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Can you copyright sample beats?
Old 6th August 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Can you copyright sample beats?

I was getting a copyright the other day and iw as wondering if i could copyright my sample beats or if i couldnt because they count as derivative works? Thanks
Old 6th August 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dannygold's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadix ➡️
I was getting a copyright the other day and iw as wondering if i could copyright my sample beats or if i couldnt because they count as derivative works? Thanks

Let me get this straight... you sampled someone else's work and now want to copyright it?
Old 6th August 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
CJ Mastering's Avatar
Hell No!!
Old 6th August 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
api2500's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You wanna copyright copyrighted material?
Old 6th August 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Yes you can. There is a place on the form where you list pre-existing works that are incorporated into your new work. Your claim of ownership will apply to the new elements you added to the pre-existing work (ie. it won't cover the actual sample, which is pre-existing, but all the drums and synths and kazoos you added would be covered).

There is a murky issue as to whether or not you will also own the intellectual property for how you arrange the sample. For example, if you flip a sample in a way not originally conceived (ie. more than just looping it), then it's vague whether or not you are covered for how you flipped it. So if someone else comes and flips it the exact same way, you may or may not be covered. There was a big issue a few years ago, can't remember the song, but I don't think it ever went to court.
Old 6th August 2010 | Show parent
  #6
g22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter ➡️
Yes you can. There is a place on the form where you list pre-existing works that are incorporated into your new work. Your claim of ownership will apply to the new elements you added to the pre-existing work (ie. it won't cover the actual sample, which is pre-existing, but all the drums and synths and kazoos you added would be covered).

There is a murky issue as to whether or not you will also own the intellectual property for how you arrange the sample. For example, if you flip a sample in a way not originally conceived (ie. more than just looping it), then it's vague whether or not you are covered for how you flipped it. So if someone else comes and flips it the exact same way, you may or may not be covered. There was a big issue a few years ago, can't remember the song, but I don't think it ever went to court.
Bottom line is NO. You can try to get the sample cleared to use it in your song, but you will never OWN the rights to it, unless the original owner agress to sell it to you.

Even if your allowed to copyright elements that you added over a sample such as drums, keys, bass, etc, your only copyrighting those elements, and because you still don't own the sample, your song basically useless and not worth paying to copyright. If you wanted to copyright those elements and protect them, you might as well just drop out the sample altogether and just copyright the parts you created yourself. At least you could do something with it. Whereas, the sample would prevent you from legally doing anything for profit with that recording.

If you must use samples, I suggest to add those extra elements drums, guitars, keys, bass, and then delete the sample and replay the part the sample was playing with your own instrument, but change it a little, then you could probably copyright the whole song. But best is to just avoid the whole headache and not sample at all. Financially, sample producers don't make jack compared to original producers, and creatively you don't even get the same fulfillment as creating something from scrtach that you can claim ownership to. I just don't see the point of sampling anymore.
Old 7th August 2010 | Show parent
  #7
g22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Cheese ➡️
I use samples all the time, but the way I chop em and change their pitch and filter them, there's no way anyone could tell that my song had X sample. No way. If your song is pretty much a 4 bar sample looping of a part of a song... then don't make music.
Have you ever got any of your sampled songs copyrighted?

The average person might not be able to tell, but thats not who matters, its the examiners at the copyright office.
Old 5th May 2020
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
So all those rap records with lots of samples, like Public Enemy, the group didn't make any money from those songs? How did they make any money from the album then? Every song on those albums had samples. Just touring and merch? No income from album sales?
Old 5th May 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
You can copyright anything. It’s just a registration and submission process. There is no person at the copyright office listening and comparing all submissions.

The issue arises when there is a legal issue with you being sued for not getting proper clearances from the publisher/writer and label.
Old 10th May 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
If you cleared the sample u can copyright the whole composition.
Old 12th May 2020
  #11
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Sigma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
melodies and lyrics are copyrightable BEATS not

Quote:
The short answer: unfortunately, no. Drumbeats and drum patterns are not typically considered songwriting. The law makes clear that lyrics, melody, harmony and rhythm can be copyrighted. Most often, lyrics and melody are afforded protection under the law before the other two.
Old 19th May 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
No. Mantronix was sampled by Snap for The Power and Mantronix tried suing him for sampling his beat but couldn't because it used elements from an original sample. I don't sample copyrighted material anymore because you have to give up too much publishing and never really own it. Personally, sampling copyrighted material isn't worth it because you never make any money from it and never own it. Copyright owners always have you by the balls. Use sample packs or open source material or play your own.
Old 22nd May 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Deleted c7044de
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 ➡️
No. Mantronix was sampled by Snap for The Power and Mantronix tried suing him for sampling his beat but couldn't because it used elements from an original sample. I don't sample copyrighted material anymore because you have to give up too much publishing and never really own it. Personally, sampling copyrighted material isn't worth it because you never make any money from it and never own it. Copyright owners always have you by the balls. Use sample packs or open source material or play your own.
Respect for the Mantronix reference. I still have Needle to the Groove on vinyl from when I was a kid. They were so ahead of their time.

I've always wondered if you can use samples of other artists work if it's for non-commercial use? I imagine it depends on how you distribute it.
Old 22nd May 2020 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost_Cause ➡️
Respect for the Mantronix reference. I still have Needle to the Groove on vinyl from when I was a kid. They were so ahead of their time.

I've always wondered if you can use samples of other artists work if it's for non-commercial use? I imagine it depends on how you distribute it.
No. You can get sued regardless whether it's for profit or not. Most of the time they won't bother if there is no money to be made but they can still sue you. The best thing to do is just play your own material or sample non copyrighted works. There is so much available now.

I personally stopped sampling over 10 years ago after I got sick of dealing with the clearance BS and publishing companies wanting ridiculous cuts. They don't want to be reasonable then they can keep their music. Good luck when everyone stops sampling on getting any more money out of Hip Hop!
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