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Sunday, March 15, 2015

#Blurry #Blurred #Out #Lines


In light of the recent copyright infringement case with the Marvin Gaye family vs. Robin Thick & Pharrell, I'm not surprised about the verdict. There's a similar case in litigation: Flame vs. Katy Perry & a case that JayZ handed over half the royalties of a song on "holy grail" to a French pianist that was sampled without clearing royalties. 

The "Blurred Lines" in rap/hip hop about sampling are in stone in the law books & there's no Fruity Loops/Protools: "Copyright Law" template. Bottom-Line: the word copyright is self-explanatory. Only the person that originally created a "work" has the right to copy it, or give rights to others to copy it. And... Ultimately... The copied work is usually worth what the originator says that it's worth when the sample clearance is not negotiated. 
So should producers stop sampling? NEVER! 

There needs to be a more level playing field for composers(Music & lyric writers) though. If a work is sampled, everyone that makes dividends from  the new work should be liable to compensate the original composer from the publisher to the writers. 

Example: "Average Joe" samples "Dan Soul's" b side vinyl cut- "Blahzay-Blahzay" & is contractually released as a commercialized song called "Killa-Killa." Unfortunately, after Average Joe's snake-skin suit wearing lawyer is payed under the table, Average Joe signs for a measly 5% writers cut of the song. If the song ultimately garners $10,000,000 in sales, Average Joe takes $50,000.00 to the bank. When ordered by an arbitrator to pay 0.5% of the royalties that Average Joe received, Dan Soul is awarded $25,000.

I could stand to be corrected. Maybe I'm wrong. $9,050,000 wrong. You be the judge
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