The Instigator
feverish
Pro (for)
Winning
65 Points
The Contender
Mangani
Con (against)
Losing
64 Points

Sampling (in music) is not theft

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2009 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,675 times Debate No: 7529
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (20)

 

feverish

Pro

Hi,
I would first like to make it clear that I am referring to theft in a moral rather than a legal sense of the word, If you wish to debate the legality of sampling please do not accept this debate.

To clarify, here are some definitions: (I use the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 10th edition revised)

'sampling: 2. the technique of digitally encoding music or sound and re-using it as part of a composition or recording.' [I point out that I would also include the rare examples of purely analogue sourced and recorded material in early sampling, but since the late 80s virtually all samples are digitally encoded at some stage in the process, the format of audio is hardly relevant to this debate however]

'theft: the action or crime of stealing.'-
'steal: 1. take (something) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.'

As I have stated that in this debate we are concerned with the moral and not the legal definitions, for our purposes these last two should of course be read as:

'theft: the action of stealing.'-
'steal: 1. take (something) without permission and without intending to return it. - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.'

I would also like to point out that in my opinion there are extremely rare circumstances where sampling CAN qualify as moral theft.

To make my position clearer: I am talking about neither all sampling nor a few special cases as being morally justifiable (not theft). Instead I mean the vast majority of instances of sampling and the way in which it is generally carried out are not theft.

Although I am Pro - sampling is not theft, as I am making a negative claim (against the popular assertion that sampling is in fact moral theft) I will let my opponent present his case first and explain how sampling is theft.

I hope my rambling pedantry has not left anyone confused as to my basic position.

Thankyou.
Mangani

Con

First off, let me thank my opponent for presenting this debate. I hope it is a good one.

To begin with, I would like to point out that my opponent is contradicting himself. He is trying to limit the scope of his claim so much that almost any argument can be made against the Con. He says let's not discuss the legality of the issue, but his definition specifies "without permission or legal right". He then goes on to say that he is not referring to a "few special cases, rather the vast majority of instances of sampling and the way in which it is generally carried out". Either way, let's debate.

As far as not discussing legal definitions, it is these that dictate the morality, or lack thereof, when referring to sampling. If a producer uses another person's voice in a composition without permission, they are guilty of copyright infringement on the musical work of that person, legally. Morally, they are undermining the work of that person, and failing to recognize and pay for that work. The producer will likely benefit from this theft in that he/she will likely sell his/her product and make a profit. Legally and morally, the original recorder and owner of the voice should be compensated per copyright and royalty laws. The same goes for a musical composition or section thereof. It is impossible to morally justify failing to give someone else credit for their work while benefiting from that work yourself.

I think this is a simple concept to grasp. The author, composer, producer, artist, etc. of a recording has a legal and moral right to his/her work. The scope of those rights are outlined in several contracts between the artist, producer, composer, recording studio, engineer, record label, etc. The use of any portion of a particular recording by any outside parties without permission or legal right is prohibited for the protection of said individuals in said contract. As a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) I understand first hand what it means to not be recognized for your work, and I know what it's like to have this work stolen from you. My opponent is arguing, basically, that all the works of every artist, composer, publisher, etc. are public domain and free for everyone to use without repercussion. I am arguing that there are methods in place that would prevent you from wronging another individual and underappreciating their work while stealing it from them- you can ask for permission to use the work, or you can purchase portions of the work, rights to portions of the work, etc. from organizations like ASCAP and EMI. Because these methods are in place, it just makes the Pro's argument sound all the more immoral.

I await my opponent's response.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
feverish

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, he presents his points clearly and understandably, something which it seems I have not achieved as he and at least one other person have misunderstood me completely.

I was under the impression that I had shown my position on wishing to debate morality rather than legality quite clearly as the opening sentence of my first round states this explicitly: ' If you wish to debate the legality of sampling please do not accept this debate.'

I apologise however, if I have left some people confused by the two sets of definitions I used. I will attempt to clarify this again in as plain English as possible.( I do not mean any offense or 'shouting' in my use of CAPS merely to make my points clearer.)

I presented two sets of definitions for theft and stealing, see above (for further clarity maybe I should of changed the order I presented them.)

