This could be huge for musicians everywhere!
Madonna just won a long-standing copyright infringement case brought against her back in 2012 regarding Vogue, her famous 1990 song — and it could mean good things for other artists around the industry!
A company called VMG Salsoul, LLC brought the initial lawsuit against Madge four years ago over the copyright of one of their songs called Love Break that was a hit in the early 1980s.
The company alleged that Shep Pettibone — one of Vogue‘s producers — used an unlicensed ‘horn hit’ from Love Break on the Madonna track, and that the horn sound should give them rights to Madonna’s huge hit.
Here’s the kicker: the ‘horn hit’ used in Madge’s mega-song was exactly 0.23 seconds long.
Yes, you read that right!! Less than a quarter of a second!
Because of that fact, finally on Thursday after four years of court battles, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the snippet was de minimis, or so small as to be trivial — and thus, they ruled in Madonna’s favor!
Circuit Judge Susan Graber said of the court’s decision:
“Defendants copied, at most, a quarter-note single horn hit and a full measure containing rests and a double horn hit. A reasonable jury could not conclude that an average audience would recognize an appropriation of the Love Break composition.”
The lone dissenting judge, Barry Silverman, had a decidedly strong viewpoint going the other way, though:
“In any other context, this would be called theft.”
Because of this decision, the thought is that the door may open for artists to use small samples of other songs, unlicensed, freely without legal consequences.
Guess we’ll see about that — but in the meantime, it looks like Madonna has won her big court battle and can finally move on from this four-year long legal hassle!
[Image via ABC.]