Madonna hasn’t breached a copyright with ‘Vogue’

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Madonna performs in concert at Rod Laver Arena on March 12, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Madonna’s cult song included a small fragment from the Salsoul Orchestra track ‘Love Break’, VMG Salsoul LLC as a plaintiff in the court of law claim that the same producer had been working on both tracks and used the piece in ‘Vogue’ without permitting about it beforehand.

Because the sample was less than a second, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “without careful attention, the horn hits are easy to miss.” The average audience would not “recognise the appropriation of the composition”. But the judge voted against because even stealing of a small piece is a violation of rights. He added: “It is no defence to theft that the thief made off with only a ‘de minimis’ part of the victim’s property.”

The case contradicts a 2006 case brought against NWA who sampled the band Funkadelic. The 6th Circuit Tennessee judge in the case wrote in his ruling: “Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.” The ruling means the 9th and 6th decisions now clash. This means that laws could change in the future so that short samples may be allowed in songs.


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