sample clearance

Discussions about anything related to samplers and sampling techniques.
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razorriley
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sample clearance

Post by razorriley » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:11 pm

basically, when do i need to worry about sample clearance and how do i go about clearing samples.

also, i've read a few places that producers dont have to worry about the clearance, the artist that uses the song does.

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Post by shaft9000 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:09 am

Do what I do : sample yourself. No Worries! :lol:

then again....
I am no expert, I'm a composer. BUT I do know a few lawyers, and intellectual property law I did study in college and continue to keep abreast of, somewhat.
Sampling is a very touchy subject with a lot of grey areas. Often the credited songwriter and/or publisher is where the buck stops. A producers may just get paid or put up the money to make the record and move on, unless their contract specifies otherwise. If the producer recieives songwriting credit, he or she is probably just as liable for plagiarism as the artist.
Of course there's the PuffDaddy route - which is to sample past hits and payoff whomever you need too.
If anyone's around to care or notice, sampling that hit from twenty or thirty years ago and releasing it on a new recording without clearance is risky, to say the least.
A record enters the Public Domain a long time (50+ years) after the songwriter's death. Until it enter's the Public Domain, it is under copyright protection and connot be used safely without clearance.
This isn't the 80's anymore, and that's why there will never be records like 'Paul's Botique' or 'Fear of a Black Planet'.... made with unpaid Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan and God-knows-what-else samples all over them.
In general, a short sample of an obscure jazz record that is pitch-shifted and put into a different context is a lot less liable to be considered 'stealing' than sampling a past hit's 2 bar break with full instrumentation (and leading off your track with it, to boot!).



Also, remember that in America, at least, you can sue ANYBODY for ANYTHING, however ludicrous the claim may be. The case may never go through with a trial, but that doesn't stop all kinds of silly stuff getting to the courts.

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Post by Computer Controlled » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:51 am

If you're not making money off of it, don't worry about it. And sometimes it may never get discovered, especially with underground music with rather limited distro.

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Post by razorriley » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:48 pm

also, what about using factory patterns from your board or whatever that you use? i would never, but underoath has used a few presets from the ea-1 and showbread used a preset from the mc-303.

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Post by fingerbib2000 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:56 pm

razorriley wrote:also, what about using factory patterns from your board or whatever that you use? i would never, but underoath has used a few presets from the ea-1 and showbread used a preset from the mc-303.
presets are royalty free i'm pretty sure.

i say: don't worry about sample clearance, if that artist sues you, then you know you've made it to the Big Time baby! ;)
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Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:01 pm

It is possible to trademark (not copyright) a sound, as opposed to a song. Check this out: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000915.html
However I don't think something as basic as a particular timbre or waveform could qualify for a trademark (synth makers can, and I'm sure do in many cases, patent particular methods of synthesis, but not the resultant sounds), and even if it could what synth company would go to the trouble and expense to try and trademark every crappy preset?

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Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:30 pm

I was looking for this before and couldn't find it. A more complete Straight Dope article about copyright (much of it related specifically to music), in 3 parts, this is part 3 but it has links to parts 1 and 2 at the begining: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcopyright3.htm

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Post by t.o.t.s. » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:26 pm

I'd strongly advise you either not to sample or to pull from sources in the public domain. We recently had a label acquire our back catalog which i was extremely excited about... mainly because I never thought anyone would be interested. Unfortunately it was riddled with unlicensed samples... I had to remix 2 albums worth of material just to get it back out of the door... which was a HUGE pain and took a long time to do.

"i say: don't worry about sample clearance, if that artist sues you, then you know you've made it to the Big Time baby!"

Sampling isn't just about money... they can also have your album pulled from shelves, which IMHO can be worse.

Also.. licensing is difficult without a lawyer and can be significantly more expensive than you'd imagine.
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Post by crystalmsc » Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:12 am

perhaps this book will help..it covers an all-important guide to the laws of copyright and how to avoid breaking them:
http://www.backbeatbooks.com/?n=Keyboar ... 6D44F86E24
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Post by fuckrapsputin » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:52 am

You should only sample the records that come out of crates at your local record shop like "why did they put this on record?" and those little rooms they have out the back where the light doesn't work properlly.... a good example of these quality records would be "stereo dynamics to scare h**l out of your neighbours" or "carl neilson flute concerto clarinet concerto"... this way you can avoid a) anyone even knowing what the h**l it was you sampled, or b) having the same sample as that other dude.

some of my best samples came from these records and records like these... that said i don't think anyone gives a s**t about my music, so they aren't exactly going to hassle me for sample clearence.

on a more comercially useful scale, Madlib apparently does not clear his samples and he sells f**k loads of records... he says that he cannot remember the songs he uses to make each beat, so it would be impossible for him to even ask an artist for clearence.

apparently here in Australia they kinda look at it where if you're gonna sell less than say 10,000 albums (i think this was it, read this ages ago) then they don't even care...
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Post by Bitexion » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:44 pm

If it goes on radio and someone notices what song it was sampled from (specially if its the original artist), you bet your a*s they'll try and scoop you out and get their money's worth. Find the artists website, send a polite mail request to use a sample off their album.

Some bands, like ABBA, refuse anyone to sample their songs (only Madonna was allowed because, well, she's Madonna).

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Post by Architecture » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:40 pm

Something that was really odd was I made two samples from Common's album "Be", threw in a monolong that I did along time ago, and somehow, the myspace uploading service said that I was copyright infriging! first of all, how could a program instantaniously analyze that file and determine this? Not to mention, these were sampled at the lowest setting on my S-950, giving them a highly colored sound.

on another note
I don't understand why you would have to pay someone to use a drum kick that you lifted from an album. That to me is just ludicrious. Yet Timbaland can steel a whole 16 bars from an active chiptune artist, and call it his own. Some great system you got going here RIAA.

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Post by Bitexion » Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:38 pm

We're not speaking of a single drum kick or snare. Jan Hammer did that throughout his entire carreer. We're talking about jacking entire melody lines or riffs.

The said chiptune artist had no protection on their songs either.

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:38 am

f**k wrote:...apparently here in Australia they kinda look at it where if you're gonna sell less than say 10,000 albums (i think this was it, read this ages ago) then they don't even care...
I've studied Australian music copyright so I have to say that's not true, sampling is copyright infringement even if you don't sell any records. However, it costs about $20,000 or so to take someone to court for copyright infringement so there isn't much point suing someone who isn't making a fair bit of money from their record.

They can still send you a cease and desist though, which means you have to recall and destroy all copies of the record, which sucks pretty bad.

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Post by fuckrapsputin » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:01 am

ahhh... i just read that in some street press magazine, so i don't know where it came from or who said it...
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