The Legal Smack Down On Music Sampling: Is The Age Of Hip Hop Over?

December 2006

Artists, record labels
By Marina Whelan Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold LLP

Using the recent case of Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films (2005) the legalities of the ‘borrowing’ of sound recording samples are explained.

See also the ARTICLE on this site ‘The song remains the same’ by Ben Challis analysing the legality of sampling in both the US and the UK, the Bridgeport case and the recent Newport vDiamond (2003)decision and the defences of ‘fair use’ and ‘fair dealing’. And also see this ARTICLE LINK “The shady one man company that’sdestroying hip-hop” which looks at the activities of the same Bridgeport Music who have been very active in protecting their copyrights, in particular the works of funk-master George Clinton – which have been repeatedly sampled. Bridgeport recently took on Jay-Z alleging unauthorized samples in his work. There seems to be a growing feeling that recent court decisions on sampling (particularly in the USA) have perhaps now shifted the balance of power so far in favour of copyright owners that music creators, especially hip hop, are starting to suffer unfairly.

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