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Where do the limitations of sampling end?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | Intellectual Property, Sports & Entertainment Law

Sampling is a commonly known music term for taking a portion of a sound recording and using it to inspire a new song. Many musicians were fond of this creative liberty during the rise of early hip hop music. Today, sampling is used more now than ever, from uses in movies to internet trends to the continuation of music sampling in every genre.

Sampling gives artists a chance to take new inspiration to a different level. New music created from a sample may take on more fame and money than the original creation, taking away from the original creator. This can cause original creators to feel like their art was stolen. 

Sampling can be copyright infringement

Musicians, painters, designers and other creative fields are all protected by copyright. Copyright protections allow creators to protect their work from reproductions, stealing and sales as a few examples. Sampling is one such way that infringes on a creator’s original work. 

Musicians can still find ways to legally sample from others

Sampling now has its roots dug deep into the music industry. This makes it hard for people not to want to sample a song. So this may have you wondering, “If sampling is wrong, then why do people keep doing it?” 

In rare cases, simply asking for permission to use another artist’s work in a song may be enough to avoid copyright infringement. There are also “fair use” exceptions that sometimes permit a small piece of the work to be sampled, although those are very, very limited. The most common path is officially securing the right to use a sample. Securing the right to use a sample, also known as ‘sample clearance,” is a necessary step in the creative process of any artist using a sample. This process ensures that creators have the proper permissions for their samples and that credit ad royalties are properly distributed to all interested parties. Moreover, this gives artists the freedom to express and expand on the art that inspires them.

Ensuring sample clearance can be tedious, but it is a crucial step in avoiding issues of infringement. Additionally, it can be troubling to find your work taken by others without your permission. You should know what options you have when enforcing your copyright.