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Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ improperly copied Christian rap song, jury decides

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A jury on Monday found that Katy Perry’s 2013 hit “Dark Horse” improperly copied a 2009 Christian rap song in a unanimous decision that represented a rare takedown of a pop superstar and her elite producer by a relatively unknown artist.

The verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors, first sued in 2014 alleging “Dark Horse” stole from “Joyful Noise,” a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.

The case now goes to a penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe for copyright infringement.

Questions from the jury during their two full days of deliberations had suggested that they might find only some of the defendants liable for copyright infringement. The case focused on the notes and beats of the song, not its lyrics or recording, and the questions suggested that Perry might be off the hook.

But in a decision that left many in the courtroom surprised, jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the songs were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song’s words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song. Perry was not present when the verdict was read.

Other defendants found liable were Capitol Records as well as Perry’s producers: Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who came up with the song’s beat.

Gray’s attorneys argued that the beat and instrumental line featured through nearly half of “Dark Horse” are substantially similar to those of “Joyful Noise.” Gray wrote the song with his co-plaintiffs Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu.

“Dark Horse,” a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single of Perry’s 2013 album “Prism,” spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014, and earned a Grammy nomination for Perry, who performed the song during her 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.

Her attorneys argued that the song sections in question represent the kind of simple musical elements that if found to be subject to copyright would hurt music and all songwriters.

“They’re trying to own basic building blocks of music, the alphabet of music that should be available to everyone,” Perry’s lawyer Christine Lepera said during closing arguments Thursday.

The defendants’ musical expert testified that the musical patterns in dispute were as simple as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

But the jury of six women and three men disagreed, finding that the bumping beat and riff at the center of “Joyful Noise” were original enough to be copyrighted.

Perry and the song’s co-authors testified during the seven-day trial that none of them had heard the song or heard of Gray before the lawsuit, nor did they listen to Christian music.

Gray’s attorneys had only to demonstrate, however, that “Joyful Noise” had wide dissemination and could have been heard by Perry and her co-authors. They provided as evidence that it had millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify, and that the album it’s included on was nominated for a Grammy.

“They’re trying to shove Mr. Gray into some gospel music alleyway that no one ever visits,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Michael A. Kahn during closing arguments, when he also pointed out that Perry had begun her career as a Christian artist.

Jurors agreed, finding that the song was distributed widely enough that the “Dark Horse” writers may well have heard it.

Kahn and Gray declined comment but smiled as they left the courtroom after the verdict.

Lepera and other defense attorneys also declined comment outside court. Perry’s publicist did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Monday evening.

Perry, a 34-year-old pop superstar and “American Idol” judge, brought laughs to the proceedings when she testified during its second day when her lawyers were having technical troubles getting “Dark Horse” to play in the courtroom.

“I could perform it live,” Perry said.

No performance was necessary after the audio issues were fixed. Jurors heard both songs played back-to-back in their entirety at the end of closing arguments last week.

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‘Inverted cross and Satan’s praise’ during news presentation: ABC TV’s broadcast in controversy

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TV viewers in Australia were given a devilish surprise this week after a news broadcast suddenly cut to footage from a satanic ritual.

The incident occurred during a segment on Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) nightly news bulletin detailing the introduction of a new law that could see criminals handed prison sentences for hurting police animals

Just as the segment was about to end, the feed suddenly cut to a brief clip featuring three individuals on a stage alongside an illuminated upside-down crucifix.

Two of the three were standing up dressed in robes, while the other one could be seen sitting in front of what appears to be a keyboard.

One of the robed men, who is dressed entirely in black, raises his hands in the video, while the words “hail Satan” are audible on the brief clip.

Seconds later the broadcast cut back to news anchor Yvonne Yong who, despite managing to keep a straight face, appears to be aware of the mix-up.

After a momentary pause, she continued on to the next news item.

The incident was picked up on Twitter by ABC’s Mediawatch account, which shared the clip, writing “ABC’s satanic slip-up. What was going on here?”

At the time of writing, the video has been viewed over 159,000 times on social media.

ABC TV has so far failed to provide an explanation as to what happened.

According to Insider, the footage featured on the news broadcast comes from a Facebook video published by the Noosa Temple of Satan, a Devil worship group based out of Queensland, Australia.

The clip unwittingly featured on the ABC TV bulletin reportedly originates from a Facebook live stream conducted by the group on October 30. It can be seen around the eight-minute mark of the video, which can be viewed here.

The Noosa Temple of Satan has commented on the clip’s surprise inclusion in a Facebook post with the group sharing a link to the ABC Mediawatch tweet, alongside the comment: “Our hero…”

The group also shared a link to a story covering the incident, commenting alongside it: “Satan works in mysterious ways…..”

Led by Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon, or Robin Bristow as he was formerly known, the Noosa Temple is a religious organization dedicated to the celebration and promotion of Satanism in Australia.

“We emphasize the virtues of free-thinking and rebellion against Christian authority.'” a statement on the group’s website says.

“We revere Satan as a figure who symbolizes rebellion against tyrannical or arbitrary authority,” it adds.

Newsweek has reached out to the Noosa Temple and ABC TV for comment.

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Hillsong Worship invites listeners into ‘revelation’ of who God really is in new album, ‘Awake

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Grammy Award-winning group Hillsong Worship released their latest studio album Awake, and the popular band hopes listeners will have their own “awakening” with God.

Hillsong church was founded by Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, in 1983. It has now grown from a single church to an international ministry that has houses of worship in 21 countries on six continents, including: London, England; Paris, France; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Tel Aviv, Israel; and three cities in the United States.

The church has an average global attendance approaching 130,000 weekly.

In the U.S., Hillsong is recognized for its thriving congregations in New York City, Los Angeles and Phoenix, with services frequently attended by A-list celebrities.

Hillsong Worship has led the global ministry in congregational music for more than 30 years with a goal to serve the church by equipping believers worldwide with songs of praise. Their new release, Awake, aims to do the same. Featuring the vocals of Brooke Ligertwood, Joel Houston, Taya, and Aodhan King, the album is comprised of 12 new tracks that they hope will help listeners participate in a deeper exchange with God.

Hillsong Worship is widely known for their world-renowned songs, including “Shout to the Lord” and “Oceans. Below is an edited transcript of The Christian Post’s interview with lead singer Ligertwood who discusses the church’s fame, how they create their music, and the group’s aim of reflecting their heart for God in everything they produce.

Sources : The Christian Post

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