ST. LOUIS • Christian hip-hop musicians from St. Louis and elsewhere sued pop singer Katy Perry, Capitol Records and others in federal court here Tuesday, claiming that Perry’s song “Dark Horse” ripped off their 2008 song.
The suit says that Perry and her co-writers infringed the copyright of the Christian song “Joyful Noise” and have exploited and profited from its use.
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It also says that “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’.”
“Joyful Noise” was written in 2007 and released in 2008. The song received a 2008 Gospel Music Association Dove Award nomination for the best rap/hip-hop song, the suit says.
The album, “Our World: Redeemed,” received a Grammy Award nomination for best rock or rap gospel album and a Stellar Award nomination for rap album of the year in 2008.
Eric Kayira, one of the lawyers for the hip-hop artists, said that comparisons of the songs “percolated” various places online and eventually made their way to the performers’ ears.
The suit was filed by Christian hip-hop musicians Flame, born Marcus Gray, and Chike Ojukwu, both of St. Louis, as well as Lecrae Moore, of Atlanta, and Emanuel Lambert, of Aldan, Pa.
It names Perry, born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson; Juicy J, born Jordan Michael Houston; Dr. Luke, born Lukasz Gottwald; Max Martin of California; Cirkut, born Henry Russell Walter; Sarah Theresa Hudson of California; and Capitol Records LLC.
Perry’s publicist did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
In 2011, Flame lawyer and author Michael A. Kahn sued on behalf of two other Missouri residents who claimed to have been wronged by Hollywood.
One, photographer Michael Eastman, objected to the use of a limited edition photo in “Million Dollar Decorators,” a reality show on Bravo.
Another, tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill, sued over the use of a Whitmill tattoo on the face of a character in the Warner Bros. movie “The Hangover Part II.”
Both suits were settled for undisclosed amounts.
Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.