“I hope these posts stop the sale of that cassette at auction,” Leonard wrote in one of the video’s descriptions. “Not cool at all that someone would sell it. Not theirs to sell.”
Madonna has been trying to block the auction, which is unauthorized, ever since it began. There are currently over 70 lots on the auction block at the memorabilia company Gotta Have Rock & Roll and, while the singer can't stop the sales, releasing these demos is an apparent attempt to lessen the blow; the auction is set to close in three days.
Leonard co-wrote/produced several Madonna albums, including Like a Prayer, True Blue, and Ray of Light.
Billboard reached out to Ed Kosinksi, spokesperson for Gotta Have Rock & Roll, who has responded to the release of these demos: "Despite Mr. Patrick Leonard’s clearly erroneous and defamatory statement to the contrary, Ms. Darlene Lutz has full title to the Madonna-related cassettes currently being auctioned through gottahaverockndroll.com. The issue of ownership has been fully and definitively adjudicated in the New York State court system. Madonna lost the litigation at the trial court and has exhausted her ability to appeal."
"On June 4, 2019, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, in a 5-0 ruling in favor of Ms. Lutz and Gotta Have Rock and Roll.com, LLC, clearly stated that 'Lutz, and not [Madonna], is the rightful owner of the personal property at issue . . . [and she] was free to do with the property as she wished, which included consigning the property to [gottahaverockandroll.com] for sale.'"
"The Appellate Division could not be more clear on the issue of title, and Mr. Leonard’s statement to the contrary is both clearly erroneous as well as defamatory. The cassettes are being sold as collectibles only and copyright to the songs contained on the cassettes is not included. The auction is open for bidding and will end on Friday, July 26, 2019, at 9:00 EDT, subject to extension as per auction rules. Go to gottahaverockandroll.com for more information."
UPDATE: In response to the auction house's statement, Leonard sent this to Billboard on Wednesday: "To be crystal clear if it wasn’t before: My comments regarding the auction were referring to the MUSIC itself and not the physical cassette it’s on. If people want to bid on that cassette and are willing to pay for it, then by all means feel free to. The music belongs to the writers."