The first pair is the full definition quoted verbatim from my source (COED), but note that there are TWO distinct meanings for BOTH of these terms: action OR crime, permission OR legal right - not AND!

Clearly there are two separate kinds of stealing being discussed in the first set of definitions. (I hope I do not have to define 'or' and/or 'and' to get my point across here!)

Perhaps a good example of the first would be someone stealing your regular parking spot (an action without permission), an example of the second: someone stealing your car(a crime without legal right.)

Or maybe stealing your wife, rather than stealing your life.
Either way they don't intend to give it back.

Read it again and compare with the second set of definitions for these words.

At the risk of boring any readers or voters who have understood from the beginning,(and not been confused by what some have seen as a contradiction in my argument) I will present again THE ACTUAL DEFINITIONS of (the PURELY MORAL rather than moral AND legal definitions) to which the title of this debate relates:

============================================================================
'theft: the action of stealing.'

[ NOT the crime of stealing]

===========================================================================
'steal: 1. take (something) without permission and without intending to return it. - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.'

[ NOT without legal right]

===========================================================================

Hopefully everyone [who is still reading this] is now following me.

As regards what I meant when I said I was NOT referring to "a few special cases" which I WOULD consider to be moral theft, perhaps I should have given some examples.

I DO consider it moral theft if a piece of music containing a sample (of another), earns a significant amount of money for someone and the owner and (much more importantly in my opinion), the creator of the original work does not get their share.
I believe that whether permission was sought in the first place is much less important, but more of that later.

In the real world where millions of musicians are creating billions of sample-based tunes, the vast majority (to the degree of at least 99.99999%) do not earn any big money and in fact generally no money at all.

The majority of sampling is done by amateurs with no chance of their music ever being purchased by anyone and generally in a financial deficit from their musical hobbies rather than profiting from them. This is not theft.

A large proportion is done by amateurs who might sell 10 - 500 copies to friends and just about cover their costs. This is not theft.

A significant proportion is done by established artists, nearly all these tracks are never released. This is not theft.

When pieces of music featuring samples do become hit singles, or even just album-tracks by low-selling artists,in virtually all cases every sample is scrupulously cleared and the owner of the original recording (the mechanical copyright; this is almost always a record label) as well as the owner of the composition (the intellectual rights) both receive a substantial sum. This also, is not theft.

It is only in a tiny minority or a "few special cases" that an artist makes money sampling something that has not been paid for. This IS theft.

I regret having to take up so much of this 3 round debate with going over the same ground, but I apologise sincerely if I have presented my points with any hint of vagueness or otherwise misled anyone. I hope this does not turn into a semantic debate because my opponent has misunderstood me.

Anyway, to turn to what my worthy opponent says, rather than just what I said:

'my opponent is contradicting himself.'

Hopefully I have now cleared up this misunderstanding.

"legal definitions, it is these that dictate the morality, or lack thereof, when referring to sampling."

This is an interesting opinion; that the law dictates morality, but it has nothing to do with the debate I instigated, as stated in the opening sentence of my first round. Therefore I hope my opponent will forgive me if I ignore the legal and contractual arguments that he makes.

"Morally, they are undermining the work of that person"

COED:" undermine 1. erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation)"......." 2. damage or weaken , especially gradually or insidiously."
I fail to see how they are damaging or weakening the other artists work. Please explain.

"The producer will likely benefit from this theft in that he/she will likely sell his/her product and make a profit."

I dispute this strongly, as I argued above, most times he samples a producer does not profit at all.

"It is impossible to morally justify failing to give someone else credit for their work while benefiting from that work yourself."

I think we are agreed that it this would not be justifiable, it happens extremely rarely, these being the special cases I referred to.

"My opponent is arguing, basically, that all the works of every artist, composer, publisher, etc. are public domain and free for everyone to use without repercussion."

Most musicians who sample more often than not use vinyl or CDs they have purchased. By contrast most people reading this probably have 100s or more tunes they have not legally obtained stored on their computer or other devices. Sadly nearly all music is pretty much public domain these days as anyone can get a download a song for free on a file sharing site or similar. How many popular songs cannot be found on You tube and the like?
As for repercussion, if you profit, so does the owner of the copyright of the music you sampled.

