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Madonna, Marlon Brando Estate Settle Lawsuit Over ‘Vogue’

Madonna is about to resolve litigation with Marlon Brando’s estate over using the late actor’s image when she performs the song “Vogue” in concert.
The lyrics to the song list out many celebrities (“Greta Garbo, and Monroe / Deitrich and DiMaggio …”) and Madonna has made it a habit to use images of dead celebrities in her set dressing.
But to do so, she arguably needs permission from the estates, and two lawsuits were filed last year over her alleged failure to get it.
CMG Worldwide, an Indiana-based firm that manages the intellectual property rights of many dead stars, sued first, looking to protect Madonna. CMG was in charge of clearing rights for Bhakti Touring Inc, which represented Madonna when she went out on her MDNA world tour after last year’s Super Bowl halftime performance.
Madonna was to pay $5,000 each to the estates of James Dean, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, etc., and CMG thought it had agreed to a likewise deal with reps for the Brando estate. But according to a suit filed in September, Brando’s licensing reps increased their demands to $20,000, which represented a problem since it meant that Madonna would then have to also pay $20,000 to each of the other dead celebs thanks to “most favored nation” contractual clauses. It might have made “Vogue” too costly to be performed as intended.
CMG sued, seeking a declaration that Brando’s estate and its agents be prevented from bringing any lawsuits against CMG, Bakhti and Madonna for violations of Brando’s intellectual property. The plaintiff claimed to have a valid and enforceable contract.
The Brando estate nevertheless returned fire with its own lawsuit against Madonna in October, accusing her of having “intentionally, negligently, and/or willingly used the Brando IP Assets for the purposes of attracting attention to the Tour, to the individual concerts and to the song ‘Vogue’ itself and for the purpose of enhancing the advertising and marketing thereof.”
Suing for misappropriation of publicity rights and trademarks, the Brando estate sought $100,000 for each nonwillful use and $1 million for each willful use.
The parties have informed the court that they had reached a settlement in principle but need time to execute the settlement agreement. Terms haven’t yet been revealed. The Brando estate is known for its litigiousness in protecting rights, suing in the past over such allegedly exploitive items as motorcycle boots and sofas. The actor, who died in 2004, won Oscars for On the Waterfront and The Godfather and also starred in such films as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One and Last Tango in Paris.

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  • ava

    Marlon who?

    • Ava

      Another Ava ?

      hi ! ;P

  • day4night

    mo money mo problems..

  • Adam Raynbird

    ohh wot next, why the hell is every body trying to take take take from our queen, she deserves respect.

  • DitaBitch

    All this news we get is not really interesting, innit? I just wanna hear what she plans next and get updated.. Hopefully she’s prepping a new album? Producers known she is approaching..?

    • Ava

      Dita. Are you a Lahndanar ?

  • Dita

    greedy fucking CUNTS!
    Madonna doesn’t owe anybody anything!
    I hope all settles in Madonna’s favour and I hope She doesn’t have to pay out a single penny.

  • ScottnNYC

    “They had style, they had grace…Marlon Brando had a fat face.”

    • K

      Good Going Stranger ScothnNYC.

    • Ava

      lol. Still hot in a way, though.

  • I tow the line

    ridicoulous!! do you think Madonna is asking for money every time somebody mentions her name???!!!

    • I tow the line

      She is more famous than all these people combined…

      • K

        Finally some equal rights.

        Goddess Madonna is as famous as GOD.

    • ScottnNYC

      Actually, I’m pretty certain that Madonna would be doing the same thing if someone used her image without permission and without paying for it.

      • I tow the line

        Maybe you are right, But I find it funny that they want money. She has done an homage and free publicity. I remember wondering who the heck were all these people she was “rapping” about when Vogue came out and I was a kid. Sincerely, I only knew who Grace Kelly and M Monroe were. Vogue introduced me to Marlene Dietrich Bette Davis, and, yes, Marlon Brando.

      • Ava

        Everyone should know who marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and Marlon Brando are !

      • I tow the line

        Not if you are 8-9 yo…

  • Eddie

    Intellectual property with an attitude.

    • k

      If they were intellectual, they wouldn’t have had such a shi**y attitude.
      They would have shown more gratitude towards the Queen
      of Universe Madonna.

  • Lucas


  • kyoto


    • K

      Like Madonna.

      The only difference is that Madonna has it all in ONE PLACE. She is all in one.

  • david

    thnx to that song all these young kids know who actually marlon brando is!

    • Oscar Hamptonshire

      Apparently, Marlon Brando estate not incline. Be kind for using
      icon. Likeness David your comment is vague. Account decease
      artist, if popular generate. Revenue basically: infoming Madonna. Request to use Marlon name sake. All due, respect
      besides Madonna. Estate do the same remark. Upon those younger non appreciative. Former era’s? Well this bias remark!

      David if you enjoy Vogue along video. Hello, it was redolence,
      bemusement of “Golden” Hollywood. Madonna going move along preparing. New release soon, possbily late 2013? Enjoy
      note: you must get written permission. Use likeness former artist
      Madonna. Should consulted the estate pay them. Move on bye.

    • K


      I think they should pay Madonna for refering to Brando. Thanks to Madonna many people know who Brando is.