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Dr. Dre to pay $1.5 mil for "Illegal Sample" 871

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-isn't-over-yet dept.
jwlidtnet writes "According to MTV, Dr. Dre has lost a lawsuit filed over a presumably-uncleared sample on his last album (Dre still hopes to appeal). This is certainly not the first time that something like this has happened: in the mid-nineties, British band The Verve were forced to pay all royalties from their song Bittersweet Symphony (*and* alter song credits) after Allen Klein--who owns the rights to the 1960's Stones catalogue--discovered that the song used a sample from an orchestral recording of "The Last Time." Thing is, though, that many groups believe that such lawsuits shouldn't occur except in the most blatant circumstances; among these groups, Musicians Against the Copyrighting of Samples and the group Negativland are perhaps the most outspoken. Should samples be protected by copyright, or should artists/musicians have the right to manipulate the old into the new?"
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Dr. Dre to pay $1.5 mil for "Illegal Sample"

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  • by Mooset (9986) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @01:58PM (#5912308)
    Remember kids, musicians don't steal. They SAMPLE!
    • by Scoria (264473) *
      Upon reading that Dr. Dre was instructed to "pay $1.5 million for an 'illegal sample,'" I was beginning to anticipate something entirely different than a story regarding lawsuits related to intellectual property. :-)
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      Well, this is an interesting topic...I've often said I didn't consider much of today's music, especially rap to be very artistic or creative. I mean, if given the equipment where "I" could put together a song with parts sampled from other's works, with only a few new rhymes thrown on top...it could not possibly be ART.

      However, given that, the Stones, whose song was sampled in this suit...were some of the biggest thieves in their day...by their own admission. Keith admits to 'lifting' riffs here and there a

      • by H310iSe (249662) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:23PM (#5912597)
        "I don't see any creativity in this..."
        Then you haven't listened. Hip-hop was the successor to jazz and rock as a new, vital, interesting music form. Once. Listen to the first Tribe Called Quest album (for one). Just because people make sounds from a clarinet or guitar instead of from a tape doesn't matter, what matters is the end product is different from the original in a significant way. You are making arbitrary judgements - why is replaying a lick you heard someone else play on a guitar different from reprocessing sounds recorded elsewhere into new sounds? They're not stealing, they're building, and that's the heart of creativity, building on the works of others.

        • by Beautyon (214567) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:55PM (#5912980) Homepage
          Hip-hop was

          Past tense; so what is Hip-Hop now?

          And on topic, we will never again see a legal release like "Paul's Boutique" because it costs too much to clear the samples. But there only needs to be one.
          • by blincoln (592401)
            we will never again see a legal release like "Paul's Boutique" because it costs too much to clear the samples. But there only needs to be one.

            It's not just "Paul's Boutique." It's the entire Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly catalogues. It's Plunderphonics, Negativland, Mentallo and the Fixer, and :Wumpscut:.

            Half of the albums I love would never have been released in the current climate regarding samples. Ironically, their use in that music is what prompted me to find and buy a bunch of the sources -
      • by j-turkey (187775)

        Well, this is an interesting topic...I've often said I didn't consider much of today's music, especially rap to be very artistic or creative. I mean, if given the equipment where "I" could put together a song with parts sampled from other's works, with only a few new rhymes thrown on top...it could not possibly be ART.

        Not to get into a long discussion over this, but this is a little shortsighted. These are tiny samples -- nobody it ripping off an entire sone here. Sure there's mixing involved -- but

      • A couple of things;

        Rap is not equal to hip hop, which I think you're really talking about. Rap is just another way of expressing yourself vocally.

        And secondly, while a lot of hip hop are pure trash, there are some very interesting things out there. They just won't be played on MTV any time soon.

        If you're interested in learning something, then search for and download stuff by these fine people:

        Antipop Consortium
        Rae and Christian
        Prefuse 73
        Aim
        El-P
        Boards Of Canada
        Rjd2
        The Majesticons
        Massive Attack
        Bo

        • by geekoid (135745)
          "Rap is not equal to hip hop, which I think you're really talking about. Rap is just another way of expressing yourself vocally."

          to the average person, thats lik saying:
          "Hacking is not equal to cracking..."

          there both the same to anyone outside the 'scene'.

          BTW nice list, theres a couple I haven't heard, I think i'll try to find a copy to borrow and see if its worth having my own copy.
      • by dietz (553239) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @04:07PM (#5913739)
        As I see it, there are two ways to sample:

        The first is, for example, the rampant sampling of Parliment by Dr. Dre. He's taking it because it's a funky beat and he wants to use it.

        But then there's the way "found sound" artists like Negativland do it. They're stealing samples because of their CULTURAL significance and not just because it's some funky beat. For example, their recent album Dispepsi used samples from Pepsi ads (among other places) to make points about corporate greed, etc.

        In these cases, the fact that it is a sample is the WHOLE POINT. Even if you could recreate the sample, it wouldn't be useful anymore at that point.

        Should Dr. Dre have to pay for his samples? It's up to debate, obviously. Should Negativland? I'd argue that what Negativland does is the very thing that Fair Use was set up for. I'd say no way.
    • by TopShelf (92521) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:14PM (#5912507) Homepage Journal
      That's a great point - if anything, musicians who sample and don't give credit are slam-dunk violaters of copyright as opposed to simple file-swapping listeners. Musicians who sample are deliberately using copyrighted material in the pursuit of financial gain, as opposed to the listeners who have no such interest...

      Bottom line: learn to play your own damn instruments!

      • by crawling_chaos (23007) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:23PM (#5912595) Homepage
        Musicians who sample are deliberately using copyrighted material in the pursuit of financial gain, as opposed to the listeners who have no such interest...

        Maybe I'm being slow, but it seems like getting a song I would normally have to pay for for free is is a financial gain. I have the song to listen to, plus I still have the cash. This strikes me more as the difference between someone who steals a trade secret to produce a new product and a common shoplifter.

        • by zurab (188064)
          Maybe I'm being slow, but it seems like getting a song I would normally have to pay for for free is is a financial gain. I have the song to listen to, plus I still have the cash. This strikes me more as the difference between someone who steals a trade secret to produce a new product and a common shoplifter.

          I think you are slow, because while getting music for free instead of paying for it would obviously leave you with more cash, financial gain in this case is not your primary purpose. The primary purpos
      • by elmegil (12001) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#5912679) Homepage Journal
        Bottom line: learn to play your own damn instruments!

        If you think sampling is used in place of playing instruments more than 10% of the time, you're not paying any attention. There are SO many things that can be done with sampling and scratching that can't be done with "instruments" under any circumstances. To simply say "don't do those things" is about as short sighted as saying that the RIAA's distribution model is the only one that ought to ever be.

      • by BlueLines (24753) <slashdot.divisionbyzero@com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:56PM (#5913002) Homepage
        erm, did you bother to read the article?


        Dre testified that before hiring a musician to play a bassline from the Fatback Band's 1980 song "Backstrokin'" for his 2001 track "Let's Get High," he consulted a musicologist who said the riff was commonplace.


        so this isn't an issue with a sample, but rather with a riff. and this is murkier ground. Note that Dre even hired a musicologist before he used the bassline. In my mind, he did the right thing, but got screwed anyway.

        -BlueLines

      • by gosand (234100) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @03:00PM (#5913052)
        That's a great point - if anything, musicians who sample and don't give credit are slam-dunk violaters of copyright as opposed to simple file-swapping listeners. Musicians who sample are deliberately using copyrighted material in the pursuit of financial gain, as opposed to the listeners who have no such interest...
        Bottom line: learn to play your own damn instruments!

        You are right up to your bottom line. It has nothing to do with playing your own instruments, it has to do with giving credit. You sample someone else's work, give them credit.

        And for the record, Dre hired someone to play the riff, he didn't just lift the sample. RTFA, it is right there. Besides, sampling can be simply done, or in very creative ways. In ways, it may take more skill to resample something creatively than just replay someone else's riff. Musicians are always influenced by other musicians, and therefore may pick up riffs and techniques. Sampling is just another way of doing it. Sure, it can be blatant and a simple ripoff (Puff Daddy) or it can be inventive (Beastie Boys).

        The real bottom line: give credit where credit is due.

    • Re:Right back at ya (Score:2, Interesting)

      by H310iSe (249662)
      Seriously Sampling is totally legit - any time you take an existing art and modify it 'significantly' (say, by using a small sample in a larger work, maybe modifying the sample as well) it should never, ever be infringement. Period. Everything comes from something else, to deny that is to deny creativity. I mean, standing on the shoulders of giants and all...

