Madonna locked in legal battle with Marlon Brando’s estate

Iconic actor's representatives demand $300,000 from singer to use his image

Madonna is locked in a $300,000 (£185,615) legal battle with the estate of iconic actor Marlon Brando, according to reports.

The Hollywood Reporter says that a complex row has emerged between the ‘MDNA’ singer and Brando Enterprises’ legal team over the Queen Of Pop’s desire to use images of the actor in her live shows.

Madonna reportedly pays individual fees to the estate of various deceased celebrities name checked in her 1990 single ‘Vogue’ so that she can flash pictures of them onstage simultaneously to lyrics such as: “Greta Garboe, and Monroe/ Deitrich and DiMaggio/ Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean/ On the cover of a magazine.”

The vast majority of intellectual property rights belonging to each of the famous figures are owned by a company called CMG Worldwide, but Brando’s image is controlled by his own estate. Initially, Madonna’s touring company Bhakti enlisted the help of CMG to help them negotiate a deal with Brando Enterprises to secure his rights, and a fee of $3,750 (£2,320) was paid to each dead celebrity during her half-time show at the Super Bowl in February of this year.

For Madonna’s subsequent live shows, a new deal of $5,000 (£3,090) was agreed, but Brando’s estate have now allegedly demanded $20,000 (£12,375) each time his likeness is used. Furthermore, a “most favoured nation” clause in the contract of all the other agreements stipulates that each estate must receive the same amount of money, meaning that Madonna could be forced to fork out somewhere in the region of $200,000 (£123,750) for just one live performance of ‘Vogue’.

CMG have now sued Brando’s estate for breach of contract, and the case has reportedly been moved to a federal court in Indianapolis. Brando Enterprises are arguing that Madonna has violated the actor’s intellectual property rights during nearly 90 different shows, adding: “Despite the fact that Plaintiff is asking the Court to award it the Brando IP Rights for a mere $5,000, the true value of those rights in this litigation exceeds three-hundred thousand dollars ($300,000).”

Madonna is currently in their middle of her ‘MDNA’ world tour and is currently playing live shows in North America, before she heads to South America for the final run of dates in the extensive jaunt in November.