A little-known Christian rapper who was awarded $2.8 million after claiming that pop star Katy Perry copied his song will not receive any compensation, a judge has ruled.
Rapper “Flame” won a high-profile plagiarism dispute last July after claiming that Perry had stolen an eight-note musical phrase from his 2008 song “Joyful Noise” for her hit single, “Dark Horse.”
However, in a new decision, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that none of the individual elements that comprise the section in Flame’s track are “independently protectable” and thus the case must be dismissed.
“It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in ‘Joyful Noise’… is not a particularly unique or rare combination, even in its deployment as an ostinato,” Snyder wrote in her ruling, according to Rolling Stone. “[P]rior compositions, including prior works composed by the parties, as well as what all agree is a separate non-infringing ostinato in ‘Dark Horse,’ all contain similar elements.”
According to the Associated Press, Flame (real name Marcus Gray), plans to appeal the verdict.
“When the jurors returned a unanimous verdict of infringement, I cautioned my clients that we had only finished Round 11 of a 15-round match and that the next round would take place in the court of appeals,” Gray’s attorney Michael A. Kahn said told the AP. “We believe the jury was right and will do our best to restore their verdict on appeal.”
Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera said that the ruling was “an important victory for music creators and the music industry.”
“Music building blocks cannot be monopolized,” she added. “The creators of ‘Dark Horse’ stand vindicated.”
You can listen to the two songs below: