Moby Sued Over Alleged Unlicensed Samples – After 22 Years

moby-as-deranged-naked-gun-manMoby is looking a little pissed off! Could it be because he’s getting sued over alleged unlicensed sample use – after 22 years?

According to a Hollywood Reporter article, Moby is being sued by VMG Salsoul, a New York-based disco and funk record label. They say that Moby included unlicensed samples on his 1992 songs, “Next is the E” and “Thousand.”

In a lawsuit filed in California on Monday, the plaintiff claims that both 22-year-old songs include unlicensed samples of “Let No Man Put Asunder” performed by Philadelphia girl group First Choice.

The latest legal action targets Moby (real name: Richard Melville Hall), Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Warner Music Group and Knitting Factory Records. The plaintiff demands statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each allegedly willful infringement plus profits and attorneys’ fees.

Think 22 years is a little long to wait to complain about sampling? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

147 thoughts on “Moby Sued Over Alleged Unlicensed Samples – After 22 Years

    1. There is a reason copyright law allows for 70 years…to allow time for music to be analysed etc.
      therefore not as though they waited 69.5 years to sue…that would be unlucky…

  1. He really should have got permission to use the samples.
    How would you feel if you were in the position of the original artist?
    Does matter how many years had passed, i’d still be pissed!

  2. Like many artists of that era, in his early career Moby was NOT very careful with who he sampled and getting those samples cleared.

    He’s likely getting caught here and now has to pay the piper.

    As to the question of “How long is too long?”, put yourself in the shoes of the person who was ripped off and it’s not at all hard to understand why they would want to be compensated:

    Imagine if you discovered that a well-known artist had made a lot of money from songs that had sampled your own personal music that you worked really hard to create and release. Would it really matter when you discovered that you had not been compensated and that the artist had not bothered to ask permission, get clearance or pay you for you work?

    Of course not!

    You’d want to paid….right?

  3. I think the statute of limitations has probably expired in this case. I would be surprised if they could actually go forward with the suit.

    1. I don’t think you guys realize that it isn’t the actual sampled artist attempting to sue Moby, but a company that more than likely came into the rights of the music via purchase of a back catalogue.

      Even if Moby has to pay the artist wont see a cent of that money, only big corporation will.

      Some of you are so damn thick about how this stuff works.

      1. It is convenient to think that “big corporation” goes around screwing everyone and everything in its path, and certainly makes it easier to classify good versus bad, but that’s actually not how things always work. The artists would certainly stand to benefit substantially compensation-wise if a lawsuit compiling 22 years worth of copyright infringement licensing fees plus were to be won.

        1. You realize record companies screw the artists themselves generally leaving them with less than 10% of the net prophet of their sales? Records companies are bigger swindlers than lawyers.

          I think you need to read up on copyright trolls. Specifically those linked to the riaa, and see just how much the artist gets in these instances. I can assure you its generally a bit fat .0.

          1. Agree with this whole-heartedly. I’m sure that the artist will probably see nothing from this. I wouldn’t be surprised if this lawsuit is coming up now – specifically – because the artists rights have been recently remanded to the publisher, allowing the publisher or new rights holder to take all the settlement money. The music industry has a long history of screwing the artist … otherwise would Macklemore have written the following?

            —from the song “Jimmy Lovine” —

            He said, “We’ve been watching you, so glad you could make it
            Your music, it’s so impressive, and this whole brand you created
            You’re one hell of a band, we here think you’re destined for greatness
            And with that right song we all know that you’re next to be famous
            Now I’m sorry, I’ve had a long day, remind me now what your name is?
            That’s right, ‘Macklemore,’ of course… today has been crazy
            Anyway, you ready? We’ll give you a hundred thousand dollars
            After your album comes out, we’ll need back that money that you borrowed”

            “So it’s really like a loan?”

            “Alone?! Come on, no
            We’re a team, 360 degrees, we will reach your goals!
            You’ll get a third of the merch that you sell out on the road
            Along with a third of the money you make when you’re out doing your shows
            Manager gets twenty, booking agent gets ten
            So shit, after taxes, you and Ryan have 7% to split!
            That’s not bad, I’ve seen a lot worse
            No one will give you a better offer than us”

            “Mm-hm,” I replied, “I appreciate the offer
            Thought that this is what I wanted
            Rather be a starving artist
            Than succeed at getting fucked”

            1. What I meant to conclude with is that he should pay the creatives directly as a matter of ethics and bypass the copyright troll who is undoubtedly behind the lawsuit. (not that there would be any legal standing in this, but it would be the right thing to do).

              1. I agree that the artist due to the fact that they weren’t properly asked are rightful to compensation.

                However, it is quite frightening that the music industry’s new business venture has gone from downright archaic to litigious. The fact that it is the record company suing and not the artist themselves is even more of an indication that the artist more than likely doesn’t even own the rights to their own music. So the artist in question may not even be fully aware (or alive in this instance :P) that this lawsuit is even occurring.

                What is now a common occurance (the purchase of copyrights for the sake of profit through litigation) is a gross abuse of the judicial system.

                Also we have to consider the facts on this particular sample. Moby was far from a household name prior to “Play”, and more than likely didn’t have the means or the know how in which to contact the sampled artist for permission. Nevermind the fact that there was far less a threat of being sued for sampling at that time as that wasn’t the music industry’s business model till fairly recently.

                Instead of innovation, and finding a new way in which to strive and make profit. Record companies would rather beat (sue) the money out of people.

      2. The “VMG” in “VMG Salsoul” refers to “Verse Music Group”, who handles licensing for Salsoul Records. But Salsoul Records still retains ownership over their catalogue, and in all likelihood part of that ownership includes provisions for the artist to be included in earnings from licensing. It’s also likely that Salsoul Records employed VMG so that they could have them look in to these kinds of cases specifically, and help them earn more cash.

      3. The label doesn’t get to buy the ownership of the song entirely, they will still have to pay royalties to the artist. The artist can sue them if they believe the company have withheld royalties owed.

      1. Actually, suits have limitations.The key wording in the copyright act is “after the claim accrued”:

        17 U.S. Code § 507 – Limitations on actions

        (a) Criminal Proceedings.— Except as expressly provided otherwise in this title, no criminal proceeding shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within 5 years after the cause of action arose.

        (b) Civil Actions.— No civil action shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within three years after the claim accrued.

  4. 2 sides yes.. I agree I would be pissed if someone jacked my samples, however no one has even heard of that crap he sampled until he made it popular. Moby still rocks. Hopefully he doesnt get shafted too hard.

    1. Disagree. To say “nobody has even heard of that crap” about Let No Man Put Asunder is a bit ignorant. It was an extremely popular song. However, I do agree that an artist should pay for sample usage. Unfortunately, sample laws are not (in most cases) retroactive to cover songs made before the laws existed as well as in this case, the statute of limitations most probably will benefit Moby’s side.

      1. Statute of limitations be damned, copyright law will still cover it. Case here in Australia of a pop-rock song from the 80’s apparently used a small melody line of an Oz folk song from the 60’s? (Long time ago) which was upheld by the courts. Pay up Moby!!!

    2. Disagree. To say “nobody has even heard of that crap” about Let No Man Put Asunder is a bit ignorant. It was an extremely popular song. However, I do agree that an artist should pay for sample usage. Unfortunately, sample laws are not (in most cases) retroactive to cover songs made before the laws existed.

      1. Not to mention its not Moby’s choice to make them more popular which is the issue. If you want to license to Moby you can, if you dont want to then dont. He doesnt have the right to just say ‘Im going to do it anyway because I dont think they’d care, I dont know how, or no one has heard it anyway.’ Just because you like Moby doesnt make it right. Im fairly sure someone owned those copyrights 22 years ago, the owner of the songs has the right to do whatever they like with them. You dont have the right to make money off of music you dont own. Liking hip hop doesnt give anyone the right. Turntable culture existing doesnt make it right. Because more people like the song that sampled doesnt give anyone the right. Thats not getting shafted, thats him having to pay dues to the owner of the songs he made money from.

  5. wonder what made them suddenly realise those samples were used….had they only just listened to the tracks?….very odd and way too long ot leave it, just another example of the hyper litigious culture we all now live in….it sucks ass and i hope moby doesn’t have to pay them a cent.

    1. I think the technology for detecting sample usage, particularly when samples are distorted or hidden behind new musical elements, has improved significantly in the last five years or so. For a plaintiff thinking of going to court it was probably more risky to go in to court previously, without this technology backing-up their claims.

  6. Wow! Nearly everybody has missed the point here. The issue is not that of time, but of honesty. What Moby did is wrong, plain and simple. Whenever something is sampled and used commercially, the sample needs to be cleared by both the label (master) and the writer (copyright). As long as people continue to skate around the rules and laws that are in most cases there to protect intellectual property, then we all get screwed. For those of you making the comments about hoping that Moby doesn’t have to pay, well you’re a major part of the equation in why the system doesn’t work. Such ignorance. If somebody lifted Moby’s material, I can guarantee you that he would also go after them… see the irony? I love Moby’s early material, and saw him many times in the early 90’s, such a massive talent.

      1. However on his “Mobygratis” site he clearly stipulates that the music must be used for “non-profit” purposes. The irony being he made money off of others work!

    1. I think this comment misses the point. In 1992 no one seemed to care about sampling. Correct me if my memory is inaccurate, but the major lawsuit against (mostly) hip hop producers that started the whole controversy over sampling wasn’t until 94 or so.

      In those days everyone was ripping samples and no one was batting an eye. I don’t think the fledgling label Instinct had much of a plan for money that moving 1000 units.

      This probably has to do with Moby attempting to clear samples for a reissue or some unscrupulous LLC picking up bulk copyright licenses for the purpose of starting lawsuits or reselling to reissue labels. Forgotten funk is jig business these days.

      Case in point: De La Soul’s give away of their back catalog this year. Most of those records are out of print. They couldn’t track down clearances for all the samples for reissues so they just made it all free.

      1. Also look into all the instances where artists can’t access for reissue their own back catalogs because 3rd or 4th generation copyright holders are charging excessive amounts of money to use material they legally own bat had no part in the writing or production of.

        Case in point: Inner City Unit. The owner of that band couldn’t post his music online for free because an LLC exerted copyright ownership over the material. That LLC owned the material from 3 mergers of different record labels.

        Or for how long did Michael Jackson own the copyrights to the entire Beatles catalog?

        How about the recent scandal with the entire SST and subsidiary label family’s copyrights? Bands who had been posting their own music on youtube were hit with tons of cease and desist notices by a 3rd party that had no intention of making commercially available said recordings, but was ready to sue the original content producers over infringement for posting on websites. And these were recordings that had been out of print for more than 22 years. I think there’s an interview with Bob Ostertag from about a year ago posted on here where he talks about his experience. And it nothing to actually do with his old label, it was a law firm representing who ever owned the publishing rights that was ambulance chasing these instances.

      2. About the De La Soul thing: giving records away for free doesn’t eliminate the copyright issues. You have to get the permission of the Copyright holder wether you charge for your records or not.

  7. As it is quite hard to find out if something is sampled and where are the samples from and because usually rights are reserved for the author for 70 years then this is fair I think.

  8. They put as much work into making their music as he into his. If someone sampled his work you can be damn sure he’d want paying. This whole music for free thing makes me puke. Grow up kids.

    1. Actually, he released stems and project files for an entire album, and encouraged any and all use of them.

      I’m a musician and I am anti-copyright laws.

      1. we all are musicians, the question is how much of your income do earn by selling your own music

        its different if its your job.
        music is not part of my job, so if anyone uses my music for their own tracks, who cares.

        but with copyrights its the same as if i sit in my office 9h a day, and at the end of the month some other random guy comes in, gives my boss his bank account and my boss advances him some money that i worked for.

        thats completely different

      2. Youre anti-copyright laws…how many copyrights do you own to have that black & white perspective? If you owned your music you may know why its important to own your music.

  9. Sorry, but MOBY has never been particularly original in his music making. I’m not surprised that he needs to plagiarise in order to be popular.
    If people think sampling is creative, then maybe they should create samples rather than just riding their tracks on the back of other peoples’ creativity.

    1. YES!

      i know so many djs that call themself producers but cant sell their songs because of sample clearance.

      if you cant make your own music, please dont steal stuff of people that can.

      easy as that.

      no one “has” to make music, just stop stealing ..

    2. And playing an instrument doing the same chord progression than thousands others is more creative???
      Come on man, just be serious!! Being creative is trying to stretch ideas, get lost in the process or the sound…whathever you can do that gets you curious, I mean it’s not up to me to say what it is…
      But you know how it goes, you can copy something and then start being creative with it as much as you can create something new and then conform it to an arrangement that make it sound like everything else.
      Sure if you use others people material, it should be clear and if you use a four bar loop straight that stays on all the song, well it’s hard to be creative might find an awesome melody on it singing.
      Being honest is an other story though.

  10. Pretty sure the statute of limitations on copyright infringement is three years from the date when said infringement should reasonably have been discovered.

      1. Thats criminal cases. This would be a civil case. They are still within their rights as they are filing the suit within 3 years of the claim of infringement.

        1. The way it’s written it looks like the SOL would have run but I’t will all depend on the case law. It could be that the infringement is deemed ongoing because sale of the “product” is still ongoing.

          It seems to me like the courts wouldn’t want that though, because then people could try to bring claims for copyright infringement at any time. That would open the doors to A LOT of suits.

  11. As long as there is not a “statute-of-limitations,” then this little prick SHOULD pay up! Here’s the thing: If you are any sort of audio-artist that is offering a piece of audio-art for sale, you should have the common decency to CLEAR YOUR SAMPLES BEFORE YOU RELEASE A SONG! Hell, even make your own samples… those kind never cost anything but time… But if you’re going to STEAL from another audio-artist the royalties due HIS OR HER OR THEIR OWN HARD STUDIO TIME, the truth will eventually come out, then well fuck-you-buddy; pay-up! Every last iota that is due!

  12. 0h so Mody doesn’t own a piece of quantum science. a piece of atoms… a piece of the indescribable… well shame on him, he must be punished!

  13. Intellectual property is owned by the content creator. Theft of work is still theft, and hoping you never get caught is foolish. Moby was stupid. He should pay for using other’s work to make himself a success. Love his work, but the “DJ culture” that thinks anything on vinyl is fairgame to steal without learning to actually play the track, deserves the legal morass they land in. Do good to others, and all will be done good to you … or whatever. He should pay up.

  14. I don’t think what Moby did was wrong in the slightest. I think artists should be able to sample other artists without fear of repercussion, as long as they take it in a new direction. In the old days of blues and rock people used to “borrow” each others ideas all the time. It used to be artist would commonly take licks, riffs, chord progressions, or even integral melodies from other artists work. This wasn’t typically viewed as plagiarism, or unlicensed distribution, but was viewed as a sign of respect. Sampling in a lot of ways is the same thing. By sampling just a little bit of another artist’s song and taking it in a different direction, not only do you acknowledge the original artists work, but you share that with your listeners who may not know of it otherwise.

    1. Congratulations, that is one of the dumbest and most inane passages I have read all year. Are you really this stupid? So stealing is not a sign of respect? What if you were at a restaurant and someone decided to sample a little of your plate, as a sign of respect for the wonderful dish you had before you? What if someone decided to sample your girlfriend or in your case boyfriend since they were merely respecting your choice and taste?

      Surely you are not this obtuse. Then again…..

      You want to sample, borrow, lift or use a bar, a riff or even a sound from another’s work seek permission. Pay for it, and if they refuse, GUESS what create your own riff, bar,, sound!

      1. He or she is right though, the beatles, the stones, eric clapton and a whole load of others who are now seen as legends got their start doing covers, blues, r&b, early rock, jazz has been fueling popular music for an age. Nearly every generation builds off the work of previous generations, this is how it’s been from the start.

        Now if this process is interrupted to much by greed, either way, I feel music will become even more disposable than it is now, sampling is a continuation of an age old tradition and can be, as is with all human endeavours, very creative to very dull, predictable and lazy. There needs to be a balance and fair usage laws for the sake of personal creative development.

        1. a cover is not the same as sampling, you know that dont you ?

          when you cover a band you tell the audience that its a cover

          when you sample without naming the band you sampled from, you make the audience believe that you created something that you did not create

          1. I cannot believe this is actually being debated. No one, NO ONE has a God given right to use someone else’s work without consent and or compensation NO MATTER HOW STRONGLY THEY “FEEL” they are contributing creatively or enhancing it. It is absurd that some here feel that music is a free expression and thus should be shared “freely” and wish to transpose this belief onto others.

            I have always sought permission to samples, it is both the ethical and honourable thing to do. Pure and simple. And if I was not granted permission, then I simply moved on! Why would I want to use someone’s work when they do not want me to use it?

            It amazes me that some feel that they are entitled to another person’s creation. And you are spot on “inevitablecrafts”…”Joe” and “Mister-rz” you are both unbelievably clueless and stated candidly, incredibly stupid.

            1. RIGHT ON! 😉

              Now what we should all really do is “jump day” … and let’s all sample the synth riff from van Halen’s “Jump” and everybody post a song with that sample riff in it. Wouldn’t that be fun ?

        2. There are still plenty of cases of people using licks and riffs as a sign of respect. Aside from the fact some people just have a signature scale they use… talking the way it was done in the 50’s is a completely different ball game. Completely different era with different laws, different methods of distribution, different customer base, and a different scale of revenue. Thats also ignoring the fact that you’re siting incidents where people actually had respect for each other, there are still plenty of times people were just plain out ripped off and had to just deal with it because the laws didnt protect that sort of thing. Case in point, Led Zeppelin. Some of the last hurdle left in protecting ones work is the time length. Is there any respect worth having for John WIlliams using pocket score libraries to piece together his work simply because the pieces are a few hundred years old? Nope. Fuuuuuuck that. Plagiarism after 250 years is still plagiarism. Especially in a day where there isn’t that respect between artists as much, sampling is faceless. It can have respect, but too many are arguing for the right to sample faceless, without respect. Thats just silly and cheap. If my work gets used for free its because I say so.

    2. Yeah, I get it.
      If you want borrow something and rremake it I think it can be fine. And covering is yet another thing. We’re talking licks, chords with specific rythmic pattern, things that can define a song without being the whole stuff.
      But if the other artist payed for players to record, studio time, engineers to help achieve the result he wanted, etc…And you copy the audio coming out of this process
      Well then you got to pay!!!!
      My point of view of course

    3. The likes are “Joe” and others who feel that they are entitled to use someone else’s work regardless how the duration of the sample, are the same parasitic elements within our society that extrapolate that if they do not own something they can simply take away from someone else that does.

      True respect would insist and demand that we seek permission from one another before using something that was created by another. Would you allow some random person to “sample” your car, or your house or anything that belonged to you without seeking permission? That is at the very least what they should do.

      Amazing to me is that some have difficulty with this notion. It is the same type of person that simply believes that “Warez” use is a right. That if they disagree with the pricing or simply the notion of paying for something entitles to simply take it.

      1. Calling people “incredibly stupid” and “parasitic” while cheering on someone who, a few messages later, equated copyright infringement to sexual assault and reckoned he could sue for $150K over a magical kick drum sound that someone would bother to sample, kinda rings like rabid zealotry rather than level-headed discussion about rights and limits to those rights. No one has managed to unlock the Godwin’s Law achievement on Moby in this thread, but given the rhetoric, it’s a-comin’.

        1. I believe it is incredibly presumptuous of some to assume that sampling someone else’s work is a sign of respect and the original artist should somehow be grateful for the exposure! And then further insisting that no compensation is due and that music creation and thereby the content is and should be free for others to pilfer as they please, I find simply grotesquely unjust and unethical.

          I have heard many talented sampling artists, and I have admired their re-interpreted creations based on the original composition. Yet all of them, without exception, certainly those I have worked with, have cleared the samples.

          I do not know the particulars of Moby’s case, yet I am far more troubled by the entitled notion of some that they have a right to sample from someone else. That to me is simply unconscionable!

          1. Thank you. I find this response much more level-headed, and I respect it. I generally agree that created works should be protected, but when the language to defend that opinion gets accusatory, pompous, ALL CAPS, and in the sexual assault comparison, ridiculous and disrespectful, I tend to start thinking the other side might have a point. I also think that anyone who waits 22 years to report that their house or car has been “sampled” is a bit slow on the uptake.

            I don’t know the samples involved (I think I’ve heard three Moby songs total), but Moby should follow the law.

            I’m unaware of someone copyrighting a kick drum, a cough, or some vinyl noise. That’s the extreme view that some in the pro-copyright camp here seem to have. I certainly disagree with that. What if I take half a second from one synth note at the end of a hit record? What about a bird chirp from a five minute bit of nature someone intro’d another song with? Shouldn’t they be putting money into the nature conservancy since they sampled the bird? I’m not being ironic, actually. Payback should be complete if we’re going to insist like this.

            To me, it makes sense that riffs, rhythms, and melodies are protected. I’m just curious to know (not facetiously, but seriously), how many copyright proponents here have used the Amen break or the work of one Clyde Stubblefield in their compositions. Doing so would be a little hypocritical in the face of all this sound and fury.

  15. I think what happened is a company bought the Salsoul catalogue and this is how they plan to try and make additional revenue from it. In their own words: “Verse Music Group is an acquisition platform created to purchase music-related intellectual property rights and other assets.” It’s run by Curtis Frasca. They were in the news not so long ago for filing suit alleging samples from a Salsoul record were used on Vogue by Madonna (they lost: Frasca was an assistant engineer for the recording of Vogue, so he must have known what samples they used, but it seems it didn’t do any good. They’ve also been going after people who have posted Salsoul tracks on youtube, although they may have eventually realized that isn’t very lucrative.

    1. Your assessment is fair enough yet I don’t think that harsh language or vernacular should dissuade you from the logic nor justness of the argument.

  16. this site needs more LOVE, not our sweet humble moby holding a GUN.. its an awful photo…
    no but seriously i came to compliment the photo.

  17. Let’s put it the other way: is the free use of samples for 22 years long enough? I feel for new artists that can’t use samples because they can afford to clear them and people sue if you don’t clear. But let’s face it, Moby has made a fair bit off those samples and can now afford to pay them for it. What does he owe them? That’s negotiable, but payment is long overdue. Fair’s fair.

  18. Well Skinny Puppy and Thrill Kill Kult and every other industrial band from the late 80s early 90s is screwed if this happens to Moby. The difference was back then artist to didn’t rip off beats, grooves, and snippets of others songs and then claim it was ‘theirs’.

    1. Except that those bands were professionals on real labels…its a fantasy if you think most of that wasnt cleared. Im sure there was plenty that wasnt but in the 80’s and 90’s there was also a lot of effort made to use free domain and fair use. Dont think because people dont care now that people didnt care back then… I assure you Waxtrax, being a fairly decent selling label, cleared everything they needed to. You can find many incidents of industrial acts from that period not releasing things do to copyrights or changing the samples they used. Infringements came up at times and in the case the song was not used or the paid up. That simple. Ever seen the video for Warlock? =)

      1. Zombitron, I can assure you that Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, etc. didn’t clear ANY of the samples they took from B-movies, shortwave radio, and TV. Those were considered “found sounds.”

  19. The statute of limitations for civil copyright infringement is three years from when the infringement is discovered, or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.[73] In continuing infringement case, “[e]ach act of infringement is a distinct harm giving rise to an independent claim for relief.”[74]

    The question of whether the “discovery rule” or the “injury rule” applies to determine when a civil cause of action accrues under the Copyright Act is a legal one. Under the discovery rule, a “cause of action accrues ‘when the plaintiff discovers, or with due diligence should have discovered, the injury that forms the basis for the claim.’”[75] Under the injury rule, a cause of action accrues at the time of the injury.[76]

  20. I really do not care about the law and I do not like Moby, but this whole sample thing is silly. So someone takes a couple of seconds of a song or a movie that no one recognizes to do something totally creative and is considered delinquent and a whole demand for thousands or millions of dollars. There comes a rapper without imagination full of dirty money as Puff Dady or Will I am pirating an entire song and only bothered to put some “hu!, come on!, and yheas!” above and they are considered a revolutionary producers. Anyway, the talent, the laws and polularidad not go together.

  21. Knowing how record labels work, I’m assuming that $149,000 will go to the label and $1000 will go to the original artist if they’re lucky, though all $150,000 will come out of Moby’s pocket. As such I am opposed to this lawsuit.

  22. So basically as long as I use a sampler to record something and not tell anyone that is ethically OK? I don’t think Moby would be too pleased if I sampled all his albums to MP3, not that most of them are a load of [email protected] anyway.

  23. There is only one problem here: lawyers and labels trying to get hold of any kind of money the can, driven by greed. As anyone leading the big music industry corporation tends to be more driven by greed for money than by the love to music.
    Moby might be guilty, might not be, this way of sueing has nothing to do with anything being justified on a humane level, it’s pure abuse of laws at it happens in media most above anything else.

  24. To be sampled must be one of the greatest recognition for a person!!!
    Why charge for that?? The owner to the sample should thank the artist!!
    I understand that bootlegging is stealing. But a sample!!
    People just want to make music in a new way!!

  25. This is just more hawkish lawyer bullshit. Teams of lawyers are constantly looking for any possible infringement in the name of creative justice, but we all know it’s simply about sucking every last money pot dry.

    My ex girlfriend worked at a tiny coop grocery market, and she told me that some suites from some media company came into the store one day and basically told them that they could no longer play cd’s or records anymore, or they were going to be sued! These corporate media organizations are fucking vampires.

    1. and they didnt know about fair use laws so they stopped playing the CD’s or they told them this does not count as public performance and they can fuck off?

  26. Look at the works of graphic artists like Warhol and Rauschenberg, who copied images from print media and used them in their art, in ways not intended by the originators of the source material – they were never sued by the media companies that published the source material. Copyright law as applied to audio recordings, in this day and age, is broken – it stifles rather than engenders creativity, it’s a sad state of affairs.

    I’m wonder if an Artist can say “No” – I don’t want you to use a piece of my music in your music???
    ‘Your music is shit and I actually hate it’ .. or something like this???

    I’m not talking about Moby music in this case but in general if you create music and you just don’t want to be sampled CAN YOU SAY NO?

  28. The sampling debate always struck me as rather silly. In my humble opinion, the important question is: did the original artist lose anything due to the sampling? Did the existence of the track using the sample impact the market for the original track? In the case in question here, I would think that the answer is “no”; if anything, it might have introduced new listeners to the original. This kind of use ought to be permitted, either for free or through some simple and affordable licensing system similar to the one applying to covers. Unfortunately, the law says otherwise.

  29. I believe it actually depends on how the court view the statute of limitations for copyright infringement. Some will use the ‘discovery rule’, which is limited to 3 years from when the infringement was discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered) some courts will use the ‘injury rule’, whic is limited to 3 years after the infringement ceases, i.e. After Moby/his label/his publisher stop exploiting/selling/giving away the tracks. Someone also mentioned 5 years, which I believe can apply for criminal proceedings, I can’t think of an occasion where an uncleared sample would warrant a criminal case.

    Personally I think they should just agree a retroactive clearance and pay a portion of any royalties earned, possibly legal fees as he’s given it away for free. $150k per infringement in damages is nuts. They can’t argue there’s much, if any, loss of credit so all they’ve really lost out on is royalties.

  30. Same thing happened to the Australian band “Men At Work” and their “Down Under” hit song from 1982.
    27-years after it was a world wide hit, someone reckoned that the flute-riff was identical to a children’s song written in the 30’s by a school teacher. The publishing company who owned the copyrights won the case.

  31. Did y’all copyright-protecters above even heard those song? I mean, ‘Thousand’ have nothing in common with the original song, not a single note (wonder, how they find out the source?). There is a repeating oneshot ‘ohhyeah’, which is not a melodic line or something original at all. How many of you guys have sampled one-shot kicks, for example? Are you feeling $150K guilty?

    1. If I record a kick drum Im feelin it’s worth $150K if you wanna use it without asking. Thats just saying ‘Its not the rapist’s fault because he didnt care he was raping’.

  32. This just in: Moby is suing Synthtopia for $150,000 over alleged unlicensed photo of him with a gun in an article about Moby being sued for $150,000 about alleged unlicensed samples 22 years later. J/K

  33. Copyright laws will cave in on themselves eventually, and many advocate for this as then one could remix anything with anything which opens up the doors for creativity. Nothing is original, we all borrow ideas we heard from other songs, even if only subliminally. And so it is felt that perhaps there would be greater creative freedom if the pretenses of copyright was dropped.

    I didn’t know how I feel about that. I hate the idea of someone dropping Harry Potter into one of their novels, badly imitating him, rather than protecting the original quality of the work by j.k.rowling.

    And I think if someone takes my song, changes the genre and twists the words to mean the opposite of what I intended, I’d be pretty pissed, even more so if they were able to make a fortune off it and I get nothing even though it is recognise ably a rip off of my work. But perhaps that notion will become old fashioned.

    I don’t want Sony records to make a fortune off my hard work and never have to pay me a cent though. I Think that model benefits the corporation who can promote the work more widely, a lot more than the artist who has a more limited reach of audience. In the end corporations would have remix factories, changing artists works, selling them, and never giving the artist a cent.

    Sounds like a nightmare to me.

  34. I can create my own material, so I feel no need to sample in this manner at all. It would be nice if you could occasionally give a brief nod to something you liked, but the blatant repetition within a lot of contested songs does make it look like a cheap rip. I also choose to avoid it because the world is always poised to all but sh*t a freighter over the smallest imagined slight. Between the pettiness and the vermin-ridden Law, screw it. I like me, so why would I poison my own well by inviting lawyers into it? 🙂 Besides, its funny to see 70s funk ripped by 2013 artists to create techno-hop that was getting old when Howard Jones was doing it in the 80s. If you can’t be original enough not to fall into this sort of sand trap to begin with, welllll….

    1. > “If the British hadn’t borrowed words from Dutch, German and French, we wouldn’t be speaking English right now.”

      Yeah and if I hadn’t “borrowed” my neighbor’s bicycle for 3 days when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have gotten busted for theft. Have you ever had something stolen? Didn’t feel very good, did it? You can try to dress it up all you like, but in the end, thieves eat sh*t. The fees for such uses are generally ridiculously high anyway, but the legal costs for misuse are far higher. There’s no upside to this at all.

  35. It’s just not right people.

    And really there is a difference between simulating tones with your own sources/instrument (aka cover or riff regurgitation) and simply taking someone’s property (MASTER RECORDING) and re-purposing it for profit which is exactly what happened here.

    Does anyone know if Moby is actually contesting this use and refusing to pay a sampling fee?

  36. Fuck VMG Salsoul!!!! They should have made this claim YEARS ago. Sounds to me like a cash grab from a washed up label.

    1. Out of principle i hope Moby does not pay..Goodness me, we will need to stop our children singing in the street in case they are mistaken for being ‘HAPPY’ ,,,People obviously still have not got the message that ”there is no Gold” I wish people would get a good verbal constructive conversation about the future of Our Universe…You loved David Bowie and Kurt Cobain…Aw, The man who sold the world..How come people are so evil when money is involved…Money has killed our world

  37. Growing up listening to techno as a kid, Hearing Thousand in a club for the first time blew me away, and i still love that track. This is nuts. Oddly, the song that the supposed sample was taken from has other samples i recognize from songs of the same era. but my memory is curiously fuzzy

  38. Well I think this is a big pile BS. What if in the year 2050 I decide to sample a track from 1968? Who the f*ck cares? I am not copying the whole track, just sampling a few milliseconds of it. I mean, he’s not selling crack here!

    1. It is not yours you cheap bastard! It does not belong to you, if you think you are so bloody talented, create your own sample from scratch you degenerate. And please do not procreate!

      1. I know this is an old debate, but, in 2050 the 75 year copyright from 1969 will have well and truly expired.. so.. yes, it is his to do what he wants with.

  39. Why is this still being debated? I thought we moved on from the whole sample=theft thing a LONG time ago, like Amen Break days. For the neanderthals out there who still can’t comprehend the idea of sampling in music, consider the fact that the big winners in these lawsuits are lawyers and record company execs, not the artists how actually composed and played the music.

    1. So by your outmoded logic, only the lawyers are greedy in this process? Not Moby who did not clear the sample and has not compensated the original artist? You are sad, and you have the gall to call anyone a Neanderthal.

    2. And for the record F*cknut, I am a working DJ, internationally ranked and only 24! I am not some older bloke that doesn’t get it, I just have a sense of fairness. If I use someone’s work, and release it commercially, my label get’s it cleared and we compensate the artist and publisher!

  40. Bottom line for me-
    Sampling a piece (no matter when it originated) is still a hell of a lot more honest than the rampant plagiarism that is today’s music scene. Just because you are the one playing the c chord doesn’t make you original. Producers sample because of the character or aesthetic of the sound, not the necessarily the notes or choice of instrument.
    Anti sampling folks- get over yourselves. Chances are no one will ever want to sample your “original composition” anyway…
    That said, this is nothing more than a cash grab. Go Moby!!!!!

  41. The sample i. Question, as far as the track “1000” is concerned is the lead singer of First Choice singing “aaaayeaaaahh” I’m pretty sure Moby wouldn’t have used that sample unless it allready had entered the club music cannon. It had been sampled numerous times before. “1000” is far away from the car-advert stuff he’s known for now, it was more like a piss take on the Dutch Gabba scene consisting only of a hard kickdrum, claps, a sinister chord and that vocal sample looped. I much rather see people sampling records they have affection towards and making music that represents themselves and their influences than even more stock samplepack, unoriginal EDM garbage

  42. I don’t have a problem with sampling unless it takes what makes the song unique. If they take a riff or big part of a track that someone composed, and then use that riff to make a new song (Under pressure – Ice ice baby or its a fine day vocal for instance), I think the Artists deserves to be asked if it’s ok or compensated if they ask. If it’s a small drum beat, or instrument part that really doesn’t make the song, then it’s no big deal in my opinion (Funky Drummer).

    In this case the vocal is so prominent in those songs, yet it’s just a short sample. Vocal samples are a bit different than musical samples, the voice is more personal and having your singing in a song that someone has made money off of might be more concerning than someone sampling your drum part of instrument solo. It’s not like Moby did a Daft Punk Robot Rock, where it literally is a large part of the original song. if it was me that was sampled i wouldn’t care in this case, but it’s not my voice either. I remember listening to thousand quite a bit.

    Sadly, thanks to Sonny Bono’s copyright law, even the oldest material is fair game for lawsuits..

    1. “If it’s a small drum beat, or instrument part that really doesn’t make the song, then it’s no big deal in my opinion (Funky Drummer).”


      Are you saying that the drum beat, or the drum break, of “Funky Drummer” doesn’t make the song?? Well, if that’s so, why do so many people make songs from it? And would you feel that way if you were Clyde Stubblefield or Jabo Sparks? Playing three hundred nights a year on the road for decades (putting up with James Brown for not a whole lot of money), developing a sound, groove, and feel that is so profound that everybody, their brother, their sister, and their children wants it for themselves? And feels entitled to just take it? How would you feel about somebody just taking your thing and recycling it without even the courtesy of a thank you? These great men, who have contributed immeasurably to the world’s music, are still alive, and they are not wealthy. Not only that, they’re in the phone book. You could find them. And send them some bread.

      It’s not a big deal in your opinion because you have never paid the dues to get as good at what you do as the people you sample.

  43. Excusing sampling by saying “it’s common practice” is no excuse at all. Just because everybody steals doesn’t mean that stealing is legal. Or desirable. Or ethical. Make your own stuff. Or pay for it.

  44. “the voice is more personal?” Really? Not if you have ears. Zigaboo from the Meters has more personality in his drumming, and is more recognizable, than 99% of all female vocalists on dance records.

  45. have you tried clearing a sample lately…takes up to 2 years of bullshit back and forth only to be told the publishing is cleared but not the recording so then you have to replay the sample and by that time music has moved on. im not surprised he just went and did it.

    there needs to be an international House of Sample clearing website where you pay money and can clear any sample up to 5 seconds long or something instantly. its about bloody time someone did this. Im sure a lot more samples would be used and cleared officially this way and then creativity would not be stifled constantly with these threats to sue. this is 2014 for gods sake sampling has been around for 30+ years already you would think this would be sorted by now

  46. I really can see why this world is so so sick..People just thrive on a bit of bad news about someone else…I bet not a lot of people here know a lot about Moby..He is a very fair man who suffers his own mental illness.. Funny, but the good truth loving people are the ones who suffer from mental health..

    We cant be happy as we feel for our Mother Earth…Try going on to Mobys site and see how he tries to get involved..Not
    just in music, he tries to get pets adopted..I only know a little but will learn more about Moby…

    My son took his own life at 23, jumped from a tree at workone morning..The next year Moby released his album destroyed..
    I know there was an Angel at Mobys side…

    So something like this just makes me smile when i think the nutters that rule our countries, very badly may blow the world up..I just wish we could leave the animals as they would be just fine without ”the wise humans”

    Funny Moby, i just shared and tagged my friends in ‘Moby Gratis’..Where you have a site for people to use your music…

    Don’t change please…You are a God with all the beautiful music you produce…Your music brought me back from one long
    dark tunnel..Thank you!!

    I am disgusted at this..What is it, wont you join the sacrificing children for fun with the ‘charty musicians’ and world leaders…

    Respect Moby & all the musicians that work with you…

    And thanks for this site..i do art and would love your music in my videos…
    ”Moby Gratis
    Free music from Moby if for arts and no financial gain….
    i shared this about half an hour ago and this post came on it
    as a comment….

    It only takes one candle to light a room Moby

  47. He just used a tiny “Ooh Yeah” sample from it. Record label needing money / gold digging?

    Lots of artists have used that song’s acappella to greater extent. I wonder if they cleared it. Go after one, go after all. Also the track is all over YouTube including acappella and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to take it down from there.

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