I thank my opponent for explaining to readers who may not have understood some of the basic elements of copyright law. Indeed the methods are in place to stop people profiting from sampling without acknowledging a samples origin and paying for it.

In some cases a sample will be refused clearance. This is normally when the sampled artist objects artistically to the use of his sample or is offended by the content of a song. As most artists recognise sampling to be an excellent source of income they are unlikely to refuse clearance even if a song sampling them has lyrics they find morally objectionable.
In this instance the record will not be released or will be removed from the shelves if it already has been. Nobody makes any money.

I wish now I had made this debate five rounds or set a longer word limit so I could get into some more points and specific examples but I'm running out of space.

Once again: Sampling is not theft if you don't make a profit from it.
Sampling is not theft if you pay for it.
In all but a tiny minority of cases, sampling is not theft.

Vote Pro.
Thankyou.
Mangani

Con

I have not misunderstood my opponent. My opponent has a bit of a conundrum. He says he would like to ignore the legality of the issue of sampling, debate the morality, and doesn't realize that what makes sampling moral or immoral is the legal status of the sampling itself. It is the legal rights to a piece of work that determine whether or not an artist will make any income from that work, and if a piece of work is used in the privacy of your home without harm to the original composer then there is no moral question. That, I am sure, we can agree on. However, my opponent points out several instances where he says sampling is moral because the user of the sample has little or no monetary gain from the use, and immoral instances he claims are rare. Let's examine both later.

"my position on wishing to debate morality rather than legality"- Sampling is a legal issue, and becomes immoral because of it's legal status. If there was no need to protect the author of the original work, there would also be no moral question regarding it's unauthorized use- the authority is a legal question. If the question does not exist, then neither does the harm arising from that question, and as a result, the immorality. Because we are speaking of an industry governed by laws (music industry), an act regulated by this industry (sampling), and the act can be of benefit or detriment to the owner of the sampled piece then we must address the legality, if not debate it. Though I am debating the morality, I am relying on the legal authority rendered to the owner of the piece as a basis of that morality/immorality.

"TWO distinct meanings for BOTH of these terms: action OR crime, permission OR legal right"- Per your definition- 'theft: the action of stealing.'-
'steal: 1. take (something) without permission and without intending to return it. - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.'

Sampling without permission is theft. That is per your own definition. Dishonesty is immoral. Taking something without permission (especially something that is not yours) is immoral. Passing someone else's work off as your own is immoral. Do we really need to debate these point by point?

"Perhaps a good example of the first would be someone stealing your regular parking spot (an action without permission), an example of the second: someone stealing your car(a crime without legal right.)"- My opponent has made two comparisons regarding sampling. He implies that sampling in the sense that he is referring to is like stealing someone's regular parking spot. Yet he also implies that if we were discussing the legality of sampling, it would be more like stealing a car. My opponent is errant in that the lack of a legal insight does not diminish the gravity of the crime. A piece of musical work is hardly a "regular parking spot". Indeed if a written piece of work as passed off as one's own, or used without permission it is legally "plagiarism", but the lack of a plagiarism law does not mean the act is no longer immoral. Luckily, we have laws in both cases, and they are there to protect those who DO have legal authority and/or permission for the works' use.

"I will present again THE ACTUAL DEFINITIONS of (the PURELY MORAL rather than moral AND legal definitions) to which the title of this debate relates"- My opponent claims to present moral definitions, but fails to define the morality of his definitions. Is "stealing"- take (something) without permission and without intending to return it. - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.', and 'theft: the action of stealing' moral or immoral? I argue that in the context, the acts are immoral.

"In the real world where millions of musicians are creating billions of sample-based tunes, the vast majority (to the degree of at least 99.99999%) do not earn any big money and in fact generally no money at all"- My opponent makes a completely opinionated claim and gives statistics that he came up with off the top of his head. I can assure you, again, that as a member of ASCAP I see a grave error with my opponent's assessment- Money is not the measure of morality in stealing someone else's work, and I would fight tooth and nail for a penny if it was owed to me for my work. My opponent contradicts himself in stating "I do consider it moral theft...earns a significant amount of money", and then justifying sampling that does not generate a great deal of money. Indeed the failure to make a significant amount of money neither negates the effort to make the money, nor does it negate the theft of someone else's work.

"The majority of sampling is done by amateurs with no chance of their music ever being purchased by anyone and generally in a financial deficit from their musical hobbies rather than profiting from them"- This is an assumption that my opponent attempts to pass off as a fact. The issue of sampling was rampant, at least, in the 90's, and laws have been adjusted, modified, and changed because of abuse.
http://www.mtv.com...
http://law.freeadvice.com...
http://www.redorbit.com...

"A large proportion is done by amateurs who might sell 10 - 500 copies to friends and just about cover their costs. This is not theft"
'theft: the action of stealing.'-
'steal: 1. take (something) without permission and without intending to return it. - dishonestly pass off (another person's ideas) as your own.'- This is definitely theft. How about the local artist who makes a track, releases it for free on the internet, has his music placed on a mixtape, or sampled into another song, never makes a penny, yet someone is out there making $50- $2500 without that artist making a cent for something he gave out for free? Just because the music was distributed for free that does not give everyone the legal right to use it for monetary gain no matter how miniscule the amount might be to you. Is it less to steal a bag of potato chips than it is to steal a car? Sure, but they are both immoral, and they are both stealing.

"A significant proportion is done by established artists, nearly all these tracks are never released"- Again, a stat made up completely in my opponent's head. A "significant" portion that is never released is probably not released because clearance for the samples were not granted. It is not theft because the act was not committed. It's as if you went to the store to buy a candybar, realized you didn't have enough money, and left the store without taking the candybar.

"When pieces of music featuring samples do become hit singles, or even just album-tracks by low-selling artists,in virtually all cases every sample is scrupulously cleared and the owner of the original recording (the mechanical copyright; this is almost always a record label) as well as the owner of the composition (the intellectual rights) both receive a substantial sum"- More assumptions and false "facts". This entire paragraph, however, is irrelevant because we are talking about "cleared" samples. That means the user has acquired legal permission from the owner (even though my opponent claims to not want to discuss the legality).

"It is only in a tiny minority or a "few special cases" that an artist makes money sampling something that has not been paid for. This IS theft."- Not true. Kanye West, DJ Quik, Method Man, Redman, Dr. Dre, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Common, MARRS, Biz Markie, The Verve, Negativland, Dangermouse, Jay-Z, and other artists and their body's of work do not amount to "a tiny minority" nor a "few special cases".

My now claims that the works are public domain because they are "in" the public domain. Youtube does not agree with my opponent: http://www.youtube.com...
The posters of this music are breaking the law as well. This does not make it righ
Debate Round No. 2
feverish

Pro

My opponent debates well and clearly we agree upon more things than we disagree about.

We both seem to agree that:

1. Sampling is NOT theft if no attempt is made to exploit the results for profit. [or at least that "if a piece of work is used in the privacy of your home without harm to the original composer then there is no moral question."]

2. Sampling IS theft if the artist who samples gains significant financial reward without the creator of the sampled work being rewarded accordingly.

I realise now that especially as I was arguing the Pro side in this debate, I needed to make my position more clearly in the first round. Particularly I should of explained that "the way in which it is generally carried out " to which I was referring to meant the typical instances of sampling that are either:

a) Carried out in a home or studio environment as part of a creative process but never released as commercial product.
Or,
b) Cleared for release and commercially exploited, with the artist who has been sampled receiving a share of the profits.

I would contend that the vast majority of sampling does fall into either a) or b) and that the rare exceptions qualify as
"a few special cases."
My opponent points out that I do not have any sources or statistics to back up this claim, but I think it is fairly apparent.

Consider the volume of material released that has had samples cleared. Record labels employ staff specifically to deal with sample clearances and artists like George Clinton and James Brown (RIP) extended their careers for decades as a result of renewed interest in their legacy because of sampling.

Then consider the fact that for every tune that has been released many more will have been passed over; never finished, just not good enough, judged not financially viable for the label etc.

Then consider that for every artist signed to a major label there are literally countless others producing material in a similar style, to hugely varying degrees of quality that will never be released

I admit that I have little beyond my own observations and logic to prove that a) and b) constitute the vast majority of sampling but I consider it self-evident and it is up to the voters if they agree with me on this or not.

