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Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal

Abstract

This note revisits the problem of digital sampling by musicians and the copyright law issues that arise from it. After briefly surveying the historical and technical aspects of digital sampling, the note asks the question: "are transformative digital samples art?" and answers in the affirmative. The note then looks at the goals and doctrine of copyright law, and how they are implicated by the digital sampling problem. Finally, the note advocates an expanded interpretation of the fair use copyright defense in digital sampling cases, arguing that such an expansion would both effectuate the goal of copyright enforcement and recognize the artistic and commercial independence of creative use of the digital sampling process.

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