Twenty-plus years after releasing her iconic song “Vogue,” Madonna is being sued over the 1990 hit.
According to E! News, Delaware-based company VMG filed a suit Wednesday against the pop star and her onetime label, WB Records, claiming the track samples the 1977 song “Love Break.” “Vogue” was produced by Shep Pettibone, who also worked on remixes of “Love Break” and is named in the suit as well.
“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 suit from VMG reads. “The horn and strings in ’Vogue’ are intentionally sampled from ’Love Break’ throughout.”
As for Pettibone’s part, the suit says he “intentionally disguised the sampling he did in ’Vogue.’ ”
They are now looking for compensation two decades later since, they claim, it took more modern technology to discover the alleged sample. “The unauthorized sampling was deliberately hidden by [Madonna] within ’Vogue’ so as to avoid detection,” they continued. “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 says it attempted to give notice of copyright infringement twice before in July 2011 and again in February 2012. “In addition to [Madonna’s] profits that are attributable to the copyrighted material,” VMG is also seeking damages. A rep for the singer had not responded to MTV News’ request for comment by press time.
“Vogue” originally appeared on the soundtrack of the film “Dick Tracy,” I’m Breathless (Music From and Inspired by the film Dick Tracy). It hit the top of the charts that year and was the biggest-selling album of 1990. The black-and-white, David Fincher-directed video is as iconic as the song itself. It won three of the nine VMAs it was nominated for, including Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.
Earlier this year, Madonna commented on the similarities between her own “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” She famously called Mother Monster’s track a “reductive” version of her own feel-good anthem. She currently performs a mash-up of the two tracks on her tour.
Regardless of how the lawsuit shakes out, Madonna will release a new video Monday for her single “Turn Up The Radio.”