The Law Regarding Sampling of Music
Music is a creative art form, which allows for sharing and re-interpretation of another artist’s work. You will have most likely heard a song that includes a very familiar beat, lyric, or melody. In the music industry, this is called sampling. A sampling of music is allowed and legal, as long as all proper steps have been taken and all of the parties agree to the sampling. This article will provide a brief overview of the process, but musicians looking to sample a piece of music are encouraged to speak with an experienced attorney regarding the specific legal process.
How Does Sampling Work?
A piece of music will have intellectual property law protections in place for two different aspects. First, the owner of the music itself, like the songwriter or person in charge of the composition, will have rights and as well as the owner of the master recording. In order to receive the sampling clearance, the artist will need to have the permission of both of these parties. The person who owns the music will be the producer or publisher, but the owner of the master recording can be another party, like the recording studio or sometimes the original artist. In order to receive the legal permissions of these owners, artists may be required to produce the final product including the sampling, specify which part of the original song will be sampled, and pay for any sampling fees. The fees can include upfront payments prior to the release of the song as well as any future payments following the release.
When Is Sampling Clearance Necessary?
An artist does not always need clearance when sampling. For example, if the artist is sampling for their own listening or to just play the recording for family and friends, then a sampling clearance probably is not necessary. However, if the artist plans to reproduce their new song and cater it to public consumption, then a sampling clearance will definitely be required. Otherwise, the artist may face copyright violations from one to multiple entities who own the original piece.