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The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes; 1:9 Then along came music sampling, or electronic sampling and the famous “Amen Break” drum sampling of the Winston Brothers hit, “Amen, Brother”, in 1969, and the copyright owner did nothing, in spite of the copyright act of 1974, and a new musical landscape has emerged. Hip hop, rapp, electro sampling. Now we have the copyright extension act of 1998, further pushing out into the mid 21st Century, works which would otherwise now be in the public domain. A recent Court ruling from the Ninth Circuit held that using even a single sampling of another’s copyrighted musical work, requires a license to do so from the copyright owner. When a songwriter’s borrowing ideas, sounds, and expression is suppressed, is creativity squelched? When a strict interpretation of copyrighted expression is relaxed, does artistic expression have room to spread it’s wings, and result in more original works to be available to the public? Where is copyright law headed, and where should it be headed? The Creative Commons License is something that the creator of a work can grant to the public allowing non exclusive non commercial use. What do you think? I’m Al Wheeler, Attorney.


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