Katy Perry, her co-stars, label producers and songwriter face a hefty $2.78 million fine following a jury’s ruling that all parties were found to be liable for copyright infringement in the making of her infamous hit ‘Dark Horse’. Judgment was granted in favour of Flame, a Christian rapper, following the jury’s verdict that elements of Flame’s song, “Joyful Noise”, had been copied by Katy Perry and her co-stars, including the electric beat of “Joyful Noise”, therefore constituting a form of primary infringement. The damages awarded to Flame have been apportioned between the parties with Katy Perry being ordered to pay just over $550,000, and her record label, Capitol Records, having to pay $1.3 million!
The fine issued to Katy Perry and her co-stars highlights the repercussions faced by those seeking to use the work of others and claim it as their own. In the UK, the primary piece of legislation that seeks to provide a creator of work with protection in relation to their original work produced is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998. This Act outlines two different classes of infringing acts, namely primary infringement and secondary infringement. Primary infringement involves a direct form of infringement, including a person copying the work of the copyright owner, and either issuing, performing or playing the copyright work to the public. Interestingly, ignorance to this type of infringement is no defence. In contrast, secondary infringement involves the infringing party having some specified knowledge, or reasonable grounds for having such knowledge, when committing the act.
Copyright seeks to protect a work, its key aim being to prevent others from using it without the owner’s permission. If you require any legal assistance regarding copyright, or have reason to believe that someone may be committing copyright infringement in respect of your own work, then please do not hesitate to contact Christopher Buck, Associate Partner in our Commercial Services Department who will be happy to assist.