      Look at clothing - Gucci comes out with a new shoe and the next week a dozen factories in Brazil are cranking out similar, but not identical, shoes
  • Samples (Score:2, Insightful)

    by black mariah (654971)
    If the sample is recognisable as a major part of another song, it should have to be cleared for use by the artist. Simple as that.
    • Re:Samples (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phat_joe23 (244916) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:12PM (#5912497) Homepage
      It's definitely not that simple. dudev("That's just, like, your opinion, man.");

      According to the Fair Use doctrine, I can sample your music withour permission. For instance, I could make a parody or social criticism using your music.

      And even if your sample is recognizable, it is still possible, artistically, to use it in a completely new way.

      /joe
    • by Bananenrepublik (49759) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:15PM (#5912522)
      OK. But there was no sample. It was a replayed bass line. Now, if they had made up a bassline of their own, and someone found a song which played the same six notes, could they sue as well?

      BTW do you mean a major part of the sampling song or of the sampled song? Eg, if you sample some half-second odd noise which has no place in the original recording, and build a song around it, should you have to pay?
      • OK. But there was no sample. It was a replayed bass line.

        There are 2 types of copyright here : One, the copyright of the song itself (picture sheet music, lyrics), and the copyright of the recording.

        If you have a CD of Mozart's 'Jupiter' Symphony, the copyright of the music has long-since expired (They didn't have Disney back then), but the particular recording you're listening to is copyrighted. In such a case, you couldn't sample the recording without permission, but you could certainly play it yours
      • by hondo77 (324058) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:36PM (#5912749) Homepage

        Now, if they had made up a bassline of their own, and someone found a song which played the same six notes, could they sue as well?

        Ask Vanilla Ice and he will tell you that the answer is "Yes".

      • by alexo (9335) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:37PM (#5912762) Journal
        OK. But there was no sample. It was a replayed bass line. Now, if they had made up a bassline of their own, and someone found a song which played the same six notes, could they sue as well?
        Actually, four notes [everything2.com] are enough.
        • IMO that ruling is absolutely ridiculous.

          There are only a limited number of note combinations possible, and of those a smaller set are msuically harmonic ("pleasant to the ear"). *ANY* selection of notes smaller than an entire work will, eventually, be repeated elsewhere and thus defining what constitutes the integral piece of "creativity" naturally limits creativity. Ignoring music theory constraints (eg. change in key, note length, scale harmonics) there are just under 60 million 4-note combinations pl
    • Re:Samples (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Telastyn (206146) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:23PM (#5912600)
      It doesn't *need* cleared, espeically in the case of parody and the such. If used seriously it pretty much still falls under copyright. Hell, at the very least the original artist should be given credit.

      In written word, it's considered a serious offense if, say a poem, or even a snippet of a poem, is republished as part of a larger work without credit given to the original author. Why should a (recorded) bassline be different than a poem in regards to copyright?
    • Re:Samples (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gripdamage (529664) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:30PM (#5912684)
      If the sample is recognisable as a major part of another song, it should have to be cleared for use by the artist. Simple as that.

      Well thank God someone's solved that problem. Now why don't you take on world hunger or the environment.

      Trouble with your reductionalist BS is that you can take sounds from other tracks and arrange them in a sufficently creative way to create a new original work. Take Negativland's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" : it contains a recognizable sample from U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" but is obviously an original work which is critical of the record industry establishment. While I recognize the sample, I can't find the ideas represented in the original work of U2, nor do I recognize the overall song structure. Something has obviously been created.

      IMHO this is not what Puffy does for instance; Puffy essentially steals all the music from a song and sets different lyrics to it... like Wierd Al.

      Copyright has been totally perverted and sampling is a casualty as much as anything else.
      • Re:Samples (Score:3, Informative)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        Take Negativland's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" : it contains a recognizable sample from U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" but is obviously an original work which is critical of the record industry establishment. While I recognize the sample, I can't find the ideas represented in the original work of U2, nor do I recognize the overall song structure. Something has obviously been created.

        And that "something" has a name, and its name is "a derivative work".

        Puffy essentially
  • Copyright (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Evil Adrian (253301) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:00PM (#5912325) Homepage
    Once the copyright expires, you can do what you want with it. Isn't that the way derivative works work?

    Samples ARE protected by copyright. In this case it doesn't fall into parody or critique, so why are you asking one of the silliest questions I've ever read in my life?

