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Even Unrecognizable Music Samples Need Licenses

from the bad-news dept

Creativity is costly, apparently. An appeals court has now ruled that music acts that sample other songs even if the sample is completely unrecognizable from the original, still need to pay licenses to the original artist. Showing an incredible lack of understanding about how creativity works by building on the work of others, the Appeals Court stated: "We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way."

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  • identicon
    Jeremiah, 8 Sep 2004 @ 1:16pm

    No Subject Given

    There's a little more context, I believe. When the court said they didn't see it stifling creativity, they meant that in a very narrow sense. Obviously, this has implications for anyone producing commercial music (as it should), but it does not preclude anyone from simply "being creative."

    It's not illegal to use a sample in a song or music you've created; it *is* illegal (in the court's view) to make that work commercially available and reap economic benefits without first obtaining a license to do so from copyright holders.

    Note to rap producers: The late 80's-90's heyday of sampling is over. You are no longer relegated to cultural and technological hand-me-downs, thus it's time to grow up and pay the people upon which you've built sample-based empires.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      thecaptain, 8 Sep 2004 @ 3:19pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Hear hear!

      Not that I like rap in general but it was such a huge annoyance to hear songs that were 90% patchwork of ACTUAL creative classic songs.

      Can't these people come up with their own stuff? I say this decision encourages creativity because it stops them from swiping from other artists...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Secret Squirrel, 8 Sep 2004 @ 3:22pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      To the intellectual retard who made the above comment: sampling in hip-hop and electronic music is not about cultural hand-me-downs nor being lazy in composition/production. It's about reflecting the cultural environment from which the piece was created from, in much the same way that picture collages reflect visually cultural aspects in a very fragmented way. You make it seem as though this "heyday" was some party where everyone made music off the backs of others. Given that some did this, P-Diddy and the like. However some truly great sample collage works of Afrika Bambaataa, Coldcut, Meat Beat Manifesto, Grand Master Flash, DJ Shadow, UNKLE, ECC, and Negativland have redefined underground music in a significant way. I'm not against paying an artist for their contribution to a work, however when the contribution is a tiny fragment or waveform that through extensive editing, re-synthesizing and sequencing becomes way more than what the original sample was, I don't believe that someone must pay the thousands of dollars in royalties that clearing a sample usually takes if it happens at all. Did you know that many artists and media companies out of fear flat out refuse to let people sample their works, no matter how much money is involved. That's bullshit. That does hamper creativity for those who view the world through cultural reinterpretation, and it has to stop! Yes some people abuse sampling and create truly horrid works, while others take small bits and pieces that they would happily pay their worth for (not as much as what people charge) to create something that's both new and old. The cultural wasteland through rose colored glasses so to speak. There is no harm in that, and frankly I don't think that producers owe that much to the people they sample from when they extensively edit and alter the original material. It's the feeling of a sound, not the musical content that a samplist is after. If anyone should be paid for a sample, it's the engineer and producer, not the composer/songwriter/performers. It’s not as cut & dry as “you sample, you pay whatever some suit wants”. This judgment is a joke and shows the court’s total lack of understanding when it comes to new technology and cultural movements. Likewise your comment reflects your lack of understanding when it comes to Hip-Hop and Future Music Culture.

      Secret Squirrel

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        thecaptain, 9 Sep 2004 @ 5:13am

        Re: No Subject Given

        Wow...obsess much?

        I may be an intellectual retard, but then I can turn around and say the same of yourself simply because you don't appreciate the music I happen to like...its too easy. I am only stating what I hear.

        You make good points, however, not being a fan, and you are correct, I am NOT one. The only Hip Hop crap I get exposed to is the unoriginal stuff hyped by record companies that play 24/7 wherever you go. You may be entirely correct that some of the stuff out of the mainstream you listen to is brilliant (its debatable but my point is that creativity and genius is possible in ANY musical genre, except perhaps boy-hands). However, that said, the stuff the rest of us got flooded with was not in this category and far from it. From bad remakes of classics to songs that served simply to showcase some DJ's sampling capabilities, none of it was very creative...and none of it encouraged a non-fan to seek more.

        Again, you are correct, I don't understand Hip Hop and "Future Music" (First time I've heard THAT term) so I'm only commenting what I've been flooded with in stores, dance clubs, jukeboxes, other peoples' car stereos and all...and that was the context of my comment. Feel free to continue to flame away and call me all the names you want if it makes you value yourself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 8 Sep 2004 @ 8:34pm

    "Young Americans"

    Gosh, it was homage when David Bowie sang "I heard the news today oh boy" in "Young Americans." Now it would be illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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