Every day this week, we will be featuring portions of an interview that FMC’s Kristin Thomson conducted with Peter DiCola and Kembrew McLeod, co-authors of the recently-released book Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling (Duke University Press). Peter and Kembrew spent over five years pulling together the materials for this book, which details the development of the sample license clearance process through the eyes of musicians, rightsholders, attorneys, clearance experts and historians.
Interview: Part 4
Kristin: The book concludes with well-thought-out strategies for addressing the sampling problem. What do you each hope that this book does for the discourse about sampling and creativity?
Peter: To my knowledge we’re the only source that actually looks at a really broad portfolio of reforms and talks about which ones might complement each other. So my hope is that the book will help people realize that there are multiple fronts to push along. Some of them are private and involve private businesses just offering more innovative licensing. But there are also really important things that the courts could do, or that Congress could do, to open up some breathing room for sampling and get the gears of licensing turning more easily. In the twenty years since it became clear that sampling could be copyright infringement, there hasn’t been much progress in terms of the problems we document. So I’m hoping that advocating a set of multiple policy reforms will be a better recipe for progress than just resting things on one pet solution.
Kembrew: One of the reasons I wanted to co-write this book is because all of the information and knowledge about sampling and the legal issues that relate to it have been dispersed across a wide range of books, articles, and published interviews. One of the things that Creative License does is it gathers all of this disparate information into one place. There’s a fairly sweeping cultural history of musical appropriation in Chapter Two, covering everything from jazz and reggae to hip-hop and disco, as well as avant-garde sound collage. This is juxtaposed with chapters that cover the legal and economic underpinnings and key court cases. Then we finish the book with a review of the different policy and legal solutions, all of that knowledge and those resources are dispersed across the Web and across law journals.
Tomorrow: Part 5
To support the book’s release, Peter and Kembrew are doing a number of public events and readings, including:
Tuesday, April 26: Peter DiCola and Kembrew McLeod at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, IA