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...

Filed Under: copyright, michael henderson, sampling, snoop dogg

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2010 @ 8:53am


    You know, replaying the melody of a song as a "sample" is called interpolation. It too, is done on a regular basis, and is no more or less creative than a direct sample.

    If sampling were direct copying, it would be called copying. Sampling is just that. Take a portion of a song in existence, and loop, chop, and distort it to sound different.

    Of course, it gets bastardized because it can be done on a simple level. Good sampling is hard to even spot, off hand, and I'd say is very creative.

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