Pop singer Madonna prevailed on Thursday in a copyright lawsuit over her song “Vogue” that alleged a producer copied a fraction-of-a-second segment of horns from an earlier song.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a general audience would not recognize the 0.23-second snippet in “Vogue” as originating from the song “Love Break.”
Attorneys for the plaintiff, VMG Salsoul LLC, could not immediately be reached for comment.
A producer of “Vogue,” Shep Pettibone, also recorded “Love Break” in the early 1980’s, according to the court ruling.
VMG Salsoul owns the copyright to “Love Break” and alleged Pettibone sampled the “horn hit” from the earlier work and added it to “Vogue.”
The three-judge 9th Circuit panel ruled 2-1 in favor of Madonna, Pettibone and other defendants including Warner Bros Records. Dissenting Judge Barry Silverman said even a small sample of music, used without a license, should be a copyright violation.
“In any other context, this would be called theft,” Silverman wrote.
An attorney for Madonna could not immediately be reached for comment.