    Google yields answers in abundance, you don't need to ask slashdot readers for every silly little thing. ::takes a happy pill::

    OK I'm better now.
    • Re:Copyright (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gurps_npc (621217)
      But copyrights NEVER expire. Oh, they SAY that copyrights expire, but everytime it gets close to their expiration date, Congress pushes through a new law extending it (Has happened several times in the U.S.)

      Copyrights originally were supposed to be 20 years. That would mean anything written in the 60's and 70's should be fair game now. But they extended everything.

      • actually, i thought it was 14 years + one 14 year extension. at least that's what oriley is doing with most of their books, putting them into public domain after either 14 or 28 years (depending on author's wishes).

        you're right, we'll never see any thing from this or last century enter into the public domain during our lifetime.
      • Re:Copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:16PM (#5912526) Homepage
        Actually originally fourteen years with an extention to twenty eight if you filed for it.

        Filing for copyright extentions is actually a fairly reasonable thing - as long as there is an upper limit. That way if you want to preserve your copyright you have to keep paying (presumably more) to keep the work out of the public domain. In theory it would ensure that only works of substantive value to the copyright holder kept their copyright while the vast majority of works fell into the public domain.

        Yeah, you can make an argument that it only really helps corporations, but if an individual author feels that the work has value either in current form or in derivative form (say, a movie or game about a book) then they could continue renewing copyright. Toss in some rules about different cost structures for individual vs corporate filings, a penalty for assignation of copyright from personal to corporate status, etc. and you might just start getting things back on the right track.
    • Re:Copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:09PM (#5912452) Homepage
      So any sample is a derivative work?

      How short is a sample? What if I recreate the notes on my own instead of actually using a sample? Is that still covered by copyright?

      In actuality there have been court rulings on all of the above - and the answer is 4 notes, doesn't matter, and yes. Which leads to something like an absurdly small number of harmonies available (~96k? I don't recall, but it's silly) before everything is copyrighted. Odds are, if you write a song now, you've violated someone else's copyright.

      Perhaps the real question is whether or not the sample is a substantive portion of the song -- if so then it's probably a derivative work. Otherwise it's not. What the hell is a substantive portion? It's just like the legal definition of pornography - I'll know it when I hear it. There are shades of grey, not everything is black and white, and not everything should be, otherwise you paint yourself into silly little corners and do more harm than good.

      Remember, just because the answers are out there - be it on Google, in the court system, or public opinion - doesn't mean that they're the right ones. Ask any minority group (not just blacks) in the Southeastern US prior to 1960.
      • I think that when you are taking recorded audio directly from another source, and you are incorporating it into your own work, you should realize that you are stealing.

        Like, how retarded ARE you to not figure that out?

        It's not YOUR audio, it's someone else's.

        DUH.
    • And, if you read the article, you would have noticed that the song that was sampled was only 21 years old in 2001. Hardly expired since the copyright time period was extended.

      And ya know, sometimes it's more fun to have an actual discussion about stuff than to just surf websites about a topic.
  • by Repugnant_Shit (263651) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:01PM (#5912337)
    If I'm going to get in trouble because I legally encode CDs into Ogg/MP3, then why shouldn't an artist get in trouble for actually profiting off someone else's work? I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but the law should apply to everyone.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:01PM (#5912343) Homepage
    Should samples be protected by copyright, or should artists/musicians have the right to manipulate the old into the new?"

    I say let their own crap bite them in the ass like this.

    It's only proof that the copyright laws have been perverted to the point that they cause more problems than the apparent protection they give.

    too bad, Dr. dre.... being bit by your own is the only way to get you to wake up.
  • by Quarters (18322) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#5912353)
    If artists get huffy and litigous when someone composes a ring-tone of a section of one of their songs then they shouldn't be suprised when they get busted for doing essentially the same thing. Samples are derivative works and are part of the copyrighted original work. Stealing isn't legal if you don't take everything.
  • i heard the Stones song mentioned, and thought:

    "Damn, thats almost The Verve"

    It was kinda obvious. btw Metallica should be sued for copying David Bowie's "Andy Warhol" on "Master of Puppets"(the song)

  • What's it say... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by allism (457899) <alice@harrison.gmail@com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#5912357) Journal
    What's it say that Dr. Dre felt the need to consult a musicologist before ripping off the little guy? He obviously felt that there was something to be concerned about, so he shouldn't be surprised that he got his pants sued off.
  • by hrieke (126185) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#5912358) Homepage
    If they want to stamp out my rights to fair use and move to a pay per use, then they should paid as well for the use of other's work in the creation of their "art".
  • So they have lobbying to say that users who "sample" are thieves, and they have lobbying to say that musicians who "sample" are being victimized?

