Monday , June 24 2024

3 Notes and Runnin’: Sample Ruling Protest

Power to the people – right on.

Another online protest, and this one I am behind 100%. As I mentioned rather vehemently here, the ruling against NWA for violating copyright in the use of a three-note UNIDENTIFIABLE sample from Funkadelic’s “Get Off Your Ass and Jam” is a disaster.

Downhill Battle agrees and is staging a very clever protest:

    Last week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that any sampled music must have authorization even if a reasonable person could not recognize the origin of the clip. In protest of this ruling, which reversed a lower court decision and severely limits sampling rights, musician Michael Bell-Smith and music activism organization Downhill Battle will launch “3 Notes and Runnin”.

    3 Notes and Runnin’ is an online music compilation that will directly disobey–and point out the error in–the Appeals court ruling that even unrecognizable samples are illegal. The compilation will consist of songs made entirely from the 1.5 second Parliament Funkadelic sample that was at issue in the court ruling.

    Several respected sample-based musicians have committed to making pieces for the contest, and an open call for submissions was announced today, along with an initial song made by Michael Bell-Smith, a musician and visual artist whose other work can be found at

    “The songs submitted are all going to sound different; every musician knows you can use any sample in infinitely different ways,” said Bell-Smith, “At a certain point, the result is new and entirely different from the source material.”

    “Some musicians argue for restricting sampling on the basis that the ‘personality’ of their creation should not be used in ways they don’t control,” said Downhill Battle’s Holmes Wilson, “We think that’s capricious, but it has a certain logic. This court ruling, on the other hand, goes way beyond that: even unrecognizable samples that don’t carry an ounce of the original musicians’ personality are treated like property to be bought and sold.”

    “The sole purpose of copyright in the U.S. Constitution is to stimulate more creative works,” says Downhill Battle’s Nicholas Reville, “These judges’ bean-counting logic that treats each sound wave as if it were private property has nothing to do with our founding fathers’ intentions.”

    “The current copyright regime has virtually eliminated sampling from mainstream hip-hop,” said Nicholas Reville, co-founder of Downhill Battle. “It is simply impossible for producers today to use samples the way they did in the eighties.”

    Michael Bell-Smith is a Brooklyn, NY based musician and visual artist. He’s the frontman for the Brooklyn band “Professor Murder” and runs Burncopy Records.

    Downhill Battle is a music activism organization working to support sampling rights, independent musicians, and to end the major label monopoly of the music industry. In February 2004 the group staged the “Grey Tuesday” protests, a online action for copyright reform that drew 100,000 participants.

    Rules For Submission:

    Your song must be thirty seconds in length.

    Your song must use only the designated two seconds of the intro to Funkadelic’s “Get off Your Ass and Jam” as source material. You can slice it, layer it, loop it, stretch it, filter it, smack it up, flip it, and rub it down, but you can’t bring any other sounds into the mix.

    Download the sample: 1.5 second 44.1 khz 16 bit Aiff 200k

    All Entries should be encoded as mp3s and emailed, along with artist name, email or URL, and a brief description / statement to [email protected]. All entries that adhere to the format of the call will be posted to the website.

    Participants are encouraged to process the sound in creative, unconventional and excessive manners, stretching the relationship between the finished result and the source material.

Smack it up, most veritably. I have resolved to dust off my own remix programs for this one – I HAVE BEEN ROUSED. YOU should be too.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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