There’s no question that Katy Perry is one of the biggest pop stars in the world and she makes over $1 million a night when she’s on her global tour. That doesn’t even count the $25 million annual salary for being a judge on ABC’s “American Idol” revival.
Perry is also about to marry to “Lord of the Rings” actor Orlando Bloom so it makes you question why people like her need to take advantage of others and think they can get away with it.
But the famous pop star finally got her comeuppance because a Christian rapper scored a huge victory against Perry in court.
Monday’s unanimous verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors, alleged “Dark Horse” stole from “Joyful Noise,” a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.
The penalty phase is scheduled to begin Tuesday with opening arguments, and will ultimately determine how much Perry and other co-defendants owe for copyright infringement. Testimony will give jurors a peek into the finances behind “Dark Horse,” which should be enlightening to see how much a hit song makes because that’s a rare insight the public gets.
“Dark Horse” was a hit single that earned Perry a Grammy nomination and was the second song in her widely-criticized 2015 Super Bowl halftime performance.
Questions from the jury during two days of deliberations certainly suggested that they might find only some of the defendants liable for copyright infringement. The case focused on the notes and beats of the song; not its lyrics or recording. And the questions suggested that Perry might be off the hook.
The jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the songs were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song’s words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song.
The verdict was a bit of a shocker because this kind of thing never happens. The plaintiffs who sue the artists that ripped off their work usually loses.
Back in 2005, Royce Mathew sued Disney for taking his idea of “pirates transforming into skeletons in the moonlight” in one of the most iconic scenes in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He lost.
Robert Kuhn and Stanley Rader sued Paramount along with director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas for not crediting the real heroes of archaeology in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” While their story did not involve any actual mythical occurrences, it did contain the Arc of the Covenant. Kuhn and Rader both lost.
One of the more recent high-profile cases regarded the works of Bryant Moore, and his novels Aquatica and The Pollination, who sued James Cameron for “Avatar.” While the judge noted similarities, including a sci-fi setting and warring factions questing for resources, the court ruled in favor of Cameron.
Do you see a pattern here?
This happens all the time and it indirectly sends a terrible message to many artists that they can rip-off whatever they want and get away with it.