By Hayden Wright
Madonna has won a lawsuit alleging that she and co-writer Shep Pettibone lifted a brief horn hit that appears on “Vogue.” The sonic element lasts less than one-third of a second but VMG Salsoul, LLC noticed a similarity with a song in its collection called “Love Break,” which Pettibone worked on. Circuit Judge Susan Graber determined that most listeners couldn’t make a connection between the horn hit in “Vogue” and previously recorded material.
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“After listening to the audio recordings submitted by the parties, we conclude that a reasonable juror could not conclude that an average audience would recognize the appropriation of the horn hit,” she wrote, according to NME.
“That common-sense conclusion is borne out by dry analysis,” Graber continued. “The horn hit is very short—less than a second. The horn hit occurs only a few times in ‘Vogue.’ Without careful attention, the horn hits are easy to miss. Moreover, the horn hits in ‘Vogue’ do not sound identical to the horn hits from ‘Love Break’ … Even if one grants the dubious proposition that a listener recognized some similarities between the horn hits in the two songs, it is hard to imagine that he or she would conclude that sampling had occurred.”
The ruling could set favorable precedent for Justin Bieber as he faces a suit over his song “Sorry.”