[cc-sampling] Movie Samples In Songs

Z-Train Music ztrainmusic at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 22 14:42:50 EDT 2004


A lot of laptop musicians are emerging, and we all seem to have a lot 
questions around the legality and reality of sampling source audio from 
songs, movies, interviews, spoken word performances or television shows.

I think this is how it goes:

LEGALITY -- If you sample audio that is copyrighted by another entity, and 
you do not obtain a license for that sample, you have probably violated 
copyright law UNLESS: i) the sample comes from a work that is "Creatively" 
licensed (via Creative Commons or another form of open licensing); or ii) 
your use of the sample can be construed as a FAIR USE exception. There are 
some parameters for what constitutes a Fair Use, and the biggest one is that 
you do not directly obtain money from the sale of the work containing the 

REALITY -- Entertainment companies (and their lawyers) don't care about your 
sampling until there's a financial incentive for them to care.  Sample 
anything you want, but don't expect to sell your work.  Give your music away 
as a demo to your friends and family, upload it to a file sharing network, 
send it to college radio stations, create a buzz about your self, go nuts. 
Maybe a professional music producer will hear your brilliant work and dub 
you the next big thing. Maybe not. You'll still have a cool sounding track. 
Create what you will.

Some advantages to sampling unknown movies: 1) if and when you do license 
the sample, it may be cheaper than getting a license to sample Star Wars; 2) 
the film may be part of the Public Domain, in which case a license is not 
required to sample. If you're not planning on licensing the sample, then 
there aren't really any non-aesthetic reasons for mining unknown films.

I'm sure someone out there will take issue with something I've said in this 
flood of words.


>From: Ginrai <ginrai at masterforce.org>
>To: cc-sampling at lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: [cc-sampling] Movie Samples In Songs
>Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 21:36:13 -0700
>Hi there. New here. I'm a musician and I've been experimenting with samples 
>in my songs. Not musical samples, mind you, but snippets of dialogue from 
>movies. I've heard that a lot bands that use samples like that just use 
>them and hope no one calls them on it (and sometimes they're called on it, 
>like when Skinny Puppy got into trouble by using a sample from Timothy 
>Leery). It seems that it would hardly be worth the effort and red tape and 
>money to try to get permission for a clip that lasts a second and isn't at 
>all musical. I've looked through Skinny Puppy liner notes and they never 
>mention where the samples come from. I've recognized a lot of them, 
>Hitchcock movies, Scanners, A Clockwork Orange, 2001. Some of them are 
>popular and some aren't. From a copyright perspective, I imagine it would 
>be defendable in a lot of cases under fair use. You could say it's your 
>song commenting on the crass commercial society that creaked the insincere 
>movie and such.
>I guess my question is, should I just use movie samples and to hell with 
>it? Is it maybe safer to use samples from really obscure lame movies that 
>no one has seen? Any comments are welcome.
>cc-sampling mailing list
>cc-sampling at lists.ibiblio.org

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