Peruse the website whosampled.com. It has thousands of “before” and “after” instances of sampling, showing how artists have sampled and been sampled from for decades. The information manifested in these lineages raises several important copyright issues. A few of these are mentioned in the notes below.
This album has been sampled 894 times since its release in 1969. Often times the samples taken are simple instrumental loops. At what point does a sample simply replace an instrument? In trademark law, something can become so ubiquitous as to be unprotectable. Should a similar policy apply to music sampling? Would this example qualify?
This instance of sampling raises questions about the “amount and substantiality” test. The sampled portion comprises just a single note, but it is quite an identifiable note. Could the expression of a single note ever be so unique as to be protected by copyright?
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