Moby Faces Copyright Suit For 22-Year-Old Samples

A New York-based disco and funk record label, VMG Salsoul, has filed a lawsuit against electronic mastermind Moby, alleging he illegally used samples on his 1992 songs, Next is the E and Thousand. The claim comes just months after the same label lost a similar lawsuit over Madonna‘s Vogue.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit, filed in California on Monday, claims that both 22-year-old songs include unlicensed samples of the track Let No Man Put Asunder performed by Philadelphia girl group First Choice.

VMG Salsoul is seeking up to $150,000 for each instance, plus attorney’s fees and profits. Salsoul lost its case against Madonna after a judge ruled that “no reasonable audience would find the sampled portions qualitatively or quantitatively significant in relation to the infringing work.” The case is now up on appeal.

The Reporter points out the sampling of the allegedly stolen horn hit in the Madonna song was deemed to be “de minimis”, too small or insignificant to matter. Such may be the case for the two Moby songs, which, as the Reporter suggests may not have any copyright liability seeing as the allegedly stolen samples have not been detected for over 2 decades.

Moby has publicly advocated the sharing and downloading of music for free, vovcally criticising the Recording Industry Association of America for suing people over illegally downloading music. Recently Moby even starting his own sharing platform, Mobygratis, a resource for independent filmmakers in need of free music for their projects.

Moby has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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