Updates
June 10, 2016
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just decided that sampling a song without permission does not necessarily infringe the copyright. Many artists have built careers by sampling an old song to create a new work. Until now, courts have told the artist to “get a license or do not sample.”

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in 2005 that there is no de minimus exception to sampling. The de minimus exception, which applies to the copyright law generally, states that if an artist borrowed an insignificant portion of an existing work, the artist did not infringe. The Sixth Circuit held that this exception did not apply to sampling. This meant that if an artist sampled a portion of a song that lasted a fraction of a second, the artist nonetheless infringed.

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