Author Topic: federal court outlaws all sampling  (Read 1913 times)

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Jeremy Blackman

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federal court outlaws all sampling
« on: September 11, 2004, 12:39:47 PM »
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Court says any sampling may violate copyright law

John Gerome, Associated Press

NASHVILLE — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that rap artists should pay for every musical sample included in their work — even minor, unrecognizable snippets of music.

Lower courts had already ruled that artists must pay when they sample another artists' work. But it has been legal to use musical snippets — a note here, a chord there — as long as it wasn't identifiable.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati gets rid of that distinction. The court said federal laws aimed at stopping piracy of recordings applies to digital sampling.

"If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you 'lift' or 'sample' something less than the whole? Our answer to that question is in the negative," the court said.

"Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way."

Some observers questioned whether the court's opinion is too restrictive, especially for rap and hip-hop artists who often rhyme over samples of music taken from older recordings.

"It seems a little extreme to me," said James Van Hook, dean of Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. "When something is identifiable, that is the key."

The case at issue is one of at least 800 lawsuits filed in Nashville over lifting snippets of music from older recordings for new music.

The case centers on the NWA song 100 Miles and Runnin, which samples a three-note guitar riff from Get Off Your Ass and Jam by '70s funk-master George Clinton and Funkadelic.

In the two-second sample, the guitar pitch has been lowered, and the copied piece was "looped" and extended to 16 beats. The sample appears five times in the new song.

NWA's song was included in the 1998 movie I Got the Hook Up, starring Master P and produced by his movie company, No Limit Films.

No Limit Films has argued that the sample was not protected by copyright law. Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records, which claim to own the copyrights for the Funkadelic song, appealed the lower court's summary judgment in favor of No Limit Films.

The lower court in 2002 said that the riff in Clinton's song was entitled to copyright protection, but the sampling "did not rise to the level of legally cognizable appropriation."

The appeals court disagreed, saying a recording artist who acknowledges sampling may be liable, even when the source of a sample is unrecognizable.

Noting that No Limit Films "had not disputed that it digitally sampled a copyrighted sound recording," the appeals court sent the case back to the lower court.

Richard Busch, attorney for Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music, said he was pleased with the ruling.

Robert Sullivan, attorney for No Limit Films, did not return a phone call to his office.
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Reinhold

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2005, 12:36:03 AM »
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question: if the city was built on rock n' roll, why the fuck did they turn it into a hip hop song?

what do the rest of you think of sampling?
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

ono

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2005, 01:31:18 AM »
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Sampling is essential to creativity.  It doesn't hurt anyone, and it's silly to insinuate in any way that it does.

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2005, 11:16:43 AM »
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This is all crap.

Are you seriously going to copyright 3 notes in a riff?  There are only so many notes you can play.  If entire verses or movements are lifted, I say sampling is just coincidental, borrowing or homage.
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Reinhold

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2005, 12:39:43 PM »
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i don't think it hurts anybody when it's done well and it's not just blatant stealing. ... but if they're taking a whole line or a really recognizable part of a song and then using it to make money without giving credit to the original artist, then that's not cool.

there are only so many notes somebody can play, but there are also only so many letters people can use. it's wrong to use a bunch of somebody else's words and claim it as your original work-- so the same applies to sampling notes.

i've heard a lot of songs that use sampling beautifully-- introducing a new life or new meaning to an older piece of music or paying homage to it-- not just simply ripping it off. i think it's an important and beneficial tool for artists to have.

but --

sometime's it's shit-- almost to the point where i'd like it to be outlawed just so i don't have to hear it.

there are some songs that are just mind numbing loops of other people's stuff that somebody stole, chopped up, and regurgitated. to me, that's an issue of both copyright infringement and bad art. 
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

matt35mm

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2005, 02:21:18 PM »
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The "there are only so many notes" argument doesn't apply here.  This is about when someone takes a specific recording of those three notes--that recording is part of what was copyrighted.  That's what's illegal about it.  You could record yourself playing the same three notes and no one will have a problem.  OR just take the original recording and don't tell anyone about it.  If it's truly unrecognizable, then no one will object, and as long as you don't admit anything, you're not liable.

But even if I were to take one piano note out of a Fiona Apple song--a note that hasn't been altered, so that it sounds like any recording of that piano note--it is technically still illegal, because you're taking from that owned recording, although I'm sure Fiona wouldn't mind.

pete

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2005, 03:08:42 PM »
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does the "fairplay" thing still apply?  like can you still argue in court that you're using the source for a different purpose and therefore it's legal, like the experimental video artists did in the late 80s?
re: we built this city on rock'n'roll.  Is there a hip hop version of it somewhere that's making you so mad?  I mean, it's a terrible song and that original song wasn't even rock'n'roll, so why does it hurt to turn it into a hip hop song?
outlawing sampling just means only wealthy producers can do it, 'cause they can still buy the rights.
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Weird. Oh

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2005, 05:55:08 PM »
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This whole copyright thing is total bullshit. It has nothing to do with artistic integrity and everything to do with money.They passed the DMCA under Clinton's admin without a mention in the media back in 1998 and look at the ramifications of this act.

Art for the masses is truly dead.
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Reinhold

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2005, 02:43:11 AM »
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one of my professors just lent me her copy of Sonic Outlaws... we got to talking about this type of thing when i saw one of Tictacbk's professors speak here a few nights ago. i haven't seen it yet because i don't have a vcr in my dorm, but i'm told its a very good movie to watch if this argument interests you.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

NEON MERCURY

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2005, 11:03:27 AM »
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 :doh:

this could be the end of rap music.  if the rap "artists" have to actaully create their own music instead of stealing others what will happen?  will they sit down and take the time to create soemthing new and fresh?  or will they have to retire from the industry and go back to selling crack in their neighborhoods. :ponder: 

Reinhold

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2005, 12:51:35 PM »
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there's an interesting thought Mos Def brought up while doing an interview on NPR a while back... if anybody wants to point fingers at the people responsible for the rise of sampling as a popular art form in urban environments, they should be pointing their fingers at the people who cut funding for middle school music programs. students in city schools grew up without learning to play instruments, so they'd use their parents records and tape the needles in place so it would only play a little sample, and then rap over that loop.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

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Re: federal court outlaws all sampling
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2005, 11:10:35 PM »
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Although it's a stretch on Mos Def's part, he's going somewhere positive with it.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

 

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