Madonna is being sued over a sample used in her 1990 hit ‘Vogue’. Even though it’s been 22 years since Madge first asked listeners to ‘strike a pose’, record label VMG alleges the singer stole samples from one of their songs for use in her hit single.
E! Online reports that VMG has filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against both Madonna and her label, WB Records. They claim the performer, who is currently on a mammoth world tour, nabbed samples from the track ‘Ooh I Love It (Love Break)’ by Salsoul Orchestra, released in 1977.
More specifically, VMG claims that horns and strings were taken from the earlier track and used in ‘Vogue’ without permission. In a statement released Friday, the label said:
“The portions of ‘Love Break’, which have been copied into ‘Vogue’ and all its various ‘mixes’, ‘remixes’, ‘videos’, YouTube versions etc, are numerous but intentionally hidden. The horn and strings in ‘Vogue’ are intentionally sampled from ‘Love Break’ throughout.”
So why the delay of more than two decades in spotting this? According to VMG, the technology to detect the reused sample has only recently been made available. This, argues the record label, is because it had been intentionally altered and hidden by producer Richard ‘Shep’ Pettibone, who was hired to mix ‘Love Break’ and who also worked on ‘Vogue’. Hmm. The filed lawsuit adds:
“The unauthorized sampling was deliberately hidden by [Madonna] within ‘Vogue’ so as to avoid detection. It was only when VMG specifically looked for the sample, with the technology available to it in 2011, that the sampling could be confirmed.”
VMG is seeking compensation in addition to “Madonna’s profits that are attributable to the copyrighted material.” Which, you know, is probably quite a lot – the single alone has sold well over 3 million copies, while the royalties due on such a universally popular track are likely to be monstrous.
The singer has not responded to the allegations.
Back in January, you may recall the boot was on the other foot, with Madonna herself mentioning the similarities between her single ‘Express Yourself’ and Lady Gaga’s track ‘Born This Way’. While no accusations of out-and-out thievery were made, Madonna described Gaga’s track as “reductive,” and later incorporated the chorus to ‘Born This Way’ into a live rendition of ‘Express Yourself’ on her MDNA tour.
Watch the videos below and make your own mind up about the ‘Love Break’/’Vogue’ allegations: