November 17, 2006 | By Fred von Lohmann

Sample Trolls Killing Hip Hop?

Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu identifies an emerging threat to sample-based creativity in hip hop, the "sample troll":

The rise of rap presented a golden opportunity for Bridgeport. After years of demanding fees, in 2001, Bridgeport launched nearly 500 counts of copyright infringement against more than 800 artists and labels. The company, suing in Nashville, Tenn., located every sample of [George] Clinton or other owned copyrights it could find. It took the legal position that any sampling of a sound recording, no matter how minimal or unnoticeable, is still a violation of federal law. Imagine that the copyright owner of The Lord of the Rings had sued every fantasy book or magazine that dared used the words elf, orc, or troll. That gives you an idea of the magnitude of Bridgeport's campaign.

Apparently, having absconded with George Clinton's copyrights, Bridgeport is now shaking down artists like Jay-Z. Of course, lawsuits like this also make it harder for lesser-known sample-based artists to get distribution, radio play, and CD pressing services. Well worth reading the whole article.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Canadian officials have long resisted Hollywood demands to extend copyright terms. TPP threatens to make them cave: https://eff.org/r.2cfp

Jul 29 @ 9:56am

We're answering questions about cyber spying legislation on Reddit with @Accessnow, @fightfortheftr, and @ACLU now: https://eff.org/r.k5vj

Jul 29 @ 7:41am

In five minutes, join @EFF, @Access, @fightfortheftr, and @ACLU for a Reddit AMA on the "cybersecurity" bill CISA and privacy.

Jul 29 @ 6:56am
JavaScript license information