Copyright in the Music Industry

The controversies and conversations about music copyright


Copyrighting in the music industry is essentially the illegal replication of one or more portions of an artist’s work that is used to create and release a new song under another artist. The most notable instances over the past few years include Grammy award-winning artists Ed Sheeran and Robin Thicke who were both sued for millions of dollars, both by Marvin Gaye’s family. Both were found guilty of taking noticeable portions of Gaye’s “Let’s get it on” and “Got to Give it Up” respectively.

  Whenever instances such as these appear in headlines, the same conversations are had amongst the public. And each and every time, they are met with the same arguments about who really owns the music, who really owns that chord progression, who really used that flow first, and so on and so forth. These discussions almost always segway into “sampling” as well.

  Sampling is the process of taking any portion of a song utilizing it to develop or add to a new song. Because the technology used for sampling has been around since the 70s and 80s, people often argue that using other’s pieces of music is normal and is something that has been going on for generations, even before this technology.

 It is somewhat tough to determine where one draws the line for copyright in the music industry when considering all of the complications, but one thing is certain, big time pop-stars like Ed Sheeran and Robin Thicke should consider relistening to their songs once or twice before releasing another hit that sounds like one of the most recognizable slow jams of the 70s.

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