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  • Theft, Transformation, and the Need of the Immaterial: A Proposal for a Fair Use Digital Sampling Regime

    From their inception in American copyright law, monopolies have been lamented as “the greatest nuisances in Government” and yet, in the same breath, recognized for promoting ingenuity. Digital sampling, the process of manipulating pre-existing sound recordings and incorporating them in one’s music, highlights their shortcomings. A practice that should be burgeoning due to a cultural and technological revolution, sampling is being smothered—with Congressional and judicial fiat—by opportunistic rights holders who are seldom the authors of the protected works. Creative samplers are branded as thieves under legislation that has been incoherent from the outset. Reform is sorely needed.