Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Arewa, Olufunmilayo B. "From J. C. Bach to Hip Hop: Musical Borrowing, Copyright, and Cultural Context." North Carolina Law Review 84 (January 2006): 547-645.

Current copyright laws do not adequately support the forms of musical borrowing prevalent in hip-hop. The use of pre-existing recordings in hip-hop samples simultaneously violates the protected rights of both the existing musical composition and the recording of that musical composition. Sampling continues to be viewed as theft rather than a source of innovation within music. Aesthetic values prevalent in hip-hop, such as oral tradition, textual emphasis, repetition, polyrhythm, and borrowing, need to be situated in a broader context of musical aesthetics and, consequently, legal treatment of borrowing practices. Treating hip-hop as theft or plagiarism robs it of its rightful place within the historical context of musical borrowing in many different kinds of music. Modifications to current copyright laws, such as payment structures and differentiation of different types of sampling, are necessary to address the legality of hip-hop sampling.

Works: Irving Gordon (songwriter), Natalie Cole (performer): Unforgettable (562); Beastie Boys: Pass the Mic (570-72); N.W.A.: 100 Miles and Runnin' (574-76); Biz Markie: Alone Again (580-81); Handel: Israel in Egypt (601-603, 610).

Sources: James Newton: Choir (570-72); George Clinton (songwriter), Funkadelic (performers): Get off Your Ass and Jam (574-76); Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Naturally) (580-81); Dionigi Erba: Magnificat (601-603, 610).

Index Classifications: General, 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Amanda Sewell

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