The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Sampling is against copyright?
Old 16th October 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
Sampling is against copyright?

Hello

I know, stupid question, but actually many people told me different things about that, so I'd like to know if Sampling from a record, movie, and so on, is against copyright laws

I know it's silly because if it was, probably half of the last 20/30 years records couldn't be released, but I just need a bit of clarification about that

Thanks
Old 16th October 2011
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
Hello

I know, stupid question, but actually many people told me different things about that, so I'd like to know if Sampling from a record, movie, and so on, is against copyright laws
Yes.
It's 100% against copyright regulations unless you seek permission to use the sample from the owner of the music or movie.
Almost all the records of the last 20/30 years that used samples, cleared those samples with the original owner.
An exclusion are short, unrecognisable samples, like individual drum sounds, a single snare, or bass drum hit for example. As long as they aren't obviously from a certain record.
Old 16th October 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Yes.
It's 100% against copyright regulations unless you seek permission to use the sample from the owner of the music or movie.
Almost all the records of the last 20/30 years that used samples, cleared those samples with the original owner.
An exclusion are short, unrecognisable samples, like individual drum sounds, a single snare, or bass drum hit for example. As long as they aren't obviously from a certain record.
Ok, I was talking mainly about drums hit and similar stuff..

So, how an amateur band should do? Often people ask me if they can or not, consider I'm talking about amateur bands which don't sell many records.. mainly from concerts etc... if they are inspired by some sounds, parts from movies, and they create a song which contain some of these parts, I don't know fragments of movies dialogue or few beat of a song (reversed, then processed)

Which is the right way to do this considering they are not popular so they are not able to ask the permission to use it, but if they can't let people listen to their music they will never have a chance to be popular nor they will be able to ask for the permission

I don't know if you understand what am I saying
Old 16th October 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

Sampling is against copyright?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan

Ok, I was talking mainly about drums hit and similar stuff..

So, how an amateur band should do? Often people ask me if they can or not, consider I'm talking about amateur bands which don't sell many records.. mainly from concerts etc... if they are inspired by some sounds, parts from movies, and they create a song which contain some of these parts, I don't know fragments of movies dialogue or few beat of a song (reversed, then processed)

Which is the right way to do this considering they are not popular so they are not able to ask the permission to use it, but if they can't let people listen to their music they will never have a chance to be popular nor they will be able to ask for the permission

I don't know if you understand what am I saying
Just don't release a recording of it. If you ever get noticed, you'll probably be popular enough to afford the clearance. Go for it. But it is "naughty".
Old 16th October 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
Which is the right way to do this considering they are not popular so they are not able to ask the permission to use it, but if they can't let people listen to their music they will never have a chance to be popular nor they will be able to ask for the permission

I don't know if you understand what am I saying
I completely understand what you are saying but the facts are pretty clear:

- Sampling a recording without permission is illegal, period. Even if it's 'just' one or two bars of drums for example. ('Funky Drummer' anyone....)

- 'They' have a much bigger chance of success (relatively speaking of course) if they come up with something ORIGINAL. No legal permission and lawyers needed for that.

Like what Portishead did on their second album: They first played and recorded the drums and then had vinyl pressed of that so they could sample it. Now that's cool I think.
Old 16th October 2011
  #6
You could still be caught out by playing the samples live.
Single drum hits is ok.
Regarding movies, I would just get over it and forget the whole idea.
Samples from movies are a huge cliche anyway.

Regarding how other under paid bands manage, they buy copyright cleared sample CD's.
Old 17th October 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Regarding movies, I would just get over it and forget the whole idea.
Samples from movies are a huge cliche anyway.
Actually I've done a song using dialogue fragments to recreate totally another meaning and I like that one a lot :P I'd like to send it to some labels or sort of... the dialogue are not in original language, it is the dubbed part... but I don't think makes any difference

But most of the time I'd like to get a Gong, some hit of some strange instrument I can't find easily (also not processed with a real ambient :P)
Old 17th October 2011
  #8
Single hits, especially when reprocessed or used in a different context you can probably get away with.
The dialogue, whether randomly re-edited or in a foreign language will need to be cleared.
Old 17th October 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
But how much will the clearance cost? Just to have an idea...
Old 17th October 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
Hello

I know, stupid question, but actually many people told me different things about that, so I'd like to know if Sampling from a record, movie, and so on, is against copyright laws

I know it's silly because if it was, probably half of the last 20/30 years records couldn't be released, but I just need a bit of clarification about that

Thanks
depends what you do with it

jut take and try to use make money for sure a crime
but pay to license the rights and use them okay too

use it for education probably fair use and okay

use it for commentary as in a review and that is fine
lots of cases - see the copyright law for details
Old 17th October 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
But how much will the clearance cost? Just to have an idea...
there are sample clearance agencies that specialize in it, but there's also two parts of the sample to clear 1) the recording itself, and 2) the underlying composition (songwriting).
Old 17th October 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

You can always re-create the dialog with other people's voices mimicking the character of the original. I've done this on several occasions when I wanted to use snippets from documentaries but didn't want to hassle with clearance.

