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The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that copyright subsists in original literary, dramatic, artistic, musical works, sound recordings and films. The act confers upon copyright owners the five restricted, exclusive rights to control how, when or if their copyright works may be used. The restricted acts are as follows:

  • to copy the work
  • to issue copies of the work to the public
  • to perform, show or play the work in public
  • to broadcast the work or include it in a cable programming service
  • to make an adaptation of the work or to do any of the above in relation to an adaptation

MCPS guidelines suggest there are three 'rights' which must be taken into account when sampling:

1. The copyright in the original musical work
Permission must be given by the copyright owners of the musical works to be sampled (usually the music publisher). It is best to contact them directly but if details of the sample use are declared on an MCPS Application For Licence form, then MCPS will contact the copyright

owners concerned to help establish the initial contact.

2. The copyright in the sound recording or the 'Phonographic Right'
Permission must be given by the copyright owners of the sound recordings to be sampled (usually the record company).

3. The moral right
These are designed to protect an author's reputation. The author now has certain statutory rights including the right not to have his or her work subjected to derogatory treatment. This moral right is particularly important with regard to sampling as it gives the original author the right to decide if a copyright may be used. A further moral right is that of paternity, the right to be credited as the author/composer of a work.