PMA Academy Series – Avoiding Legal & Reputation Problems From Sampled Loops, Beats, Tracks & Hooks

“Does this work include samples, yes or no?“

Have you ever seen this question in a contract or submission form? Has it ever given you pause? Most production music composers realize that they can’t sample unlicensed music from other recordings. And, they know that they’re usually safe using sampled instruments from their favorite piano and orchestral libraries. However, many don’t know about the serious problems from using even LICENSED pre-composed loops, beats, tracks and sample packs which have recognizable hooks and phrases, for example vocals, instrument phrases and complete grooves. Not only do some sample library End User License Agreements (EULAs) outright prevent many sync uses, but even where there are no legal restrictions automatic tune recognition software is triggering copyright claim clashes between different publishers, causing infringement accusations and reputation damage for composers and publishers. They are also unpopular with publishers and clients because they lack the originality that they expect. In response, production music publishers are increasingly banning these type of sample uses, so it’s important to know the facts.

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