    Sign me up for this double standard!
  • The Human Factor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sloppy (14984) * on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:02PM (#5912362) Homepage Journal
    In 1991, Metal Church wrote a very catchy song about their opinion on this. I think I'll reproduce it here, totally without permission. You can then debate how self-referentially hypocritical it is for me to do that.

    The Human Factor

    by Kurdt Vanderhoof / Mike Howe

    I just can't believe my ears, some music out these days
    The human factor has diminished, in oh so many ways
    Fancy footwork gets top bill and I'll put on such a show
    One more MIDI cable and my band is ready to go
    One more moneymaker and I'm set for life
    Stealing from others will make my future bright

    One, make some money
    Two, overexpose
    Sincerity is felt much more when the human factor shows
    When the human factor shows

    I just need a sample cause no one says it's wrong
    It's so easy to rip-off using someone else's songs
    Everybody wants to be a star in modern days
    But if I don't have talent then I'll just get by this way
    Changing programs faster than I dare to say
    Musicians all make mistakes who needs them anyway?

    One, make some money
    Two, overexpose
    Sincerity is felt much more when the human factor shows
    When the human factor shows

    I just heard a song today I think I'll use a part
    Incorporate it my own way and that is just the start
    I'll change the lyrics that they wrote to satisfy my needs
    I wrote the book. Two easy steps. "How to succeed."
    [snip]

    Metal Church... ah, what a great band that was.
  • Not all bad (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If these rulings mean we don't have to hear "Bittersweet Symphony" ever again, you must admit that this is a benefit.
  • If its a BSD style licence, then there's no problem.

    If its GPL, then Dre has just incurred the wrath of RMS...

    "Dr Dre vs RMS"

    is that the name of the lawsuit or the title of the track?

  • Irony, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phaln (579585) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:03PM (#5912371) Homepage
    This is irony at its finest, people. So many artists don't want you to get MP3s for free, yet they have no qualms crying out for free samples. Of course, this excludes those groups that don't much mind the MP3 "revolution". Keep on rockin' in the free world, yo. But, for the others, that takes a brass set of cojones.
  • Should samples be protected by copyright, or should artists/musicians have the right to manipulate the old into the new?

    If the song is copyrighted, why should little pieces of the song not be? If you can't come up with your own ideas, get out of the music business.
  • If you're excerpting a very small part of another work and using it in a work that is substantially of your own creation, isn't that the point of fair use? Isn't this somewhat similar to quoting a line from a book in your own book?
  • Rapper scratch ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:08PM (#5912422)
    When rappers scratch, they move the LP back and forth. So, what happens during the backward stroke, when the record is played backward ? does Minder Music pay Dr. Dre ? if the record is scratch slowly, does Dr. Dre pays Minder Music slowly, by installments ?

    Seriously though, this music copyright business is seriously messed up. I wonder if African tribes and australian Aboriginas realize they're sitting on a gold mine, that they should start collecting on their millenia-old drum "samples" copyrights.
  • they = 30 second samples should not be copyrightable either.

    (ever notice how the cheap movies never play more than 30 seconds of a song
  • by L-Train8 (70991) <Matthew_Hawk.hotmail@com> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:09PM (#5912446) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the Verve was that they copied the Stones' song completely, slowing down the tempo a bit. Dr. Dre copied a short riff from a song by the Fatback Band. Experts at the trial said that the riff in question is common in a lot of music, and not unique to the Fatback Band song.

    In neither case was the music actually sampled, that is, a bit of the original recording used in the new music. While that technique was commonplace in the 80's in rap music, it occurs a lot less frequently today. After some litigation, most notably Gilbert O'Sullivan's lawsuit against Biz Markie, ended unlicensed sampling, most artists started to re-record bits of songs to mix into their raps. The amount of music re-recorded is not enough to infringe on the copyright of the original music, and since it isn't an actual sample of the original recording, it doesen't infringe on that copyright either.

    As for the issue of whether sampling should be legal, I say yes. Check out the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique to hear sampling as an art form at it's peak.
    • by miTTio (24893) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:40PM (#5912808)
      For that matter, check out Dj Shadow.

