The internet has been going crazy over the latest copyright infringement case involving Katy Perry . There was a claim made by Christian Rap Artist, Flame, who filed a copyright infringement dispute against Katy Perry and her record label because parts of hit song “Dark Horse” closely resembled the song “Joyful Noise”.
Artist, Flame, has been fighting this dispute for over 5 years trying to recover damages and he has finally won! Katy Perry has been ordered to pay $550,000 and her record company is ordered to pay $1.3 million in damages! OH MY!
Other writers and collaborators on the song “Dark Horse” were found guilty of copyright infringement as well and ordered to pay damages. WHEW! This is a hot mess.
So what is copyright infringement ?
Copyright infringement in its simplest terms is when you use (distribute, reproduce, sample, copy) someone else’s registered copyrighted work without permission. Here, Katy Perry and her team used the melody that was similar to the song Joyful Noise, which is why Ms. Perry was found guilty of infringement. Beware of the phrase “there is nothing new under the sun” always make sure your legal basis is covered. Just because something has been done over and over again don’t assume you can do it too!
How much can you sue for copyright infringement?
How much an infringer pays depends on the actual damages resulted from the use of the copyrighted materials. For example, Dark Horse in 2013 was number 1 on the top 100 Billboards. The court can look at the revenue generated since 2013 from that song and determine a baseline on damages. The court can also determine if to hold one person liable for infringement or hold everyone involved responsible. Here, the court decided to hold everyone involved responsible based on their respective role. In short, the amount awarded truly depends on if there was actual damages i.e. did someone benefit off your copyrighted work? If so, you have to show how they benefited. If you can do that , you will most likely win your claim.
How can you avoid copyright infringement?
The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to always search the copyright database. You can also hire a company to conduct as search for you. When you are in doubt or unsure if what you want to use is related to someone else’s copyrighted work then its always best to get written permission to use. If it is even remotely similar it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can always reach out to someone and ask if they can provide proof of their copyright before you use something. If there is no proof then its fair game!
What are some other examples of copyright infringement besides this Katy Perry situation?
- You know those FBI warnings on movies ? LOL. Recording movies is copyright infringement if you don’t have a license or proper permission.
- Using music, sound, and melody without proper permission. So you saying “ I don’t own the rights to this music” will not protect you from copyright infringement.
- Using photos and content from blogs and websites without permission. Beware of copying and pasting without permission.
- Basically, anything you are copying, pasting, using of someone else when you know you’re not the original creator (owner).
I know this was a lot sis, but I wanted to make sure you CYA (cover your ASS) and protect your ASSets!
Until next time,