Author

Andre Sirois

Date of Award

5-2005

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

Advisor

Shannon E. Martin

Second Committee Member

Eric E. Peterson

Third Committee Member

Laura A. Lindenfeld

Abstract

This study highlights the legal gaps in the current application of copyright law in music sampling cases. This study focuses on Danger Mouse's Grey Album as a case in point. Based on a review of sampling and its history, international and U.S. copyright history, the intricacies of the Copyright Act of 1976 and how it is applied to sampling, and legal professional's postulations, the following research questions structured the investigation.
1. Are the current applications of copyright law appropriate for digital sampling?
2. Is the practice of digital sampling stealing or recycling?
3. Should new legislation be enacted to both provide structure and guidance for artists using digital samples?
4. And, if so, what would be a proper system?
The research suggests that the Copyright Act of 1976 is far behind the technology and access of digital sampling equipment. Furthermore, evidence suggests that most samples could clearly fall under the de minimus defense clause or alteration and can rely on the mainstay that such use will not replace the original work's place in the market. After studying digital sampling case law there is a trend of cases pointing towards the severe need for new legislation.

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