Snoop Dogg Sued By Famed Jazz Artist For Sampling

from the fo-shizzle-my-copyrizzle dept

One of the key things that you recognize as you look more closely at how intellectual property is used, the reality is often quite different than the "theory." The theory is that intellectual property is most important for those up and coming artists who need the "protection" to have the incentive to create and to build up support. The reality is often that the up and comers ignore copyright law because it makes little sense to them and often gets in the way of what they're trying to do. Those who rely on copyright as a crutch are often those who have already been successful, and are looking for ways to squeeze more out of their previous success (and to slow down upstarts and competitors). We recently talked about how up-and-coming jazz musicians were struggling because copyright law was getting in the way of their ability to build on the works of others -- as their jazz forefathers had done from the beginning of the jazz era forward.

And now it appears that some jazz greats, who relied on just the same ability to build on the works of others, are now using copyright law to try to stop other artists from building on their own works. Michael Henderson, a bandmate of Miles Davis, and an incredibly influential jazz musician is now suing Snoop Dogg for sampling.

The legal battles over sampling have gone on for years, with some really, really terrible rulings on the books (basically, look for any lawsuit involving Bridgeport). Notably, Henderson appears to have brought this lawsuit in the 6th Circuit, where the Bridgeport v. Dimension Films bizarrely declared that there was no "de minimis" defense to sampling music. It would be nice to see a court decision recognizing that sampling isn't illegal, but we're unlikely to see that any time soon...

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), 8 Jul 2010 @ 8:52am

    What's the difference?

    I've never understood why sampling gets a free pass from so many people who might not feel the same way about similar situations.

    If I'm making a big-budget movie and want to include a cool scene of a tidal wave impacting a city, and instead of writing/shooting the scene myself I just decided to splice in a scene from "2012" or "Deep Impact", I'd get my ass sued off.

    Likewise, if I'm writing a novel and I copy a page-long description of the ocean from one of Hemingway's books without crediting him in any way, I think that's pretty plainly wrong. We even have a word for it - "plagiarism".

    So what makes sampling different? Is it a cultural difference because we're talking about musicians and not directors/authors?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.