Author Topic: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m  (Read 3519 times)

Johnny Yesno

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Quote
Katy Perry told to pay $550k to Christian rapper Flame

Katy Perry has been ordered to pay a Christian rapper $550,000 (£454,000) of her own earnings from her 2013 song Dark Horse by a US court.

That amount is a part of the $2.7m (£2.2m) awarded to gospel artist Flame, who has successfully sued the star for copying one of his songs.

Her label, Capitol Records, will have to pay most of the total amount.

The singer's legal team say they plan to appeal, if the case is not dismissed pending a defence motion.

Earlier this week, a US court found Katy, her producers and songwriters guilty of copyright infringement.

'A travesty of justice'

Lawyers representing Flame claimed that Katy and her team had "copied an important part" of his song, at the conclusion of legal proceedings that started in 2014.

The argument was over a musical part of Dark Horse's production - but Katy and the people who wrote the lyrics for the track were also found liable.

"The writers of Dark Horse consider this a travesty of justice," said Katy's attorney Christine Lepera outside court.

Attorneys for Capitol Records told the court the label earned $31m (£26m) from Dark Horse, but after costs only made a profit of $630,000 (£520,000).

'Defendants made millions'

The amount awarded is just a fraction of what Flame - real name Marcus Gray - was hoping to win from Katy.

His lawyers had argued that he was owed $20m (£17m).

"These defendants made millions and millions of dollars from their infringement of the plaintiffs' song," Flame's attorney Michael Kahn said in court.

Here's Katy's song, Dark Horse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSOMA3QBU0

And here's Flame's song, Joyful Noise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCcW-guAs_s

Katy had said, when she gave evidence during the trial, that she had never heard Joyful Noise before recording her hit with producers Dr Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut.

She also offered to sing Dark Horse to the court when a speaker system broke and it wasn't possible to play the song for the jury.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-49202652

I know it's difficult to care when the music is this shite, but there's some worrying implications for the space in which artists work. Adam Neely gives his thoughts here (in fact I only became aware of this story because I watch his videos):

Why the Katy Perry/Flame lawsuit makes no sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ytoUuO-qvg

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2019, 08:30:20 PM »
Timbre not Tam-bre.


Isn't it?

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2019, 08:34:23 PM »
Good video. It just seems obvious that you have to consider the verticality of the composition, that is Perry's voice against the synth, and you have a different song. They don't sound anything alike to me despite the similar (but expertly shown to be not the same) synth ostinato. That said I take the Negativland view on all of this.

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2019, 08:35:42 PM »
where there's a hit, there's a writ.

these fucking music biz lawyers are trying to copyright the melodic minor scale, ffs.

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 08:37:46 PM »
From The Method by the KLF

Quote
Black American records have always been the most reliable source of dance groove. These records down through the years have inevitably laid so much emphasis on the altar of groove and so very little into fulfilling the other Golden Rules that they very rarely break through into the U.K. Top Ten, let alone making the Number One spot. A by-product of this situation is that gangsters of the groove from Bo Diddley on down believe they have been ripped off, not only by the business but by all the artists that have followed on from them. This is because the copyright laws that have grown over the past one hundred years have all been developed by whites of European descent and these laws state that fifty per cent of the copyright of any song should be for the lyrics, the other fifty per cent for the top line (sung) melody; groove doesn’t even get a look in. If the copyright laws had been in the hands of blacks of African descent, at least eighty per cent would have gone to the creators of the groove, the remainder split between the lyrics and the melody. If perchance you are reading this and you are both black and a lawyer, make a name for yourself. Right the wrongs.

a duncandisorderly

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Johnny Yesno

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2019, 09:33:56 PM »
From The Method by the KLF

The Manual. Funnily enough, I was thinking of posting the exact same thing because, as a drummer, I have a lot of sympathy with it. But this lawsuit isn't about the groove, is it? It's about something far less quantifiable and, as such, it's ripe for vexatious litigation.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2019, 09:38:30 PM »
Timbre not Tam-bre.


Isn't it?

No, the first syllable is pronounced like the first syllable of Rimbaud.

Glebe

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2019, 09:49:52 PM »


"The fucker got famous and I never saw a penny, Rupert."

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2019, 11:05:54 PM »
Adam Neely gives his thoughts here (in fact I only became aware of this story because I watch his videos):

Why the Katy Perry/Flame lawsuit makes no sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ytoUuO-qvg

that's an excellent account of the situation, & I too have subscribed. good man, articulate, thorough.

