Scratch That: The Sample License Clearance Process and Artist Compensation
Popularized by the hip-hop movement of the 1980s and 1990s, sampling is the latest manifestation of a rich musical tradition — one particularly prevalent in jazz, bluegrass, classical and blues — where artists have borrowed from, referenced, riffed off of, or ripped off artists of the past. But sampling as we know it today represents a different form of borrowing, a more literal appropriation made easier through digital technologies. This leads to bigger questions about copyright, compensation, licensing and creativity.
In this session, law professor Peter DiCola (Northwestern University School of Law) and communications professor Kembrew McLeod (University of Iowa) will summarize what they learned about the sample license clearance process during the past three years of research for their book Creative License (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2010) and McLeod’s documentary Copyright Criminals: This Is A Sampling Sport. Pulling from interviews with over 100 stakeholders, they uncover a rich – but complicated – legal and economic history behind the existing sample license clearance structure. While an ad hoc structure for permissions and licensing has developed over the past 20 years, could sample-heavy albums like Paul’s Boutique or It Takes a Nation of Millions be made today? DiCola and McLeod will present three possible remedies to the inefficiencies of the current structure, focusing on ways that could maximize compensation for artists while also encouraging creativity. The 30-minute presentation will be followed by a critique from respondents and questions from the audience.
Tony Berman Founder, Berman Entertainment and Technology Law
Hope Carr Attorney
Peter DiCola Assistant Professor, Northwestern University School of Law
Peter Jaszi Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, American University (moderator)
Kembrew McLeod Associate Professor, University of Iowa
Hank Shocklee President, Shocklee Entertainment
This panel has been approved for 1.0 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits by the Virginia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board. Approved CLE credits from Pennsylvania and Virginia may be claimed by attorneys in California, New York, and Illinois as reciprocal credits.
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