Where to draw the line with copyright?

Originally is something that comes so rarely nowadays, if you look into any kind of music, film or book you can find influences from everywhere. You listen to a Madonna song, you hear ABBA, you watch The Hunger Games, and you see Battle Royal, just about everything has influences from somewhere.

The question is, where do you draw the line? When is it counted as copying rather than ‘borrowing’ or using as inspiration? For everyone the line seems to be different. One example of music copyright is the Vanilla Ice vs. Queen and Bowie case, where Vanilla Ice changed the baseline to the classic song Under Pressure and used it in his song Ice Ice Baby. While Vanilla Ice may have thought this was justified as his own word Queen and Bowie begged to differ. This case never went to court as Vanilla Ice settled Queen and Bowie with an undisclosed amount of money, presumably very high. This is one example where it was quite obvious that copyright infringement had been broken but in some cases samples are taken from other songs to be used in an original piece.

Many DJ’s and aspiring artists take samples in order to create their work, and should this be allowed or should these artists be forced to pay for rights of the song? This is a much debated discussion as while the original artists may deserve recognition and payment for use of their song is it something this is truly possible for all to follow. For many aspiring artists sampling is the only way they are able to create their work and for some it is impossible for them to afford rights to a song. And on the other side, artists have made their money, they have been signed, should this mean that they should let others use their work that they have worked tirelessly on? These are questions that society needs to address in order to create a law that states clearly whether things like this should be allowed or not.

Until next time,
Kristine

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