The famous pop star took the stand in court in California on Thursday morning and gave official testimony in regards to a copyright lawsuit filed against her.
She was accused of illegally using the instrumental elements of an underground Christian rap song called Joyful Noise for her worldly-famous hit Dark Horse.
Christian singer Marcus Gray, also known as Flame, accused the pop singer of stealing the instrumental elements of his hit song released in 2008, named Joyful Noise.
Gray appeared in court in California with his team of lawyers led by Michael Kahn.
In 2014, Kahn filed the suit in federal court against Perry’s team of writers including co-songwriters Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Sarah Hudson, and American rapper Juicy J, who was guest featured on Dark Horse video.
On Thursday, Kahn and his team of lawyers opened with the statement in which they claimed that their album containing the song in question, Our World Redeemed, was nationally available and that its digital presence was carried out by many retail outlets including YouTube and MySpace.
He finished the opening statement by adding that they were ready to settle for “innocent infringement,” or in other words, copyright theft without awareness.
The lead attorney of the singer’s team of lawyers, Christine Lepera, contradicted their opening statement by saying that there was no evidence of widespread distribution of Joyful Noise. She added that Pery’s career could not be compared with the success of Gray’s underground album and that it was highly unlikely that her clients could be familiar with the tune.
After the opening statement, the court called for the Roar singer to join the stand. Perry reiterated her claims and said that she was not aware of the tune at the time of recording of the Dark Horse music.
She also confirmed that she had a substantial Christian music background and that she could have crossed paths with Gray’s music if it were more successful. Perry also added that, in spite of her strong Christian background, at the time of recording of the Dark Horse video, she was no longer listening to religious music actively.
Marcus Gray was called as the final witness, and he fought Perry’s statement by saying that Joyful Noise’s targeted audience went far beyond Christian listeners. He went on to explain that the stolen instrumental section was deliberately added to the song with one goal — to appeal to the broader hip-hop demographic.
He stated that he felt as if his music was unlimited and that it was made for everybody. Gray finished his statement by listing a wide variety of venues which he performed at, including churches, stadiums, sports arenas, radio stations, and many other secular settings.
His wife and his manager, Crystal Gray, will also take a stand, and Perry’s co-songwriters team will be included in the trial during the next month.
As for the alleged similarity between the two songs, the judge called for a musicologist expert, Todd Decker, for further investigation.
Decker stated that the ostinatos in both songs were identical in the phrase of length, rhythm, pitch, and timbre. He added that the underlying beat that formed the bedrock of both of the songs was almost identical.
Perry’s team of lawyers later added that the musical pattern was too short to be copyright protected. However, Decker finished his statement by concluding that Perry “borrowed” the underlying beat from Joyful Noise.
Lastly, Christine Lepera finished with the closing statement of comparing the songs’ popularity on Youtube, adding that two billion views prove the undisputed prevalence of the Dark Horse song over the Joyful Noise distribution of two million views.
The trial is yet to be continued.