The Fair Use Of Hip-Hop Sampling In Copyright Law

Sampling isn’t about hijacking nostalgia wholesale. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward. —Mark Ronson[i] What Is Sampling? Sampling is procedure that transfers the analog signal from an original song to a set of binary numbers representing an audio waveform.[ii] The signal is then put into…

Legal context of Jay-Z’s investment in Tidal: Some Observations

On March 30, Jay-Z led a group of famous music artists, including Beyoncé, Kanye West and leaders of Arcade Fire, to take ownership in an emerging music streaming service called Tidal. Tidal distinguishes itself by promising loss-less streaming (i.e. the highest sound quality possible), and a better remuneration for music artists. Jay-Z’s involvement in Tidal…

Drake’s Surprise Album – Music Business Lessons

Two weeks ago, Drake announced a surprise mixtape called “If you’re reading this, it’s too late.” The mixtape was almost immediately streamable on Spotify and could be purchased on the iTunes Store. This mixtape was completely unexpected. In fact, most industry commentators had been reporting that Drake was working hard on his next album “Views…

Taylor Swift: The Attack of Celebrity Trademarks

Not surprisingly, some of the most outlandish trademarks in history are associated with celebrities. (Notable trademark protections include Paris Hilton’s catchphrase “that’s hot,” rapper Curtis Jackson’s stage name, “50 Cent,” and NFL player, Tim Tebow’s famous “Tebowing” pose.) Nevertheless, while trademarks are relatively common within Hollywood, Taylor Swift’s attempt to trademark her own lyrics is…