Rules on sampling other artists songs?


Thanks for sharing this, I just watched the summary, and it’s quite an amazing (although depressing) tale…


They really took The Verve to the cleaners on that one.

On a positive note, Ashcroft still carved out a solid career and managed to make a small fortune for himself regardless.


I’m no lawyer but I don’t think anyone’s sitting in jail for making a beat, as far as I know anyway. I’d be happy for someone to correct me though


He was not charged because ultimately he didn’t distribute it or profit off if. It was distributed illegally by groups of people online. Some of the people it was traced back to received cease and desist orders if I remember correctly. Danger mouse complied with the record label demands.


No, because there are other costs like lawyers (not only yours) involved, which need to be paid by someone. These other costs are what may really crush you.


I guess complying with the label holding the rights was the better move.


With no sampling you couldn’t ever heard masterpieces from moby’s play or tracks from prodigy just to say the first i recall! I prefer 1000 times producers sampling in a creative way than all s**tty bands doing the same pop songs invading all radio frequencies!
You can see illegal sampling as a veiled protest against the way it is seen intellectual property by the establishment… just for its economical aspect.
From Homer through Wilde 'till Massive Attack sampling/citing has been the motor of culture.


A lot of those guys you mention spend the time to get samples cleared though, especially someone like moby. That is the super important part. Hip-hip artist commonly get tracks or albums pulled from distribution for not clearing samples, even well disguised samples. Proper clearance is needed to legitimately release a track that has a sample.

But, for the most part it seems that record labels and rights holders to music only pursue uncleared sample usage if money is being made or has the potential to be made. This is how mixtapes are able to exist. The effort and money that would need to go into legal action for every free mixtape wouldn’t be worth it and the “monetary reward” the record company is seeking likely doesn’t exist. It doesn’t really speak to the legality but how much money plays a part in upholding these things.


I haven’t specified what my experience with sampling… being a live performer for small audiences in cellars, abandoned warehouses on mostly illegal happenings made me barely unaware of intellectual property… My rule is: if i dont make money with what i sample i feel free to use it…
The discourse of reinventing might be instead encouraged when this produces masterpieces whether if in art, music, cinema…

Regarding major labels they never put an accent on the artistic side of the aspect… they even encourage illegal sampling when this meet their need for profit.


I work with performance rights so it’s not the same but have some overlaps. Basically: You can’t publish anything that uses work owned by another rights holder. If you don’t make any money you won’t get in trouble. The song might be taken down though. Also if you live in the US things are different than the rest of the world. Most other countries agree on most things in a pragmatic way while the US has their own “system”. By the way if you’ve bought the recording you are free to remix or use samples from it live in most parts of the world. This is considered fair use.


A big part of the sampling experience for me is how an individual can take a sample and create something bizarre or wildly different. That’s one of the key reasons that I have recently taken to actually including the sample I’ve used at the start of my soundcloud OT/DT tracks.

I’m never going to make money out of this hobby and if someone wanted to be an asshole about it and ask me to take a track down (never going to happen!) then I’d remove it - but I enjoy hearing the “before” and “after” when it comes to sampling. What some folks can do with a random 4 bar loop is unreal and inspiring - it’s a shame that many feel they are walking on eggshells.


A bit annoying if you used a sample(in a creative way) and released it. Maybe selling a few hundred copies and got really hammered for it.

Id be happy paying all proceeds from that release to original owner but anything more than that then I see that as very unfair.


I sample my own material all the time. Does that mean I owe myself tons of cash?
I dunno, unless a record label is telling you to get permission before you use a sample… Go for your life! Sample away!


I must be on my own here but I dont agree with sampling other peoples hard work unless you keep it 100% unpublished. There are some who have done interesting things with poached hooks but its mostly the sample that makes the track and regardless of how far you take it from the original form it still contains skills that the user either doesnt have or is too lazy to employ, imo.


What would you do if you wanna bake a cake but you are all out of sugar . Do you break into your neighbour’s house and steal the sugar or do you ring at the door and ask for sugar ??


Well, laws in general are not about fairness.

But a law without any kind of punishment wouldn’t be effective at all. There needs to be a risk in doing something illegal other then just loosing what’s not yours in the first place.

Compare it to stealing physical stuff. If the only punishment for stealing would be that you need to give the stuff back (or what you earned from it): would the law about it be in any way useful at all?

Should the real owner take the costs and efforts of sueing you to get his stuff back, just that it gets stolen again the next day? That would be crazy concept of ownership and the laws about it, isn’t it?


Suppose. In that scenario yes.

Im living in my own made up utopia world where if the artist had a problem they could just email me and we could settle it between ourselves. If its tiny sample and the rest of the track was your own then Id hope it could be settled by a fair offer percentage of any money that was made from it. Id hope no need for sueing.

I wish if someone stole something(car bike etc) they were forced to give it back/pay equivalent. Sadly Ill lose my no claims on insurance and the courts prob give them a slap on wrist.

I dont really sample much mind, more into synths etc. Half the hiphop i own is sampled like hell tho. Wonder how they got away with it… :wink:


Why should the artist do that? Shall the artist scan the entire internet to detect that somebody uses his or her work?

IMO the other way around is correct. Making contact with the artist or her/his legal representative and ask for permission.


I would say that we can find very huge libraries of material, which is royalty free and free of charge in the internet.

I would also like to mention that there are a couple of places in the net, where we can get royalty free samples, entire stems, even songs, covering most of the known genres, professionally produced, and for quite little money.

IMO there is no excuse to use other artists work without their permission.


Ill just stick to synths. :wink: