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9th Circuit upholds ruling allowing music sampling by Beastie Boys

[JURIST] The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused on Tuesday to reconsider a decision it made last year that the music group Beastie Boys could use short samples of others' music in its own songs. The practice of "sampling" has become widespread in the music industry. The 9th Circuit ruled in 2003 [PDF] that the group had not violated copyright law in using the sample, for which it had paid a license fee. In denying the rehearing, the court wrote:

Because Beastie Boys' use of the sound recording was authorized, the sole basis of Newton's infringement action is his remaining copyright interest in the "Choir" composition. We hold that Beastie Boys' use of a brief segment of that composition, consisting of three notes separated by a half-step over a background C note, is not sufficient to sustain a claim for infringement of Newton's copyright in the composition "Choir". We affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment on the ground that Beastie Boys' use of the composition was de minimis and therefore not actionable.
Read the court's order [PDF]. Reuters has more.

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