Using samples from other albums - copyright issue?

Dan R

Apr 13, 2011
Ottawa, Canada
Hey everyone, probably a dumb question, but I figure it's best to be careful.

I'm working on some material that would really benefit from a kick like the Despised Icon sample that was posted a while back, but I can't help but feel like using a sample from another album without permission would be some kind of copyright violation. I figured it'd be best to check beforehand.

I doubt anyone would understand/care what kick you used as long as it sounds good.

Despised Icon: "Hey, have you heard this new xcore band? They seem good...wait a second, THAT'S OUR KICK LET'S SLAP THEM WITH A LAWSUIT!"

I think only Metallica would do that.
it most certainly is illegal. but who actually can hear you're using their kick is a different story.

i keep hearing this question much more in the electronic music realm, for obvious reasons, and in that realm it's also easier to get caught but still pretty fucking far-fetched.

i can only tell you to do what you think is right and always try to strive for that perfect kick sound so one day your kick will be great without the use of any samples.
The legality is actually debatable. A kick may well fall under fair use. Three notes is the minimum standard for infringement according to the precedent (Bridgeport v Dimension). In practice you'd have to have a hit record for anyone to care no matter what.
Yeah that's kinda what I figured, just figured I might as well check to be sure. Chalk it up to the Canadian-ness I guess.

cheers guys!
As long as you don't use these "stolen" samples you cut from an mp3 and call it your own, I don't see what the problem is.
If you're going to release something and copyright it and whatnot I'd at least get assurance from who made the sample you're using to make sure it's okay.
The amount of times the New Order kick has been used without permission in mainstream releases must uncountable - no legal action ever resulted.

I hear a dozen mixes on this forum a month that all use the Paramore kick sample.
The kick will most likely sound completely different on your mix than it did on the Despised Icon mix.

Besides that, never understood why people want to use kicks from an existing album. It's easy to have the Slate library, yes, I admit. I really enjoyed the (multitrack-ogg) "mogg" era because you had all the seperate kicks and snares and occassionally toms. I never copied or used them but I used them to try and achieve the same myself with an actual snare or kick. But I guess if you're just stuck in a room limited to a computer, guitar and a DI it ofcourse will help you a lot just using the samples.