9th Circ. Throws Down The Gauntlet On Music Sampling

Law360, New York (June 4, 2016, 5:11 PM EDT) -- When the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday that Madonna wasn’t liable for copyright infringement for incorporating a 0.23-second “horn blast” from a disco song into her 1990 hit “Vogue,” the judges knew exactly what they were doing.

Even though a previous ruling in another circuit had effectively declared that any amount of unauthorized sampling of a sound recording amounted to infringement, the Ninth Circuit panel said it was knowingly taking “the unusual step of creating a circuit split.”

“We acknowledge that our decision has consequences,” U.S. Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber wrote. “But the goal of avoiding a circuit split cannot override...

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