A few years back, we pointed to this wonderful interview with funk legend George Clinton
(and the second half is with hip hop legend Hank Shocklee, which makes it even more interesting), all about music sampling, where Clinton claims sampling's "cool" and "good." He says "it's a whole new music -- a new way of making music." And he says that it helps young people learn how to make and play music as well as learn important skills like how to use a computer. He talks about how glad he was when hip hop artists started making records with samples. The interviewer points out that in many cases Clinton wouldn't get paid for those samples and he notes that it's okay because, in the long run, he'd figure out how to make money from it. In fact, he notes that the rise of hip hop using many of his samples revived interest in his band leading them to get back out on the road and to make money touring again. He even put out some records specifically for sampling. He does talk about how, if someone makes money, he expects them to share some of the proceeds and how he prefers that bands clear samples beforehand, but he seems to think that these things can all be worked out pretty easily. Towards the end of the interview, he notes that licenses should be "pennies" per song to make it reasonable, and that "it's blackmail the way it is now."
Perhaps he's changed his mind when it comes to a band like the Black Eyed Peas, as he's apparently suing the band for sampling one of his tunes
. I believe that report misstates previous lawsuits by saying they involved Clinton, when they were actually done by Bridgeport Music -- a company that Clinton has claimed forged his signature to claim rights to his music. This report suggests that Clinton himself is now following in Bridgeport's footsteps though (Bridgeport has become famous for suing a ton of musicians demanding
a ton of money for samples). Another report on the lawsuit says that Clinton is accusing someone (yet again) of forging his signature
to say that this license was cleared.
In the end, once again, this is disappointing that rather than focusing on making cool and unique new music, people are focusing on going to court and fighting over who should be able to put up a toll booth on new music.