When it comes to how to legally sample music, there can be a lot of confusion around what is and isn’t legal. Although sampling music is an incredibly powerful tool in the world of music production, it’s important to understand when and how you can legally use samples in your own compositions. This blog post will explore the legalities of sampling music, outlining the rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.
What is copyright law?
Copyright law is designed to protect the creative works of authors, artists, and other creators from unauthorized use. It gives them exclusive rights over their works for a certain period. The rights protected by copyright include: the right to copy, distribute, or perform their works publicly. When someone else wants to use those works, they must obtain permission from the copyright holder or risk being sued for copyright infringement.
Can I use 30 seconds, 1 min, or 5 mins?
When it comes to song sampling, there is no bright line rule that says any use is acceptable to use as long as you only use 5, 15, or 30 seconds of a song. According to U.S. copyright law, any use of copyrighted material without permission is copyright infringement. It does not matter if you use one second or the entire song; what matters is whether the use is considered fair use or not.
Fair use considerations may include the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used about the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of the use on the potential market for the original work. Ultimately, it’s up to a judge to decide whether a particular use constitutes fair use or copyright infringement.
What is fair use?
When can I legally sample a copyrighted work?
How do I get permission to sample a copyrighted work?
- Subscribe to a service like Tracklib
- Pay a company like DMG to clear your samples
- Use works in the public domain
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