Circuit Split: An Efficient Rule to Govern the Sampling of Sound Recordings
On June 2, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a horn hit lasting less than a quarter of a second, which had been physically copied from a copyrighted sound recording and subsequently modified, did not constitute actionable copyright infringement. The Ninth Circuit opinion stands in direct opposition to the Sixth Circuit rule that any physical copying and use of a copyrighted sound recording constitutes actionable infringement, regardless of how small or whether the sample is modified. No other circuit has addressed the issue of whether a de minimis copying constitutes infringement of a copyrighted sound recording. In order to encourage the creative development of music in America and to protect individual property rights, an efficient and equitable rule for the sampling of sound recordings is necessary.