LOS ANGELES — Attorneys are expected to give their opening statements Thursday morning in a federal copyright infringement trial involving a Katy Perry hit and a gospel rap song.
The litigation was brought in 2015 by Marcus Gray, better known as Christian rapper Flame, against the Grammy-nominated singer. He alleges Perry lifted portions of his gospel song “Joyful Noise” for her 2013 smash hit “Dark Horse.”
Perry is expected to testify sometime Thursday before the nine-member civil jury in downtown Los Angeles.
During the estimated two-week trial in Los Angeles federal court, Gray has indicated he will offer a musicologist to show that the underlying beat in both songs is nearly identical. Perry’s experts have submitted reports stating there is no similarity beyond generic elements.
“Joyful Noise” hit YouTube in 2012 and has since been viewed nearly 2 million times. However, the composers of “Dark Horse” say they never viewed “Joyful Noise,” nor had they heard of Gray and the other plaintiffs.
In denying Perry’s motion for early judgment last summer, 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.”
The judge said various issues in the case are “questions of fact to be resolved by the jury.”