liable.
It took seven days for the jury to deliberate and come to their decision. FLAME and his team argued that the song was popular enough for Perry and company to have heard it despite their denial. They also had a musicologist breakdown the beat and explain the similarities. Perry’s defense team brought in their own expert who refuted these claims. Another tactic of the plaintiff was using Perry’s former background as a Christian singer as well as having pastors for parents as a reason she would have heard the song.
On Tuesday (July 30th, 2019), the settlement will be reached.
Here’s a refresher of the whole case and some of the timeline:
In 2007 FLAME released a song called “Joyful Noise” featuring Lecrae. In 2013 Katy Perry dropped her smash single “Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J.
FLAME and his team alleged that their song was ripped off by Perry and co-creator, Dr. Luke. The songs have very similar and at points identical sounding beats.
“Defendants never sought or obtained permission from plaintiffs to use the ‘Joyful Noise’ song in creating, reproducing, recording, distributing, selling, or publicly performing defendants’ song,” the complaint states. “Plaintiffs never gave any of the defendants permission, consent, or a license to use ‘Joyful Noise’ for any purpose, including creation of a derivative work based on ‘Joyful Noise.'”
Read more about the initial complaint in our 2014 article here.
(7/18/19) Perry was set to stand before the nine-member civil jury in downtown Los Angeles.
FLAME said he will provide a musicologist to show that the underlying beat in both songs is almost identical. Perry’s experts have sent in reports indicating this to not be true.
Perry’s motion for early judgment was denied last summer. At the time U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder wrote that the plaintiffs “have demonstrated a triable issue of fact as to access because ‘Joyful Noise’ achieved critical success, including a Grammy nomination, and was readily available and viewed millions of times on YouTube and MySpace.”
It was ultimately decided – “questions of fact to be resolved by the jury.”
“Joyful Noise” was put on YouTube in 2012 and has 2 million views. The composers of “Dark Horse” say they never heard “Joyful Noise” or of FLAME before.
Last year the Hollywood Reporter and a few other sites, brought light back to this case after it was supposedly settled.
“As for the alleged similarity between the two songs, the judge gives deference at this stage to plaintiff’s musicologist expert, Todd Decker, who declared that the ostinatos in both song were identical or nearly so in phrase length, rhythm, pitch content and timbre. Basically, the underlying beat that forms the bedrock of the songs. For a better idea of what’s in dispute, see the video below of the two songs that someone uploaded to YouTube — although important to note that the mashup is not evidence in this lawsuit,” wrote Hollywood Reporter.
The full court decision can be read in this document here.
FLAME’s DJ at the time, Cho’zyn Boy, was the one who was notified of the similarities. He pulled the files of both songs and broke them down and played them side-by-side and on top of each other. In 2014, he provided that clip for us with a play-by-play. Read more here and see the breakdown below:
· 0:00-0:25 Joyful Noise (original song)
· 0:25-0:40 Dark Horse (original song)
· 0:40-0:53 Speeds up tempo from 66 BPM to 76 BPM
· 0:53-1:07 Takes pitch down one decimal from Db to C
· 1:07-1:17 Mixes in Joyful Noise
· 1:17-1:23 Side-by-side, both at 72 BPM
· 1:23-1:30 Joyful Noise by itself
· 1:30-1:48 Dark Horse by itself
Compare the songs for yourself, but be warned that Katy Perry’s lyrics may contain undesirable language.
FLAME and Katy Perry Videos:
So what do you think?