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2019, 11:08:39 PM »
Yo yo yo Christ is good.
Yo yo yo in da biblical hood

buzby

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2019, 11:22:51 PM »
Why the Katy Perry/Flame lawsuit makes no sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ytoUuO-qvg
The 'vocal' sound he talks about that is used to play the ostinato on Dark Horse is a sample of the 'ARR1' choir sound that originated from the Fairlight sample library, and was used to great effect on AON's Moments In Love, which then led to it being nicked for use in virtually every sampler and ROMpler sound library produced since.

Given it has a similar ostinato and even uses the same sound, I'm surprised Moments In Love never made it into his 'similar sounding list.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 11:46:24 PM by buzby »

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2019, 06:02:01 AM »
see if there's enough resemblance here to re-open the led zep/spirit case...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeejHJxGjs

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2019, 06:58:15 AM »
Given it has a similar ostinato and even uses the same sound, I'm surprised Moments In Love never made it into his 'similar sounding list.

It did, which is why so many of the comments under the video you linked to mention Adam Neely mentioning it.

https://youtu.be/0ytoUuO-qvg?t=5m13s

I can't help but agree that AoN should sue them both. And give the money to a musicians' charity or something, I dunno.

NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 07:32:02 AM »
This case is more stupid (and worrying) than the Thicke/Gaye case (although, for preempting the litigations Thicke deserved what he got, despite being in the copyright clear), the Hollies/Radiohead/Lana Del Ray (just a fucking standard chord sequence), Spirit/Led Zeppelin (how can you copyright fingerpicking or chord sequences). Even the only case in recent time that had any possible grounds (Sheeran/Gaye - same tempo and chord sequence) should have been thrown out.

Just imagine Charlie Parker suing every jazz saxophonist who came after him. Or Charlie Patton suing Robert Johnson and every other blues artist that followed.

Popular music is made up of a finite number of elements; those make up its form. The ones suing could easily be sued themselves, but that doesn't try to understand the process of songwriting/production.

They say you can learn to play any song by just learning how to play a hundred songs and then you'll have all the moves you need to easily learn anything new; that's because no song is made in a vacuum. It's the reason so much music "all sounds the same".
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 10:45:44 AM by NoSleep »

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 08:33:23 AM »
The 'vocal' sound he talks about that is used to play the ostinato on Dark Horse is a sample of the 'ARR1' choir sound that originated from the Fairlight sample library, and was used to great effect on AON's Moments In Love, which then led to it being nicked for use in virtually every sampler and ROMpler sound library produced since.

Given it has a similar ostinato and even uses the same sound, I'm surprised Moments In Love never made it into his 'similar sounding list.

You didn't watch the video to the end, then?

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2019, 10:44:11 AM »
The Manual.


Yes, of course it was, I must have been really rushed that day. I even forgot the linkoid https://freshonthenet.co.uk/the-manual-by-the-klf/

buzby

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2019, 01:02:59 PM »
It did, which is why so many of the comments under the video you linked to mention Adam Neely mentioning it.
You didn't watch the video to the end, then?
No, sorry. I had my attention called away to something else (I watched it to just before that point, it seems) and didn't come back to it.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 09:45:28 PM »
No, sorry. I had my attention called away to something else (I watched it to just before that point, it seems) and didn't come back to it.

That's a shame because it's after that that Neely goes on to explain why this decision is so terrible for pop music.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2019, 11:32:32 PM »
Surely she's going to appeal, cos this is a bollocks decision.

Also, I love Adam Neely's videos, but I've got no idea why he decided to go for a walk halfway through the video. Maybe someone complained about it just being him against a blank background.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2019, 12:04:53 AM »
Thing is, the two tracks do bear quite a few similarities in terms of groove and feel and the similar synth hooks that form the basis of each song. Chances are it’s not coincidental and it is entirely plausible that Katy Perry and her producers could have listened to the Flame track and copped a feel of it. Therefore it is only right that Katy Perry is made to pay out. It’s not really a case of plagiarising 12 notes of the musical lexicon but rather the stylistic choices that go into formatting those 12 notes, of which there are a myriad. So the minor scale is safe from copyright but if you lift a bunch of other features like Katy Perry did then you’re a guilty person and you owe a lot of money to someone.

Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2019, 08:39:18 AM »
Thing is, the two tracks do bear quite a few similarities in terms of groove and feel and the similar synth hooks that form the basis of each song. Chances are it’s not coincidental and it is entirely plausible that Katy Perry and her producers could have listened to the Flame track and copped a feel of it. Therefore it is only right that Katy Perry is made to pay out. It’s not really a case of plagiarising 12 notes of the musical lexicon but rather the stylistic choices that go into formatting those 12 notes, of which there are a myriad. So the minor scale is safe from copyright but if you lift a bunch of other features like Katy Perry did then you’re a guilty person and you owe a lot of money to someone.

This is very dodgy legal ground though. You can't copyright groove or vibe as it is an entirely subjective quality, or at least one fairly unrepresentable in empirical terms. It isn't "only right" because something is plausible. It has to be proven plagiarism. The notes are different and the production of those notes is different. Not hugely and I grant there's some similarity. But the melody line on top of those makes them into different songs. And given that the same ostinato figure appears in Art of Noise and JS Bach, who ends up with the money?

NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2019, 08:50:49 AM »
Surely she's going to appeal, cos this is a bollocks decision.

Also, I love Adam Neely's videos, but I've got no idea why he decided to go for a walk halfway through the video. Maybe someone complained about it just being him against a blank background.

He goes for a walk for comedic purposes. He's taking the musicologist who argued Flame's case for a walk and addressing him personally in that part of the video.


NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2019, 08:55:08 AM »
Thing is, the two tracks do bear quite a few similarities in terms of groove and feel and the similar synth hooks that form the basis of each song. Chances are it’s not coincidental and it is entirely plausible that Katy Perry and her producers could have listened to the Flame track and copped a feel of it. Therefore it is only right that Katy Perry is made to pay out. It’s not really a case of plagiarising 12 notes of the musical lexicon but rather the stylistic choices that go into formatting those 12 notes, of which there are a myriad. So the minor scale is safe from copyright but if you lift a bunch of other features like Katy Perry did then you’re a guilty person and you owe a lot of money to someone.

This is complete balls. You don't seem to understand how popular music is created and how such litigation would destroy this. Like I said earlier; imagine Charley Patton suing Robert Johnson; or Charlie Parker suing all jazz saxophonists that came after him. Or Duke Ellington suing everybody. Or Lee Perry suing all reggae that followed him. or James Brown
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 09:12:51 AM by NoSleep »

Better Midlands

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2019, 09:16:09 AM »
This is complete balls. You don't seem to understand how popular music is created and how such litigation would destroy this. Like I said earlier; imagine Charley Patton suing Robert Johnson; or Charlie Parker suing all jazz saxophonists that came after him. Or Duke Ellington suing everybody. Or Lee Perry suing all reggae that followed him.

This is the point, it opens the floodgates to everyone suing everyone with whoever owns the earliest works taking the lot.


NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2019, 09:17:55 AM »
If you're going to sue somebody, for copping elements of a song/production you have created, the burden of proof is for you to show how you invented those elements from nothing; that nobody had ever heard such things in a song before.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2019, 09:39:38 AM »
This is complete balls. You don't seem to understand how popular music is created and how such litigation would destroy this. Like I said earlier; imagine Charley Patton suing Robert Johnson; or Charlie Parker suing all jazz saxophonists that came after him. Or Duke Ellington suing everybody. Or Lee Perry suing all reggae that followed him. or James Brown

I understand. Ideas are lifted from preexisting songs all the time to create new works that are still identifiably original. I do think in this instance there is a case of Katy Perry’s being too elementally derived from Joyful Noise by Flame. I think in court it was demonstrated by cutting up the songs and playing them back to back that Dark Horse unambiguously borrowed from Joyful Noise either subconsciously on inconsciously. All those people you mention would being suing other people for borrowing influences from them but here it is a solid concrete building block of a song that is being taken without credit or acknowledgment.

NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2019, 10:16:17 AM »
Yeah, but those building blocks pre-exist; you can't claim them as your own because somebody else perchances upon a couple of the same as you. The songs are entirely different; different lyrics, melodies and chord changes.

Rick Beato breaks it down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4MuhPqfIk4

As the pie gets smaller the writs get shitter.

Better Midlands

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2019, 10:34:31 AM »
I wouldn't be surprised if someone finds an example earlier than the Flame track of that motif in electronic music somewhere, it's so basic and simple - something that a first timer could knock out if they sat down at a keyboard (I'm not knocking it BTW).

NoSleep

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Re: Flame sues Katy Perry for copyright infringement and is awarded $2.7m
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2019, 10:37:44 AM »
Can't wait to see somebody try and copyright "Yes, yes y'all, to the beat y'all." or "I love you."