As my opponent and I seem to agree on the basic principle that a) and b) are not theft then I would suggest that I have proven my case, but it is again up to the voters to decide if they are to penalise me for not making my position more clear from the beginning.

I agree with my opponent that laws had to be put in place to protect the rights of sampled artists but I wanted to debate the moral issue.
I maintain that while laws are good and necessary to keep the peace, they are in no way a substitute for morality. If we lose sight of morality and let laws dictate it to us, that is when society is in trouble and unjust practices such as torture are justified by the law, but that is something for a very different debate.

Anyway, sampling is good because:

It can be highly creative.
While some (and unfortunately often some of the biggest selling) records use obvious samples in a dull and predictable manner, many producers chop into pieces and rearrange samples, filter, process, compress and EQ them in surprising and refreshing ways, often ending up with something completely unrecognisable from the original source.

This is an avenue of creativity open to those who may not have other musical opportunities.
Playing any instrument to a high standard requires some degree of talent, years of practice, immense dedication AND either expensive tuition, a family background immersed in music from a young age or a dedicated mentor/peer to teach you. Instruments of a high quality are very expensive. A decent upright double bass or full drum kit is likely to set you back a grand or two sterling.
By contrast, someone with a bit of talent, a lot of dedication, a good music collection and a sampler or computer worth a couple of hundred pounds can start exercising their musical creativity.

Samples can be hugely beneficial to the artists sampled.
Gilbert O'Sullivan gained a substantial sum off Biz Markie in compensation. Leon Haywood and George Clinton both benefited financially from Dr Dre's The Chronic as did former Man from U.N.C.L.E star David McCallum when Dre sampled his David Axelrod produced tune The Edge.
Axelrod is a perfect example of someone who's career has been resurrected and enhanced hugely as a direct result of being sampled by Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow and others. No one had really heard of Axelrod who produced loads of albums for himself and many other artists in the 60s and 70s (some of the more well-known ones include Lou Rawls and Nat Adderley.) In the last 15 years since hip-hoppers discovered his sublime drums and amazing arrangements, there have been dozens of Axelrod compilations and re-issues of his under-appreciated albums. Axelrod maintains a friendship with Shadow. "www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/david-axelrod-rescued-from-the-record-bins-678311.html -"

Some quotes from the (admittedly biased) sampling community:

Stetsasonic: ('Talkin all that jazz' 1988)
"Tell the truth, James Brown was old
Till Eric and Rak came out with 'I got Soul.'
Rap brings back old r & b,
And if we did not, people would of forgot."

DJ Shadow: (sleeve notes to 'Private press' 2002)
"all the artists that I sampled to make this record (it is intended as the ultimate musical compliment, no matter what your lawyers tell you)."

Big Daddy Kane: ('Young, gifted and black' 1990)
"We sample beats, you sue and try to fight us,
Maan, you'd still be home with arthritis,
If we didn't revive and bring back alive
old beats that we appreciated, you wouldn't survive.
You'd be another memory to us,
ashes to ashes and dust to dust."

There are of course a lot of grey areas as to the morality of sampling.
The case of Dangermouse is an interesting one. He sampled sections of The Beatles white album without permission and created some amazing music. He then sampled nearly all of the accapellas off the pop-star/rapper Jay-Z's 'The Black Album', (also without permission but no one made any fuss about that, least of all Jay-Z who immediately realised it would heighten his profile) and synced them up with his Beatles beats to create 'The Grey Album.' DM decided to give it away for a limited period as a promotional tool and didn't profit directly from it.
Bootleggers however profited from pressing vinyl copies of this album.
I would argue that the act of bootlegging was theft.
The act of giving it away: perhaps questionable but not theft.
The act of SAMPLING itself: definitely NOT theft.

Another grey area is compilations, sure someone might make a few bob (or bucks) off a mixtape but how are you gonna compensate 50 + artists who may have been sampled on a mix-CD that might sell 500 copies if your lucky.
In contrast there are numerous 'breakbeat' and 'crate-digging' themed albums being released that pay the original artists for their music, music that is popular with a whole new generation because it has been sampled.

To return to those pesky definitions again for a moment:

"steal: 1. take (something) without permission and without intending to return it."

