Back in 2014, Katy Perry was sued over her smash hit “Dark Horse”: A Christian rapper claimed that she’d used the beat in his 2008 song “Joyful Noise” without permission. The copyright infringement trial started on Thursday, and Katy herself took the stand to testify…and even offered to sing.
Billboard reports that when Katy’s lawyers tried to play “Dark Horse” in the courtroom, they couldn’t get it to work, prompting Katy to say, “I could perform it for you live.” Eventually, though, the song was able to be played.
Katy’s team argues that she and her co-writers on the song had never heard “Joyful Noise,” and that the beat itself is too simple to be copyrighted. The rapper, Marcus Gray, claims that his song could have crossed their radar, given that its parent album was available online and in stores, and had received a Grammy nomination.
When it was suggested that because Katy used to be a Christian artist, she would have been more likely to hear “Joyful Noise,” the singer argued that even early in her career, she was “mostly always listening to…secular music anyway.”
As Billboard reports, Katy explained exactly how she and her co-writers created “Dark Horse,” and defended the fact that she’d cut the disputed beat out of the song when she performed it at the Super Bowl. The prosecution insinuated that cutting out the beat — seven months after the lawsuit was filed — was an acknowledgment of the infringement.
Katy’s response was that every song she performed that night had been edited for time.
“For the Super Bowl I was allotted [just] 12 minutes, and I wanted to perform as many songs as possible,” she said.
The trial continues today; it’s not clear if Katy will return to the stand.
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