Sampling Error

|

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that sampling is illegal, even when the sample in question is an essentially unrecognizable snippet. The case at issue here involved a two-second, three-note P-Funk lick that had been altered and looped.

Advertisement

NEXT: Is "the al-Qaeda throne" Empty?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Well, that does it. Everything that’s happened over the past few years, I was ready to put up with, but this is too damned far. It’s time for violent revolution. B-boys of the world, unite!

    P.S. I’d settle for Californian secession in a pinch.

  2. Doesn’t this have wider implications for all derivative art? I saw an exhibit once that was a large novel that had almost every line of every page burned away. The artistic merit was questionable, but it seems like this ruling suggests that even that piece would be illegal.

    I’m sure there are countless other examples of derived art; do they now all become illegal?

  3. Well it’s about time. Those negroes have been getting away with stealing the white man’s music for far too long.

  4. Oh well. There goes industrial & industrial dance music (i.e. a huge majority of what I listen to).

  5. Doesn’t this have wider implications for all derivative art?

    Good point. Most literature steals themes and sometimes direct words from previous literature.

  6. I think the decision said sampling was okay as long as appropriately obvious props are given.
    Props in the form of a shout-out have been designated ‘safe-harbor’.

    The P-diddy clause, I think.

  7. I’m sure the only acceptable props is a large check made out to the record company?

  8. “Derivative” is a polite term for electronically cutting and pasting actual passages from someone else’s creation and selling it as original. Frankly, I would rather see rappers, hip-hop artists and purveyors of other forms of electronica having to come up with their own beats as opposed to stealing someone else’s.

    The epitome of sampling was Vanilla Ice’s tragic “Ice, Ice Baby.” The David Bowie/Freddy Mercury cut “Under Pressure” from which the hook for that travesty was taken isn’t among my favorite pieces of music, but it was hauled several hundred rungs down the dignity ladder by the audio theft of the signature bass line and piano riff. It is significant that even Mr. Van Winkle himself, now in retirement, appears to be embarrassed by his former crime.

  9. I assume you avid bloggers wouldn’t mind me cutting and pasting entire passages from your best work without attribution and foisting them off on an unsuspecting public as my own work, hmmm?

  10. Finally, consider Rick James’ “Superfreak.” Having been liberally sampled for both “Der Komissar” and MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This,” it would seem in retrospect that all the artists involved in that three-way transaction have come to bad ends. Coincidence? I think not.

  11. To Patrick:

    I hear ya. Bye Bye Skinny Puppy and Frontline Assembly.

  12. Forgot to add:

    Industrial bands were sampling WAY before Hip-Hop and Rap, but they were using movie dialogue and sounds rather than other pieces of music. Throbbing Gristle et. al. were sampling in the 70’s.

    J1

  13. I assume you avid bloggers wouldn’t mind me cutting and pasting entire passages from your best work without attribution and foisting them off on an unsuspecting public as my own work, hmmm?

    Attribution is entirely irrelevant to copyright law. What you’re describing is an ethical issue called plagiarism. Plagiarism is not a crime however.

    Oh, and oops, I seem to have just done what you described. Should I be guilty of copyright violation now?

    For more information on this topic read up on your history:

    http://www.negativland.com/intprop.html

  14. I guess we won’t be seeing any more quotes of previous court rulings in new court rulings anymore…

  15. Falco’s “Der Kommissar” doesn’t sample “Super Freak”, and I don’t think After The Fire’s cover does either…here, let me check…spinning up the ol’ iPod here…nope, it doesn’t. It’s just a similar bassline. Falco didn’t sample much, and certainly not during the Ponger years (81/82). Hell, hardly anyone outside of hip-hop did back then — white folks didn’t catch the bug until they could do it by pushing buttons and a Fairlight rig would have set you back deep into six figures at the time.

    Plus M.C. Hammer got Rick James’ permission for the sample he used on “Can’t Touch This”, so *ppphphpt*.

  16. Jeesuz H, what the hell is so hard about making your own damn music? What does it say about the alleged artist (and his fans) when the alleged artist lifts not a theme or idea but the actual sound waves? He’s no better than the collage (so-called) artist who cuts out cheaply printed snippets of Masters’ reproductions, glues them to a board and then has the balls to call it “original.” The practice of sampling the work of others is nothing more than a moral and intellectual shortcut practiced by tech-savy hoodlums who haven’t a shred of originality. They are aided and abetted by a lazy culture that can’t be bothered with highfalutin notions of “artistic integrity.”

    Oh well, we get the entertainment we deserve.

  17. This ruling will have no long-term effects even in Tennessee, let alone nationally, IMHO.

    B-boys of the world unite. This rulin’ goin’ down!

  18. So I guess Les Nessman WAS right. Every rock-n-roller ought to send 10% of their royalties directly to Chuck Berry as compensation for ripping him off . . .

  19. Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart… all a bunch of crummy no-talent hoodlums who ripped off each other’s music.

  20. “I assume you avid bloggers wouldn’t mind me cutting and pasting entire passages from your best work without attribution and foisting them off on an unsuspecting public as my own work, hmmm?”

    Which is such an apt comparison. Imagine, someone in Iowa not knowing anything about hip hop and electroninc music!

  21. gee, you think?

    if only ed can explain how a sampler works, i’ll cut him some slack (there are legitimate criticisms of the puffy school of pay as you play)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.