Sampling is not actually TAKING anything because the original piece of music still exists and is in no way "undermined" (damaged or weakened).

Similarly the notion of not intending to return something does not make sense here as the original remains unaffected.

And as far as "intending to pass off someone else's work as your own", people know when something is a sample, producers aren't pretending they've 'played in' something they've sampled.( No time to discuss plagiarism - a separate issue.)

Therefore sampling is not theft.

Thankyou.
Mangani

Con

My opponent and I do not agree on the points he has stated. Specifically, point number 2 is where we are in disagreement: "Sampling IS theft if the artist who samples gains significant financial reward without the creator of the sampled work being rewarded accordingly"

We disagree in that I believe that if the PURPOSE of the sampler is financial gain, popularity, or to otherwise achieve some benefit he is not offering the owner of the work, then it is theft. I already gave the example of where an artist might release a promo track for free. This artist does not waive his/her rights to this music, nor do any of the work's other owners. If an amateur DJ or producer makes so much as a penny by using this track in his favor without permission or legal right, then it is theft. My opponent's assumption is that the artist is not harmed, but the fact of the matter is that not recognizing the work of an artist while exploiting it does harm the artist. Even so much as a perceived association can harm an artist. I have witnessed occasions where an artist who is disliked samples a more popular artist, and many in the popular artists fan base assume there is a real association. Un-official remixes cause these types of problems all the time, and this form of sampling can be considered to some degree ID theft.

Now, my opponent brings up in Round 3 a line of reasoning that would make it seem he has won this debate, and that there actually IS nothing to debate. If we assume from his Round 3 argument that he was referring to sampling done in proper cases, then there is no debate. The question should have never even been brought up. Again, it's like my analogy of going to the store for a candybar and not having enough money to buy it. If you leave the candybar, you didn't steal it. If you ate it in the store, or took it without paying- that is stealing. There is no logical debate for something that doesn't occur. Sampling in and of itself is not theft because there are methods for legally acquiring the rights to the sample. There is no logical counter-argument to this past statement. If you have the legal right to use a sample, then you are not stealing. If you do not have the legal right to a sample and you pass it off as your own original, complete work regardless of how much money you do or don't make from it, it is stealing. If you don't try to sell the product, have no commercial gain from it, no popularity is won from gaining fans, etc., then it's as if you never left the store, and as if you never sampled the piece in the first place.

My opponent says there are a "few special cases" and "rare exceptions". My argument is that these cases are neither rare, nor few, nor special. In fact, the public has become aware of sampling, copyright issues, etc. BECAUSE of the quantity of cases involving sampling. Many cases have arisen from sampling of artists like the Beatles, George Clinton, Roger and Zapp, etc. etc. etc.

It is the process of clearing the sample that makes the act of sampling moral. If a sample is not cleared and used, it is obviously not for a moral end. Again, if the sample is used and not presented to, say, Myspace listeners (in the very least), and the recording or production is never made public, then it is as if it never existed. It's like the question about the tree falling in the woods and nothing there to hear a sound... does it make a sound? Sound is not the waves created by the falling tree, rather it is the interpretation by a receptor of those waves... in our case the ear drums. If there is nothing to receive those waves and transfer them as audible energy, then there is no sound. Whether or not you agree with this, the point I am making is that if no one knows of the recording to question it's legitimacy, then no one really cares about the morality. No one was harmed. Is it stealing? I would say no, in the case that the sampled piece was legally acquired in the first place.

My opponent continues to bring up different instances in which a sampling may have been done, but not used. I say, again, it is as if those don't exist. It's like counting money that the Federal Reserve has destroyed and saying it is part of our GDP. If the sampling does not exist outside the studio, then it doesn't exist as a product, and cannot be considered in the moral question of doing harm to the owner of the original. Of the songs that have been released with samples, MANY have experienced legal issues. MANY samplers have suffered the consequences of not recognizing the original authors. Most? Maybe not. A "few rare exceptions"? Not at all.

