Madonna Wins ‘Vogue’ Copyright Lawsuit
Madonna was accused of breaking the copyright law for her hit single “Vogue” — a U.S. court has ruled that though “Vogue” included a segment from another artist’s song, the singer did not break any law, according to reports on Friday.
Madonna Wins ‘Vogue’ Copyright Case
Madonna allegedly created the “Vogue” track using a horn beat lifted from the Salsoul Orchestra 1982 track “Love Break.”
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the sample lasted less than a second, and would not have been recognizable to the general public.
“Without careful attention, the horn hits are easy to miss,” the court said.
Producer Shep Pettibone worked on both “Vogue” and “Love Break.” The one-note horn segment lasted just 0.23 seconds, the court heard.
You can hear the original horn sequence at 4’40’’ in the audio clip below:
The horn sequence in Madonna’s “Vogue” track can be heard at 1’02’’ here:
“After listening to the recordings, we conclude that a reasonable jury could not conclude that an average audience would recognize the appropriation of the composition,” Judge Susan P Graber wrote in a statement.
However, the court’s decision was not unanimous, as Judge Barry G Silverman believes that the uncredited sample, if proven, would be considered theft.
“It is no defense to theft that the thief made off with only a ‘de minimis’ part of the victim’s property,” Silverman wrote.
Silverman argued that a copyright of a recording amounted to a “valuable property right, the stock-in-trade of artists who make their living recording music and selling records.”
The ruling could lead to short samples becoming more acceptable.