I've also heard movie dialog processed with vocoders and pitch shifters to the point that the it was unrecognizable, and if you can't tell where it came from, it's "legal".
Old 17th October 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
You also should be aware of the difference between plagiarism and using uncleared samples. A lot of songs are very obviously influenced by other songs that already existed and in certain cases it might become a legal issue if somebody decides to sue (Satriani vs. Coldplay would be a good example or George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord')

But that is a whole other issue than sampling where even an unauthorized usage of one drum hit could get you into serious trouble. Sampling isn't directly about the copyright of the song (though it can be) but rather about the copyright of the recording per se. No matter whether you sample part of a Van Halen solo or a barking dog.

OF COURSE it's being done all the time and once that samples are being filtered/time-strechted/cut-up it becomes almost impossible to prove their origin. But once a song becomes a hit, anything is possible.

The Verve's use of an uncleared sample on 'Bittersweet Symphony' is a good example of what can happen if you don't deal with the clearing process.
Old 19th October 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
The Verve's use of an uncleared sample on 'Bittersweet Symphony' is a good example of what can happen if you don't deal with the clearing process.
Yeah, I hear they didn't make a dime off that song..
Old 19th October 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
Thank you all!

If I recreate the dialogue the still can understand is coming from that movie... because some parts of the dialogue are not so long, but a couple of sentences

Oh what happened to Verve?
Old 19th October 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
ksandvik's Avatar
 

Make your own samples. It is easy.
Old 19th October 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post

Oh what happened to Verve?
'Bittersweet Symphony' contains a (uncleared) sample from an instrumental 60s recording by the 'Andrew Loog Oldham Ochestra'. Oldham at that time was the Rolling Stones manager.

The sample came from a version of the Jagger/Richards tune 'Out of time' (at least I think it was that tune). The catch now is that musically the sample doesn't have anything to do with the song per se (meaning the chords/melody/lyrics) copyrighted to Jagger/Richards) but rather it involved a section of the orchestral embellishement of said song. So you could say it's rather the arranger of the orchestral score that was being ripped off.

But legally the sample is part of the underlying composition so the Verve not only got sued for the unauthorized use of the sample but also infringement of a Jagger/Richards copyright.

In the end, the verdict was that ALL royalties from 'Bittersweet Symphoy' went to Jagger/Richards. And as you know the song was a huge hit.

Other than thinking that the arranger (whoever that was) should have gotten most of the money, it's hard for me to feel sorry fot The Verve. I mean, how stupid can you be? And especially so with anything regarding the Stones...
Old 19th October 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
ehhe

well I feel sorry for The Verve because probably they were too busy in that period (you know, promotion, tour, a bit of enjoying being a rockstar of the moment)

The problem is the staff, who was entitled in doing that kind of thing... that should have thought about it (I think, in a label there's the legal guy who is responsible about these things, unless was the same of the Stones and did the Stones interested because they paid him more :P)
Old 19th October 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
I dunno. Whoever was the producer probably should take responsability. It certainly isn't obvious where a rather obscure sample comes from (or even realizing that it is a sample to begin with) unless you point that out.

I suspect they just thought nobody would notice.
Old 19th October 2011
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
ehhe

well I feel sorry for The Verve because probably they were too busy in that period (you know, promotion, tour, a bit of enjoying being a rockstar of the moment)
Sorry, no way.
A record like that takes weeks, months to record, then months to make ready for release.
The issue of copyright clearance was well known at the time.
There are companies that clear samples for you. Also as you correctly point out, plenty of record company staff to do the leg work for you.
Basically - no excuses. they got found out and paid the heavy price!
Old 19th October 2011
  #21
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Just to clarify - Bittersweet Symphony was never an uncleared sample. What actually happened is the Stones agreed to 50% BUT when the record was a hit they sued for 100%. Now - they would NOT have gotten 100% but for one annoying fact.... when a case is brought you CAN bring forth an injunction banning all stockists from taking the record until the case is resolved.... imagine doing that as it's charging up the charts. The Stones have big lawyers.

The Stones made a deal for 50% and then went back on what they agreed.
Old 19th October 2011
  #22
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid360 View Post
Yeah, I hear they didn't make a dime off that song..
they made a FORTUNE off that song as it helped their album become a hit. Band strategies are, oblique!! heh
1
Share
Old 19th October 2011
  #23
Gear Addict
 
frawnchy's Avatar
 

Sampling is against copyright?

