• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Downloading music that uses uncleared samples, unwittingly

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

#1
What is the name of your state? North Carolina

Here is the scenario: I am looking for some new experimental/nujazz/ambient/hiphop tunes. I find some tunes I like, either offered for free by the artist, or for a small price. I download the tunes. It turns out that the tunes contain uncleared samples or sounds that are copyright infringement of some sort, but I do not recognize said sounds, and have no idea that this is unoriginal work.

Would I be held responsible for illegally downloading copyrighted material?

Also, how can one tell if a recognizable sample has been transformed enough to be covered by Fair Use doctrine?

How can I download independent artists' music without risking this issue? Is this even something I should be concerned about, as a consumer?
 


quincy

Senior Member
#2
What is the name of your state? North Carolina

Here is the scenario: I am looking for some new experimental/nujazz/ambient/hiphop tunes. I find some tunes I like, either offered for free by the artist, or for a small price. I download the tunes. It turns out that the tunes contain uncleared samples or sounds that are copyright infringement of some sort, but I do not recognize said sounds, and have no idea that this is unoriginal work.

Would I be held responsible for illegally downloading copyrighted material?

Also, how can one tell if a recognizable sample has been transformed enough to be covered by Fair Use doctrine?

How can I download independent artists' music without risking this issue? Is this even something I should be concerned about, as a consumer?
Innocent infringement is still infringement and you can be held legally liable just as the original infringer can. If you can prove your infringement was truly innocent, a judge has the option of reducing the amount of damages awarded a copyright holder who sues - as little as $200 for a registered work, for example, even though statutory damages range from $750 to $30,000 per infringed work.

The only way to be sure that your unauthorized use of another's work is de minimis (trivial) or a fair use is to have a court decide it is. Fair use is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement (a "yes I infringed but it is okay" defense). It is not permission to use a copyrighted work without authorization.

There is no real good way to protect yourself from musicians who have infringed on the rights of others. Perhaps the best way can be to know well the musicians whose works you want to use, and their reputations - and it can be smart to get in writing from the musicians sworn statements that the music is original to them and not infringing.
 
Last edited:
Sponsored Ad

Top