What is Copyright?
Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. In the United States, Copyright rights are established under the United States Copyright Act (17 USC 101, et. seq.).
I have a great idea, can I Copyright my idea?
Can you just imagine the cost to clear the rights for an album like the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique? The Dust Brothers dumped the kitchen sink into the Beastie’s landmark album in the days before Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc.; the landmark lawsuit against Biz Markie by Gilbert O’Sullivan, which changed the process and future of hip-hop sampling.
Lawsuits and controversy aside, we’ll probably never see sampled albums as they were back in the mid-1980s, but that doesn’t mean that sampling is gone. It’s often harder to recognize sampling. Sometimes the sample just doesn’t fit the traditional hip-hop model, and sometimes the sample is so technologically manipulated that it’s unrecognizable.