      His first album: Entroducing, if i recall correctly was entirely made from samples.

    • The problem with the Verve was that they copied the Stones' song completely, slowing down the tempo a bit.

      Um. No. The Verve recording took only 4 notes from the stones song, and none of the lyrics!

      If you listen to it, there's 4 notes that start at the beginning and they continue to loop underneath for the entire song. That's the 4 notes that they stole. Actually they didn't steal, they told the Stones that they wanted to use those notes they said ok, and the Stones more or less reneged on the deal when

  • Simple answer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stanmann (602645)
    The answer is really very simple. If an artist uses a sample, then they should be obligated to pay royalties. That is how the law is written today. Now, perhaps that should change. But why?
    So that people who can't play instruments can "borrow" other artists work
    I don't think that is a good plan.

    Here is a better plan. Fix copyright back to 70-100 years Max.

    OTOH, if two artist independantly develop the same riff, then both are free to use it, However if there is a significant gap between the
  • IMHO copyright applies if the sample is recognizable and non-trivial. i.e.

    - If you use a verse, or even a couple bars, from "Sergant Pepper", pay up - to Michael Jackson. B-) If you use half a track to go "veep-a-veep-a-veep" for your percussion, who cares if it's from Sergant Pepper, A Night at the Opera, or Behtoven's fifth? (But why didn't you just use one that's in the public domain by now anyhow.)

    - If you play a couple bars backward, fair use. If you play a track backward, pay up.

    - If you
  • I think it requires... wait for it... judgement. That's right. Judges will actually have to judge.

    What's are the general guidelines for judgement? I think there should be 3 classes of works as far as sampling is concerned. Class 1: The samples are more like notes, it's difficult to tell where they came from, or even if you can tell where they came from the resulting composition is a totally new work. Sampling artist keeps all royalties. Class 2: extensive use of sampling to the point where you hav

  • by nagora (177841) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:10PM (#5912468)
    Those were Dr Dre's words to Greg Palast (as reported in "The Best Democracy Moeny Can Buy") when asked about his suing of Napster to pay for infringing on his "intellectual property rights".

    I DO hope the Doctor is enjoying his own medicine.

    TWW

  • But allow all sampling, however great.

    Royalty amount: Song is 5 minutes, sample is one minute long, 1/5 of profit is royalty payment.

    You can always sign a contract to sell it for less, but this means that anyone can sample anything but they have to pay. Also any length sample should be credited if desired by the owner.

  • It was not a sample. (Score:5, Informative)

    by eples (239989) * on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:11PM (#5912475)
    From MTV's article:
    "Dre testified that before hiring a musician to play a bassline from the Fatback Band's 1980 song "Backstrokin'" for his 2001 track "Let's Get High," he consulted a musicologist who said the riff was commonplace.

    He had another musician play some notes - it wasn't a sample from a copyrighted work. Surely there is a difference.


  • That's $150,000 per song [slashdot.org] times 6 million [rollingstone.com] copies for a total of $900,000,000,000 ?
  • Hopefully there courts will finally give some guidance on this.

    The ironic thing about this is that when sampling started becoming popular and people did it very heavily, the result was much more creative and interesting than it is now.

    Then you would take sounds from loads of sources and slap them all together. Now you just find a catchy riff, go talk to their lawyers, an let some talentless hack mutter something over it.

    I'm afraid though, that the music industry has foisted such a restricted idea of fair
  • Should samples be protected by copyright? As long as copyright law and the DMCA exist in their current form, Hell yes! Many uses of copyrighted material appear "fair" but are prohibited by current US and international law. Just because one of those uses is especially lucrative (read: desired by the masses enough to pay for it) doesn't mean we should ask that enforcement be relaxed for that use. In fact, quite the opposite.

    If you believe fair use should be broader than it currently is, then this is your

  • by DJTodd242 (560481)
    Well, I listen to "Industrial" music, where sampling is a major part of the music. Taking a quick sound bite from a movie, or the like is a far cry from building "your" song around a looped bit of music from the Rolling Stones (The Verve), David Bowie (Vanilla Ice) or any band on the planet (P. Diddy).