My opponent brings up a and b again and says we agree, and because of this he has proven his point. This is not true. The question of sampling and his a and b can be looked at as saying driving is legal. Driving is actually NOT legal in the United States. What makes free travel in an automobile on a manufactured road legal is our license to do so. Driving is illegal, but your license allows you to drive vehicles of the class you are licensed to drive on roadways open to the general public. Sampling is theft. What makes sampling "not" theft is the process of CLEARING. If a sample is not cleared, then it cannot be legally used for commercial purposes- the purpose of the "vast majority" of musical recordings.
http://emusician.com...

My opponent says that he wanted to, again, discuss the moral issue of sampling. He acknowledges that laws had to be made to protect the sampled artist. He says we cannot let the law dictate our morality because we might lose sight of it, and let the laws dictate it to us. In this case my opponent appears to be contradicting himself. He does not recognize the immorality of sampling, and wishes to ignore the legal issues. Because this is an issue framed in law, ie. before copyright laws, the immoral act of rampant stealing from other artists was widely practiced, it is necessary for us to examine the legal issues, as it is the newer legal issues that separate us from the older moral issues of sampling. If we ignore the law then we must also ignore the results of the law. The results of the law are that the artist and other owners of the sampled work are paid and recognized. Remove the law, and what we have is the immoral act of taking from those who have worked hard and passing this work off as your own. So absent the law, sampling is immoral. Within the law, sampling is only moral in so far as clearance is obtained.

My opponent's assessment of several instances of copyright infringement is misconstrued, at best. Take for instance the case of Dangermouse. Though DM had claims he originally had no intention of mass release of the grey album, he was experiencing monetary gain from the album in that it was released via internet distributors. The album gained so much attention that it caught the eye of EMI, the copyright holding company for the Beatles. The Grey Album was named the Best Album of 2004 by Entertainment Weekly. This was hardly a case of "not stealing" in that DM went on to sponsor Grey Tuesday which advocates sampling as "fair use". Though I agree with DM in that a simpler process should be implemented to clear samples, as an artist I benefit from the protections as well.

Are samples good? Sure, when they are used properly by a creative producer. That doesn't mean it's moral to sample outside the clearing process. Painting is "good". Art is "good". Graffiti is "nice" to look at. But destruction of public property is "bad". I once lived in a brand new community in Las Vegas and within weeks of the walls going up our high-end neighborhood looked like the hood. Sampling should be done within the scope of what the law currently dictates. Operating outside that law, and sampling without recognizing the original author and giving them their dues, is theft.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
*hangs head in shame.

I've also been known to suck my teeth when annoyed. lol
Posted by Mangani 4 years ago
Mangani
Feverish speaks patois when he's drunk... LMAO!
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
Cringe @ my comment below. Warning kids: posting on the internet when you get in from a night out is not always the best idea.
Posted by feverish 4 years ago
feverish
Ethics whut? Thanks for the 7 point vote, this one a gwarn right to de wire.
Posted by headphonegut 4 years ago
headphonegut
morality? you lost when you brought morals into the debate before it even started Mangani should have hammered the point on everyone's morals are not the same a child molester still goes to work ethics is the way to go
Posted by LeafRod 4 years ago
LeafRod
Not really. This basically turned into a semantics debate. If I could vote I'd give arguments a tie because this just turned into a debate about words and clarification of meaning and feverish is a bit too nice to have been more assertive about getting this thing on track.
Posted by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
Wow... I'm being ripped off...
Posted by NYCDiesel 5 years ago
NYCDiesel
I agree with Maikuru. It seems the Pro wanted to debate something undebateable- that a legally sanctioned action with no victims is moral- and refused to recognize that it is the legal sanction that makes the act not "moral", but not "immoral". I think Con proved that sampling without legal sanction is in fact theft.
Posted by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
Thanks for a great debate Mangani,
I learnt a lot from it.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
I enjoyed this debate. Unfortunately, Pro got off to a rough start and Con capitalized on it from the beginning.
20 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro convincingly argues that music is essentially public domain. I agree with Con that it is intellectual property and SHOULDN'T be, but can't deny that it is. With the establishment of music as public domain, Pro argues the morality of sampling. Conduct to Pro because the rules were clearly stated in Round 1. If Con felt that Pro contradicted himself, he should have discussed this in the comments section. Very poor conduct from Con trying to argue legality when Pro clearly said not to.
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