Four Christian rap and urban artists, including FLAME and Lecrae, have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging that Katy Perry stole elements from their song in her chart-topping hit, “Dark Horse.”
According to the lawsuit—which was filed Tuesday—Perry used FLAME & Co.’s 2007 song “Joyful Noise” without permission. The plaintiffs are seeking damages and profits gained by Perry, Capitol Records, Jordan “Juicy J” Houston and others from the unauthorized use of the song.
Besides the alleged copyright infringement, the lawsuit states, “the devoutly religious message of ‘Joyful Noise’ has been irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in ‘Dark Horse,’” and noted that the music video spurred an online petition signed by more than 60,000 demanding removal of an “offensive religious image.”
“Joyful Noise” received a 2008 Dove Award nomination for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year, and appeared on FLAME’s album Our World: Redeemed, which received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album.
By comparison, Perry’s “Dark Horse” hit No. 1 for several weeks on the Billboard charts. It has sold millions of copies and YouTube viewers have watched its music video more than 435 million times. Hundreds of artists have covered the song on YouTube and other formats, and Perry herself has performed “Dark Horse” in front of sold-out concerts.