Classic Copyright Cases – Katy Perry

Written by | April 7, 2020


I’m back again with another Classic Copyright Case, live and direct from my bedroom. I hope you are all keeping well in these challenging times and developing countless new hobbies out of desperation in order to cure the lockdown boredom.

This week I have the pleasure of writing with more good news for the music industry. I am sure you are all familiar with the Katy Perry lawsuit which I have been covering – pure journalist flair, I might add. However, for those of you who don’t know, Perry and her cohort were sued by Christian rap artist Flame for allegedly infringing the copyright in his track Joyful Noise.

Flame was originally successful and Perry and her team were ordered to pay more money than I care to think about. However, Perry refused to lie down and appealed the decision.

In a dramatic and welcomed turn of events, a federal judge in Los Angeles has overturned the jury’s original verdict. The judge said that the section of Joyful Noise in dispute was not distinctive enough to be protected by copyright. She said: “It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favourable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in ‘Joyful Noise’ is not a particularly unique or rare combination”. Flame plans to appeal but how that will end up remains to be seen.

The judgment came a week after a panel of 11 judges ruled in favour of Led Zeppelin in its long-standing dispute with Spirit. I would be surprised if there isn’t a correlation between the Led Zep judgment and the Perry judgment and I sincerely hope that this sets a new precedent for the music industry which in recent times has faced a number of high profile, high value and frankly absurd copyright infringement lawsuits.

As always, our copyright solicitors and music fanatics here at Briffa are always on hand to help with all things music. Please do not hesitate to contact us at or on 020 72886003 for a free consultation.

Written by Alex Fewtrell, Solicitor

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