What licenses(s) do you need to use a sample?

If you want to use a sample that “clips” from a pre-existing recording, you generally need licenses from both the owner of the recording (usually a record label) and the owner of the underlying song (usually a publisher).  If you want to create a sample by making a new original recording that sounds like another song, you need a license from the owner of the song/publisher.  These rights holders can be identified using various online resources, including www.ascap.com, www.bmi.com, www.sesac.com, www.harryfox.com, www.mpa.org, and www.copyright.gov.  Record label information is also generally available in the copyright notice on CDs or in on-line credits.  Record labels and publishers can reject requests for a sample license, and when granted, sample license fees and other terms can vary widely.  In general, the statutory mechanical license for musical works does not apply to samples (because in most cases the use of a sample changes the fundamental character of the sampled song).  Any song you submit to ReverbNation for digital distribution either must not include any samples, or, if it does, you must have secured appropriate sample licenses (and you shall make copies of your sample licenses available to ReverbNation upon request).

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