In a rapid jury deliberation, Katy Perry, Capitol/UMG, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Juicy J, and others have been hit with a $2.78 million fine.
That was fast.
After just two days of deliberations, a federal jury in California has ordered damages of $2.78 million against Katy Perry, her label, associated songwriters, and other collaborators on “Dark Horse”. The fine was calculated from a top-line figure of $41 million, with Capitol Records arguing that a large percentage of that revenue was utilized for promotional, marketing, production, and other costs.
The defending party of Katy Perry, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut, Sarah Hudson, guest performer/rapper Juicy J, and Capitol Records (UMG) were saddled with the fine. Additionally, the jury ruled that publishing company Kasz Money Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing America Inc. and Warner Bros. Music Corp. would also share in the damages assessment.
The $2.78 million penalty amounts to roughly 6.5% of the initial $41 million ask. Still, that’s little consolation to Perry and the defendants, especially given the controversial nature of the infringement ruling.
The ruling, handed down earlier this week, found substantial, willing infringement involving the 2008 Christian rap song, “Joyful Noise,” as performed by Flame (aka Marcus Gray). The ruling was unanimous, despite testimony from multiple experts and musicologists that called the similarities ‘coincidental’ and involving ‘the basic building blocks of music’.
A quick comparison of the tracks reveals some striking similarities, though it’s entirely unclear if the ‘infringement’ was merely coincidental. The melodic loop shared by both tracks is relatively simple, and the resulting decision is heightening fears of increased music copyright trolling ahead.
In terms of who pays what, Katy Perry was ordered to pay roughly $550,000 of the $2.7 million fine, while Dr. Luke was ordered to pay nearly $61,000. Capitol Records was ordered to pay $1.2 million, while Warner was charged a relatively paltry $29,000.
The remaining fine would be distributed among the other defendants.
The 15-page damages decision was entered into the broader Gray et al. v. Perry et al., case number 2:15-cv-05642, deliberated in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.