How do I use samples in my music without infringing copyrights?

My answer to How do I use samples in my music without infringing copyrights?

Answer by Raad Ahmed:

It depends on a couple of things: how you plan to use the music and whether or not the average listener will be able to identify the samples.

Typically, you won’t have an issue if you abide by the following:

  • Only use the music for personal use (as in you make absolutely no money)
  • You are performing the music live (as in you are not copying and selling the music).
  • If you do distribute to the public, then the average listener can’t tell what the samples are or if your use falls under the “fair use” category.

Meeting Fair Use Requirements:

When making this determination, the courts will consider the following points:

  • Did the original owner suffer financially due to your use of their samples?
  • Did you totally transform the sound to create a brand new song?
  • Did you take a large portion of the original song?

Keep in mind, many of these questions are subjective and it’s not a clear cut situation by any means.

When it doubt: Ask permission. This is the absolute easiest way to avoid any kind of litigation. Reach out the the original owner and simply ask them if you can use a sample of their music to incorporate in your own. Usually you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner of the song (publisher) and the copyright owner of the master tape (record company).

If you’d like to discuss your situation more in depth—connect with us at LawTrades. We can put you in touch with a seasoned copyright attorney that can answer your questions fully and offer guidance about where you should go from here. Check out our website to learn more about our services and connect for a consultation.

How do I use samples in my music without infringing copyrights?

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