    However, there are cases even withing the small genre of EBM/Industrial where the artists got a little sample happy. KMFDM had to re-release thier album NAIVE due to not clearing a huge sample from Carl Orff'
  • This is a rare case. (Score:5, Informative)

    by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25@cfl.rr.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:17PM (#5912539) Homepage Journal
    Since the late 80's most rappers and their respective producers normally go out of their way to make sure that all samples are cleared by the copyright holders. In the 80's Biz Markie used some samples and was sued, so since then rappers have been more careful. Of course there are always idiots who try to get away with it, like "Ice Ice Baby", sampling "Under Pressure" In most cases the copyright holders have no problem with rappers using their samples if the money is right. Dr. Dre has been using samples his whole career, so it's strange that he would get caught using a sample without proper permissions.
  • Live By The Sword (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:21PM (#5912584) Homepage
    Should samples be protected by copyright, or should artists/musicians have the right to manipulate the old into the new?

    You're goddamm skippy they should be. If they want music to enter the public domain, let them fight the psychotic duration of copyright.
  • by The Benjamin (558857) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:24PM (#5912604)

    Consider this: It's been standard practice in jazz soloing for just about ever to cleverly quote melodies of other tunes.

    Or how about this: Both Beethoven in the Diabelli Variations and Bach in the Goldberg Variations devote a variation to quoting a tune written by another.

    But if we going to focus simply on commerce, than let's consider this case: Dido release an album. No one cares. Then Eminem uses a sample from her album in his song "Stan" which is a huge hit. Suddenly people are interested in Dido. The song the sample came from is all over MTV. Now I ask: should Eminem have paid to clear the sample, or should Dido have paid for all the free exposure?

    Recontextualizing as a creative act has been around for ever. Using old ideas to make new ideas is at the very heart of creativity.

  • by bedouin (248624) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:31PM (#5912698)
    This is a quote from a song by Stetsaonic, around '88 or '89, I don't remember:

    'Tell the truth, James Brown was old / Until Eric B. and Rakim Made 'I Know You Got Soul."

    And sure enough, I bought the James Brown box set a couple years later. Any interest I had in Jazz music started from hearing different producers sample the Blue Note library, and from then on I just started buying records by artists that had been sampled, hoping to find something interesting.

    The point is, a lot of these musicians who are being sampled have been washed up for years (case in point, Gilbert O'Sullivan who sued Biz Markie for sampling "Alone Again (Naturally)".) Yet, after Biz sampled that record I went and found the 45 to hear it. If it weren't for Dre sampling that record nobody in the US would've heard it to begin with. Do you think the whole resurgence of P-Funk amongst white teenagers/college students would've happened if it weren't for Dre sampling so many Funkedelic and Parliament tracks?
  • by ausoleil (322752) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:37PM (#5912761) Homepage
    If a work is copyrighted, generally the implication is that the whole and all parts therein are, indeed, copyrighted performances.

    A musician cannot copyright a note or a chord, for example, the chords D / A / G are used in succession in many songs. "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" by Bachman Turner Overdrive are among them. However, a musician CAN copyright the exact performance of his/her playing those chords. That' to my thinking, is a sample.

    Now then, take it further. I can't copyright a word. Forget getting the rights to the word "guitar" just to name one of about 300,000 in the English language. But I can copyright a string of words -- like "MY guitar gently weeps" and then sue the pants off if you stick them in your song. Of course, "My guitar gently weeps" were George Harrison's words, ironically the same guy sued for plagiarism in his song "My Sweet Lord." Go figure.

    To add to the confusion, add public domain performances, and public domain literature. Rush uses direct quotes from S.T. Coleridge in their song "Xanadu." They cannot copyright them, they are public domain. But, in the song, there is a point where the words are an original set of lyrics by Neil Peart and you can bet your bottom Canadian dollar that those are as copyrighted as it gets. Moby uses public domain performances to great effect, indeed, generating new songs from antique recordings. They're his and our to harvest.

    So, at the end of the day, if Dre used someone else's work without permission and rights clearances, he's guilty and should pay up. If the law is wrong, then work to change it. But if you were the guy he sampled and din't pay, you'd be mighty p/o'd and go get a lawyer.

    It's all grey.
  • by aphor (99965) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:43PM (#5912830) Journal

    MTV did a "Rockumentary" years ago about The Who [amazon.com], wherein Pete Townshend, the guitar legend did utter "Every musician is a magpie and a thief." and then explained that music and "hooks" or riffs are like expressions in a language. You can come up with something completely original, only to hear a song on the radio later and think "Oh, that's where that came from!" It's impossible NOT to use "samples" of other people's creativity. There's a finite number of chord changes on a guitar, for example. Most of them sound bad. There are few sweet ones left. Rythm is the only degree of freedom left, and it still leaves a finite set.

  • If I sample a 3 second piece of music, there should be no royalties to be paid. The attitude that there should be is destroying rap music. Making it very difficult for new artists to make it in that business. The creativity of rap in the 80s was outstanding and blooming. Then the lawsuits started and new artisit we're stifled.
    This suit in particular should have been laughed out of court. It was just 6 bass notes. The artist just blended these note to create something new.

    Copyright is supposed to be a balance, a lmied time balance at that. For any community to grow, it is imperitve that there is no strangle hold on who controls art.
    Sure, if I try to release someelse complete work as my own, thats wrong, or if I change a song and say it was an originall thats wrong. but taking a sample it not wrong, its neccessary for the growth of a community.

    try to remeber, this case involves a repper, but it is bigger then rap music, so try not to let your personal taste for the particular genre taint how you react.
    Personally, I don't judge music by genre, I only judge whether or not I like a piece of music on the singkle piece of music.
  • What is Jazz? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ruzel (216220) * on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:55PM (#5912981) Homepage
    Jazz as an artform made itself from sampling -- only to them it is called quoting. You play a few notes from somebody else's tune, or the main melody only to mess with it -- and that's the objective! -- to take someone else's idea and create something new with it. In art and writing, this is called allusion. In science it is called citing and in code it's called open source. I put all of these items in scare quotes because when it comes down to it, they are all borrowing and none of them are piracy.

    Whoever it is that thinks ideas just spring from the firmament wholly formed and uninfluenced is in dire need of a reality check or at least a trip to Disney World to play a round of spot-the-original-idea. Art springs from human life and human life is made up of a lot of art. To continue to enforce these draconian laws in the name of money will be at the cost of art and culture.

    Considering how many people watch "The Bachelor" and "Fear Factor" though, maybe my point is moot. The memepool is getting damn shallow.
    ____________________
  • by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @02:55PM (#5912983) Homepage Journal
    Well whenever you sample something, it's polite to ask the owner of the music whether it's ok to do so. Without proper references or approval, you'd be plagiarizing their work.

    Some bands, like "The Avalanches" have done same really skillful, clever, and artistic sampling to make some great, thoughtful songs.

    Other bands have simply taken some riff from another popular song, and used that riff's catchyness to make their own crappy song sound catchy.

    Now, I'd be pretty pissed off if I spent 25 years mastering the guitar in order to write and perform some amazing riff and used it to make a really popular song, only to have some other musician at his computer take a "sample" of the best part of the riff and use it in his own song. That riff, whenever you hear it, will remind you of my hit song; and I may not want to be associated with the crappy song that the other musician wrote. Essentially, one artist tries to steal another artist's glory.

    For example, one thing that made U2 so popular is Bono's distinctive voice. He worked long and hard to be able to find a sound that people would want to listen to. So why should another artist be able to take a "sample" of him singing a famous line, paste it into his own song, and then sell it ???

    Especially when an artist samples a riff from another genre, then uses it in a song which appeals to a market that wouldn't know it was a sample. You know Will Smith's song, "Men in Black"? The whole thing is a remake and rewording of an older song (someone pleeeease help me identify it). All he did was put on a drumbeat and put in some new words. So why does he earn millions for it?

    There's nothing so amazing about taking a drum track and using Windows Sound Recorder to mix in the best parts of someone else's song. But, as long as you have the other artist's approval, there's no problem with it.

    Personally I'm not a fan of "Come with me", Puff Daddy+Jimmy Page's remake of Led Zepplin's song "Cashmere", but at least it had the original Artist's approval.
  • by LeoDV (653216) on Thursday May 08, 2003 @05:02PM (#5914247) Journal
    I always thought that if I was a musician, all my music would be GPL: you could get tabs, scores, MP3s, in short the music and everything that went into it online, since it's going to be there anyway.

    But I also thought that since it would be GPL, any person sampling my music would have to make it GPL, right? So if an artist who samples one of my songs just uses normal copyright, I should sue him till he makes it GPL? The idea being that people wil want to sample *his* song and make it GPL, and so forth.

    Of course, the implications of this are immense (how could GPL apply to music, etc. etc.), but it's just something I thought of and I feel it should be brought here. Hell, maybe an Ask /.?

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