Q about Sampling distribution and it's legalities

Somebody tell me a bit about what is or is not legal about sampling copyrighted music. From what I have found while searching the internet. I find bits and pieces of people paraphrasing the legal statements on sampling legalities. I found this site which doesn’t seem very official and reminds me of a geocities site. So maybe somebody could point me toward something a little more authentic.


It seems that sharing music regardless of its length (including the 6 second rule) is unlawful whether or not money is made on its redistribution.

I’ve gotten really into collecting records and sampling sounds as of late and was wondering what other peoples opinions are on copyright law.

Why I really started this post outside of my sample rambling is this: if I were to post an xrns file with a ton of sampled disco bits, would I get in trouble? Or would anybody even care.

Somebody tell me a bit about what is or is not legal about sampling copyrighted music

You need to talk to a copyright lawyer, not random (if well-meaning) people on the Internet.

Even if someone posted something essentially true, you’re likely not in a position to recognize that.

As a practical matter the odds of anyone getting caught, let alone in any actual trouble, for posting an xrns that contained samples from copyrighted music are essentially nil. Mostly no one cares until there’s real $$ involved. I.e., the track becomes really popular.

My gut tells me that if anyone did make a fuss it would end with “take that shit down now.”

But I’m not a lawyer, I don’t give legal advice, no one should take anything I say as the basis for making legal decisions.


no one will take you to court unless the potential returns are greater than the legal expenses of going after you

or youre part of some hideous hate group that is seriously damaging the image of the samplee

The rule is: you may sample a note, and use that note in your song all you want, or transform it into a full instrument. The reason for that is that a simple waveform or instrument with no meaning has no copyright law, in the same way that you can’t copyright words, but can copyright texts. The law is only applicable to rythm and melody, as it is to text but not words or letters. (Yes, there are trademarks, which is not the same as copyright at all).

This is pretty much the same in every country of the world.

There is a debate if copying a sound font which is copyrighted is legal or not. The answer is surprising: the wave can be copied, but the instrument and/or the plugin cannot, because they can be considered software. As an interesting anecdote, Harley Davidson tried to copyright the sound of their motorcycles but they were allowed only to trademark it, so anybody can use the sound if it is not used to sell other motorcycles or products. Again, sound trademark ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_trademark ) is not the same as sound copyright. You cannot copyright a simple sound, but you may trademark it only under very limited considerations.

So. The general rule is. Yes it’s illegal at any length, but you only have to worry about being caught if you’re actually making money.

I been thinking about starting a series of sample sharing. I’m probably going to do it anyway. Maybe tomorrow. Anybody like disco?