Katy Perry Supported by 15 Musicologists After $2.8MM Copyright Ruling

McGill University’s Schulich School Music ‏

Katy Perry has received a strong showing support from 15 expert musicologists hailing from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and even Japan.

The armada musicologists first emerged after Katy Perry was slapped with a stunning, $2.8 million copyright infringement penalty for infringing on rapper Flame’s “Joyful Noise.”  But it was unclear whether their testimonies and arguments would be allowed by the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case.

Now, it’s ficial: the , which overwhelmingly urge a fresh look at the case, will be examined by the U.S. District Court for the Central District California.  The musicologists are arguing for a fresh ruling as a matter law, or a retrial.

Musicologists from McGill University’s Schulich School Music, University Southern California, Indiana University, Butler University School Music, UCLA Herb Alpert School Music, University Hamburg, Berklee College Music, Millikin University, University London, University at Albany – SUNY, Manhattan School Music, Keio University SFC, Stanford University, Hunter College, and Case Western Reserve University comprise the brief.

“Amici have a strong interest in Courts correcting obvious errors in juries’ understanding evidence relating to extrinsic similarity,” the brief, ficially entered January 9th, warns.  “If Courts do not overturn verdicts, like that in question here — improperly tainted by the jury’s application the subsequent “intrinsic test” – there will be expanding precedent grossly inequitable determinations infringement that will ultimately compromise the robust public domain that has fostered unparalleled creativity and innovation by American popular composers.”

Kenneth Freundlich, who represents the militant musicologists, told DMN that this group came together organically.

The group, or some variation there, has also weighed in on the recently-waged “Blurred Lines” and “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement battles.  The aim is to curb the trend in massive copyright infringement rulings that may be wildly erroneous — and handed down by non-musical juries.

“The musicology community as represented by my subgroup, is as you can imagine, not happy with cases which denigrate the definition music and make unprotectable elements (themselves or in combination) the subject broad copyright protection,” Freundlich noted.

“The group self-formed by word mouth amongst the musicology community.”

Sounds like the beginning a comeback, but not if Flame’s attorneys can help it.

The jury award against Katy Perry was unanimous, and Flame’s legal team — led by Michael Kahn Capes Sokol — have proceeded to .   Kahn has also argued vociferously against the musicologists’ brief, arguing that the expert group is better termed a ‘friend the Defendants’ rather than an impartial voice.

“While the musicologists] present themselves as ‘friends the Court,’ the more accurate term is ‘friends the Defendants.’ Neither the musicologists] nor their proposed brief — which is deficient or improper in several respects — meets the legal standard required to appear as an amicus,” Kahn argued.

“Moreover, their brief relies, in part, upon inadmissible evidence outside the record in this case, which is both highly prejudicial to Plaintiffs and improperly considered under the legal standards for post-trial motions.”

Despite that pushback, the arguments the various musicologists will be aired.  And, that’s only good news for Perry and collaborators like Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Max Martin (not to mention Capitol Records, Kobalt Music Group, and others).

More as this develops.