Article: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Articles / December 2003

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) “The Song Remains the Same: A Review of the Legalities of Music Sampling” by Ben Challis December, 2003 Sampling copyrighted music and lyrics – without permission – remains a common activity in the area of music creation. In this article, Ben Challis explains the extent to which this practice is legal. Relevant case law examples from the UK and USA are identified for consideration. Sampling can be simply defined as the incorporation of pre-existing recordings into a new recording. It can be extended to include the incorporation of part or the whole of a ‘tune’ (a melody) and/or lyrics into another work. Copyright subsists in sound recordings, and in the music and lyrics to a song, pursuant to section 1(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). The CDPA provides in section 16(1) that the owner of a work has a number of acts restricted to him or her, which are to: Copy the work Issue copies of the work or lend or rent copies of the work to the public Perform, show or play the work in public Broadcast the work or include it in a cable programme; and:…