I thought they cleared the sample for the song, but not for the classical re-jig, and that's how they were caught out? At least, that's what I gathered from that other thread about it.
Either way, silly oversight, and they over-paid dearly.
Old 19th October 2011
  #24
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frawnchy View Post
I thought they cleared the sample for the song, but not for the classical re-jig, and that's how they were caught out? At least, that's what I gathered from that other thread about it.
Either way, silly oversight, and they over-paid dearly.
That's the thing. It wasn't an oversight. It was legally and properly cleared BUT the Stones lawyers successfully (and bogus'ly) argued that "too much of the sample" had been used. There are several music legal teams you just don't even bother crossing swords with... the Stones bunch is one of them.

The Verve did the right thing and just didn't bother arguing and accepted the 100%... it would have been too costly and it would have cost them their upcoming (and later huge selling) album.
Old 19th October 2011
  #25
Lives for gear
 
superwack's Avatar
I used to work in music supervision - the thing I remember of the Stone's suit was a "brilliant" legal move... they agreed to 50% but the contract stipulated the usage (some specific length) and the actual length the Verve used was different thus the band was in breech - theoretically...

check it out on Wikipedia

"Originally, The Verve had negotiated a licence to use a sample from the Oldham recording, but it was successfully argued that the Verve had used "too much" of the sample.[5] Despite having original lyrics, the music of "Bitter Sweet Symphony" is partially based on the Oldham track, which led to a lawsuit with ABKCO Records, Allen Klein's company that owns the rights to the Rolling Stones material of the 1960s. The matter was eventually settled, with copyright of the song reverting to Abkco and songwriting credits to Jagger and Richards."


Also, as another legal point, just because you reverse, effect, process, alter, speedup, slowdown, distort etc... you are STILL in violation. I have a friend who is an expert witness in many legal cases here in LA. Copyright holders hire him to try to reverse-engineer the alleged violation and if he can repeat it, get it to phase, etc. they sue... and win.


Of course, later Mick & Keith got in trouble for stealing K.D. Langs song "Constant Cravings" for their song "Anybody Seen my Baby?" and she now has songwriter credits and shares in the royalties!
Old 20th October 2011
  #26
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack View Post
Of course, later Mick & Keith got in trouble for stealing K.D. Langs song "Constant Cravings" for their song "Anybody Seen my Baby?" and she now has songwriter credits and shares in the royalties!
No, she had the credits from the moment the record was released. They were clever enough to clear that before they could get into legal trouble.
Old 20th October 2011
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack View Post
I used to work in music supervision - the thing I remember of the Stone's suit was a "brilliant" legal move... they agreed to 50% but the contract stipulated the usage (some specific length) and the actual length the Verve used was different thus the band was in breech - theoretically...
Then the agreement was breached, no 'theoretical' about it.
This goes to 'narcoman' too.
If you make an agreement, and follow the letter of the agreement, there is no going back. The Verve obviously weren't careful enough when negotiating the agreement.

I also generally disagree with the often repeated Wiki comment that the Verve song is 'partially' based on the Oldham sample.
It is the main hook and is repeated over and over from the beginning of the recording to the end. Take away the sample and what would you have left?
Old 20th October 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 

All of this should be fair warning to the OP!

Get your samples cleared, use them the exact way in which they were cleared, or Don't use the sample(s) at all!
Old 20th October 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 
superwack's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Then the agreement was breached, no 'theoretical' about it.
This goes to 'narcoman' too.
If you make an agreement, and follow the letter of the agreement, there is no going back. The Verve obviously weren't careful enough when negotiating the agreement.

I also generally disagree with the often repeated Wiki comment that the Verve song is 'partially' based on the Oldham sample.
It is the main hook and is repeated over and over from the beginning of the recording to the end. Take away the sample and what would you have left?
You are correct, I meant theoretically brilliant (to try to emphasize that i wasn't 100% for them doing it - even though it was within their rights)

My point overall is yours. Get permission, make an agreement, follow that agreement or you WILL be in trouble - and it will cost you WAY more time and money in the long run to do it (or try to) afterwards... IF you can do it. They may not be interested in you using their work and can make it so whatever work you've done incorporating their material is never heard/seen.

Don't allow yourself to be convinced that "nobody will know" or "you can't really tell that sample is from that song/movie, etc"... and don't use the excuse that you aren't a big act, don't have money, etc. Some sampling agreements, done up front, are for very little money (some are NOT).

What if you make a song in your basement then after years of struggling and working low-paying jobs, someone wants to use your song in a movie, commercial, etc. but can't get it cleared and you miss out on millions or they use it and you get sued (you usually have to sign an agreement saying you've cleared all the samples?) It would be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump