Sample Clearance

Permission from the master owner

By Mauritz Kop LL.M.

If you use samples in your commercial productions you’ll need permission from the copyright owner(s). This is called sample clearance. You’ll need a Sample License or Master Use License.

If you plan to sample music from a commercial pop recording, you’ll need permission from the copyright owner of the song – usually the music publisher (a mechanical license). Your goal is to license music from the copyright owners. You’ll also need permission from the owner of the master tapes (the recording itself) – usually the record company (a master use license).

 Sample Clearance - Permission from the master owner

Sample Clearance - Permission from the master owner

In case you use a sample from a sample CD make sure you bought a license from the master owner.

No permission is needed when using old recordings that are in the public domain. You do need music permission however when using a newly recorded version (just a few samples or the complete master) of a public domain work (mostly older classical works). You need permission from the master owner / the owner of the sound recording of that public domain composition.

We noticed there are a lot of misconceptions about the differences between remixes, covers, and the use of samples. We are here to help clear things up.

Make sure you don’t use uncleared samples in your release !