Music sampling is defined as the reuse of a segment of a sound recording not created by the sampler. While musicians often sample music from one another, businesses often sample from musical artists when working on advertising campaigns. However, if you do this without getting permission from the original artist or owner, you can quickly get into legal trouble and be faced with money damages or injunction. Clearance can be a time-consuming process, but it is ultimately worth it to save you trouble in the future. Read on for some advice on how to get this permission.
To obtain sample clearance, you must get permission to use the music sample from the person or entity that owns the rights to the song in question. In order to do this, you’ll need permission from the owner of the copyright for the song and for the master recording, which are often two different entities. To get in touch with the music publisher, you should seek out one of the performing rights organizations that gathers money from public performances of musical artists’ material. The websites for Broadcast Music Incorporated and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers are good places to find the publisher of the song you want to use. Once you find it in the database, get in touch with the publisher and ask for formal permission.
Locating the Master Recording Owner
After the music publisher grants you sample clearance, you need to also obtain clearance from the individual or organization that owns the master recording. In order to find these people, you can ask the publisher or the music-releasing record company, as they will typically have the contact information you need. The process of locating the master recording owner is often complicated because of the number of redirections to other people and organizations you are likely to encounter, as rights change hands all the time. If it is proving too difficult, you can hire a sampling consultant that specializes in this process to save you time.
Of course, no matter the people you talk to and the specialists you hire, there is always going to be the chance that your requests for sample clearance are going to get rejected for one reason or another. Getting this kind of permission can take months. Keep in mind that many individuals and organizations that own music copyrights actually have no-sampling policies. If this is the case, you simply will not be able to legally use the music sample for your business’s benefit. Therefore, you need to have plans laid out in case your requests are denied so that your endeavor isn’t entirely fruitless. Here are a few ideas on that front:
•Use a re-creation: If your business has the resources, you might consider hiring some people to re-record the music you want to use rather than pursuing the master recording. In essence, these people play and record the sample to sound like the original, thereby avoiding any infringement charges. Publisher permission is still required for this, however.
•Find copyright owners eager to allow sampling: Though many companies have no-sampling policies, there are some owners who actually want businesses like yours to sample their music. The process for obtaining permission in this case is easy.
•Get in touch with the creator: If you discover that the artist who recorded the song in question has a say in sampling matters, you might have an easier time obtaining permission from him or her directly, rather than going through the publisher.
There is no doubt that using a sample of a well-known piece of music in your business’s advertising will increase its visibility. Just be sure that you have everything in place to show that the sampling was done legally.
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