Madonna and Music Producer Win Lawsuit Over ‘Vogue’
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Madonna and producer Robert “Shep” Pettibone won a lawsuit that claimed they illegally sampled a song on her 1990 hit “Vogue”. The original lawsuit was filed in July by VMG Salsoul, the copyright owner of 1976’s composition “Love Break”. VMG claimed that it was only through new technology that they found the “deliberately hidden” sampling.
A US District Court judge in California ruled that the sampling was “trivial”.
The ruling reads: “Having listened to the sound recordings of Chicago Bus Stop, Love Break, and Vogue, the Court finds that no reasonable audience would find the sampled portions qualitatively or quantitatively significant in relation to the infringing work, nor would they recognize the appropriation. The Court finds that any sampling of the Horn Hit was de minimis or trivial.“
The ruling could have addressed a standard set in a 2006 case of an N.W.A. rap song that sampled a Funkadelic song. In the Bridgeport Music vs Dimension Films case, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals wouldn’t approve of the sampling and looping of a two-second guitar chord. An appeals court wrote: “Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.“
US District Judge Beverly O’Connel ignored if a brief sample could be copyright infringement, and said it was appropriate to apply the case because there wasn’t any proof of copying or sampling at all.
Attorney Richard Busch, who represented the defendants, said: “We are thrilled with the decision, and believe it is absolutely the right result.“
You can find the ruling here.