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Katy Perry 'Witchcraft,' Kendrick Lamar Sampling Spark New Copyright Lawsuits

A Christian hip-hop artist targets Perry over "Dark Horse" while the owner of a song by The Alan Parsons Project goes to court against Lamar.

Katy Perry
Katy Perry

Katy Perry and Kendrick Lamar are both facing new lawsuits claiming they've misappropriated songs in hit releases.

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The copyright action targeting Perry in Michigan federal court is the one that's most entertaining. It comes from Christian rapper Flame (born Marcus Grey) and his producers, who say they authored a 2008 gospel hip-hop song entitled "Joyful Noise." That song appeared on an album that was nominated for a Grammy for best rock or rap gospel album.

According to the complaint, the song was used without permission in the creation of Perry's "Dark Horse," the first single from her 2013 album, Prism. The plaintiffs don't go into much detail about how it was used, but the defendants — which include producer Dr. Luke and Capitol Records — are alleged to have damaged the plaintiffs in the creation and performance of a chart-topping song.

"By any measure, 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,' " states the lawsuit filed on Tuesday. "Indeed, the music video of 'Dark Horse' generated widespread accusations of blasphemy and an online petition signed by more than 60,000 demanding removal of an offensive religious image from the video."

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Meanwhile, over in California federal court, acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar is being accused of improper sampling on "Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)."

The plaintiff in the case is Woolfsongs Limited, a U.K. company that manages the works of Eric Woolfson and his platinum-selling music group, The Alan Parsons Project. Woolfsongs asserts that "Keisha’s Song" incorporates the group's song "Old and Wise" without consent.

The complaint says that resolution of the matter was attempted with Lamar's reps in April 2014, but no settlement resulted and the defendants became unresponsive.

Both lawsuits demand injunctions. The Perry lawsuit seeks profits and statutory damages while the Lamar lawsuit aims for an award of compensatory damages.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner