If I layer an 808 kick sample with a single kickdrum sample taken from a breakbeat (some old funk record that no one will ever listen to again) are there still technically copyright laws to stop me and fine me?
I heard kraftwerk won some case saying that even single cycle waveforms taken from their synth music can be subject to copyright fines and penalties…wtf
Can I still use single hit drums from breaks if I layer them all with drum machine samples to make them technically different drum samples?
Is it better to just forget about copyright stuff altogether? It seems to have reached an unreasonable level.
Hi from europe, here last year or so a case from 1997 has been (yay 20 years after tune released and all deutschmarks already earned…) directed on from german to european court for (hopefully) final sentence on the subject of sampling - and it is about a very recognisable x bar percussion loop from 1977 kraftwerk used by pop rap producer moses p. as part of backing track for sabrina setlur, this was radio/tv top 10 business. There is some kind of hope for sampling, because here the artistical value of the creation is balanced against the original character of the loop, to tell whether there was “idea theft” or a complete new work. However news from america sound totally different, at times erratic on this subject. And as music is a global business nowadays, there will have to be some synchronisation on this, else markets couldn’t be shared like they de facto already are.
On the subject of sampling, maybe it is just that it is rare for the victim of a sampling to take steps - i.e. only when there is a considerable amount of money to be gained by the case vs. costs on lawyers and time and hours lost because of it. So you eyeball the charts - you better replace that james brown break, or make a deal so its official. I mean whole jungle history is up on youtube, and it is centered on “stolen” samples. which will not safe your ass, if someone decides to sue you because he stumbles on your work, or rather: some new content crawling&analysation algorithm identifies the sample automatically…
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/31/kraftwerk-lose-legal-battle-over-their-music-being-sampled Moses P did win. He lost initially but it was overturned by a second court. _"The ruling, which overturns an earlier decision by the federal court of justice and is widely seen as setting a precedent in Germany,addresses the complex legal issue of the competing interests of artistic freedom and copyright._The court, based in Karlsruhe in south-west Germany, said the sequences were only seconds long and “led to the creation of a totally new and independent piece of work”.
Using a single kick drum sample won’t get you into trouble. Especially if it’s been layered. Once the sound has been adapted and changed enough to give in entirely new musical context then you’ll be fine. Trying to copyright a sound that short would be pointless on the part of musicians, they’d end up in a scenario like Kraftwerk. Spending 20 years throwing thousands of euros into an unsuccessful court cast to try stop another musician using a tiny snippet of audio.
I don’t know why Moses P. was such a big court case. maybe it’s a grudge, or maybe Kraftwerk are just grumpy old gits. Look at Squarepusher and Venetian Snares, their works are plastered with old funk breaks and no-ones ever sued them. If copyright laws were enforced as extremely as people think they are then these guys careers would been ended in 90’s before they got really famous when they were throwing out tracks loaded with Amen, Think, Funky Drummer, etc. Hell Squarepusher - Come On My Selector is just straight up Lyn Collins Think Break with almost no editing to the sound bar speeding it up a bit and chopping it.
Even the almighty Aphex Twin sampled classic drum breaks and no-ones ever gone after him, and he’s super high profile.
As I said, after the highest german court ruled in favor of moses p and sampling, but the case has been brought over to the european court last year, to be evaluated again there also regarding the definitions of the fundamental questions involved & then passed back to german court for final sentence in this specific case, reevaluating it with the new european scope definitions of the matter in mind. Results are to be expected next or in the next few years… It is also to be expected, things will be defined more clearly in this process. Sorry, I only found rather brief news articles in german about this, from june last year.
Edit: Sorry, it wasn’t news from june last year, but very up to date from first june this year. Last june was the first sentence in favour of moses p, I still remember my happiness when I heard about this. Still puzzling though how it is about america in the game, china, russia, etc…where other copyright laws are in action. I think we will yet hear one or another good or bad thing on this topic. I guess it hasn’t cooked so high yet, because the commercially relevant pop producers tend to be paranoid and only use cleared samples, while sampling know tunes is in the realm of underground music where nothing would be gained from a lawsuit.
O.K. interesting. I’m quite glad to hear that single drumhits (kick, hihat, snare etc) should be no problem, especially if they are layered with drum machine sounds for extra tonal qualites, boom, knock, puch, impact or whatever…so now I can intensively work on making some extra fine drum sounds based on the excellent breaks pack that was posted in the other thread without worrying about the future copyright weirdness…I never sample whole musical phrases or use breaks in their entirity anyway…I was worried the whole thing sounded like it was going to be a case of “pies on the sill, traps on the lintel”.