A federal appeals court on Thursday said the pop superstar Katy Perry and her team were not liable to a hip-hop artist who claimed they copied her No. 1 hit 'Dark Horse' from his Christian rap song.
'Dark Horse' appeared on Perry's 2013 album 'Prism' and spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014.
In a 3-0 decision, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said Flame, whose given name is Marcus Gray, did not deserve damages for copyright infringement over a musical pattern he said Perry, 37, borrowed from his song 'Joyful Noise'.
The Pasadena, California-based court said the eight-note pattern, known as an ostinato, consisted "entirely of commonplace musical elements" that lacked the "quantum of originality" needed for copyright protection.
A Los Angeles jury had in July 2019 awarded Flame and two other plaintiffs $2.79 million, including $550,000 from Perry and $1.29 million from her label Capitol Records, part of Universal Music Group.
But the trial judge, US District Judge Christina Snyder, set aside that verdict the following March, saying Perry did not infringe any independently protectable musical elements.
The appeals court agreed that the 'Dark Horse' jury verdict should not stand.