Copyright infringement is one of the most talked about topics in the music industry today, besides the ultimate “scammers”. Many people do not know what copyrights are, and have no idea that even sampling a beat or similar song from an artist, is considered to be an infringement. We see a lot of this going on more and more because artist, especially in the hip-hop/rap genres are providing us with “mix-tapes”, which go viral and they want to use those songs as actual records for fans to hear. It happens everyday, and recently has happened to Birdman.
Brian Williams, aka Birdman, owes over a half-million dollars in royalties to several different artists for copyright infringements, according to billboard.com. How one owes many artists, and is careless in what goes on with their music, boggles many individuals, but also does not surprise people at all. “It’s stealing”, according to Bob Hadley, author of podcast “Why you should Respect Copyrights” on iTunes. He explains that when you are “caught” infringing on a copyright, you will be notified and asked to comply with the request made by the owner. It is if you do not comply with the request that you will be then be forced to comply with the results of legal actions.
According to rotholtz.com, the Big Picture Blog reports the “Top Ten Issues in the Music Industry”. The article does not mention copyright infringements, but it does mention greed, lack of knowledge, and money in their top ten, which can easily justify copyrights, and why people do it. There could be a lack of knowledge from many artists or their managers/producers with the avenue to being an “artist” is so broad. An artist may get a hit off of another artist’s song, but has no clue about copyrights, or how they work, and could be subjected to infringements. The greed comes into play when an artist knowingly does it, and does not pay for the rights, because they simply do not want to. The last one being money can play a huge factor because newer artist or independent artist may not have the income to pay for the rights, and so they go with the infringement, with hopes of not being caught.
No matter if you are new to the industry or not, there are laws to help protect an artist for their originality and quality of their work. It is seen as ethical to follow proper procedures when wanting to sample an artist work, and if followed correctly, there will not be any problems. However, if not following the proper way, legal action can be taken against you. Just take a look at some of the most famous cases in the music industry, Vanilla Ice infringed once also.