FLAME V. KATY PERRY

In a recent development, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of popstar Katy Perry in a case pertaining to copyright infringement and held that the popstar is not liable to pay $ 2.8 million worth of damages.

The present dispute arose over Katy Perry’s 2013 release, Dark Horse. As per rapper Flame, Perry had plagiarised an eight-note ostinato from his 2009 song Joyful Noise.

Initially, Flame was awarded damages but this decision was vacated by a Federal District Court Judge in 2020. Gray appealed against the decision. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the melody over which Flame claimed exclusivity was not “particularly unique or rare” and that the original verdict suffocates musical creativity.

It was also held that allowing such a copyright would be like allowing an improper monopoly especially when the ostinatos at issue consists entirely of commonplace musical elements, and that the similarities claimed does not arise out of an original combination of elements.

It will be interesting to see how this verdict is construed in other similar lawsuits against artists such as Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran. For now, it is established that victory is indeed in Katy Perry’s veins!

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