Evans chapter on copyright appears in ‘Hip Hop and The Law’ anthology pub’d by Carolina Academic Press

I am excited to announce the official publication of the anthology, Hip Hop & the Law, edited by the late Pamela Bridgewater (formerly a professor at American University School of Law), andré douglas pond cummings (Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Indiana Tech Law School), and Donald F. Tibbs (Associate Professor at the Drexel University School of Law).

I am honored that my contribution,  Sampling, Looping and Mashing … Oh My! How Hip Hop Music is Scratching More Than the Surface of Copyright Law“, appears in this formidable collection of essential reflections by many of today’s leading critical thinkers. From professors, to practitioners, to creatives, Hip Hop and the Law curates a host of diverse voices to analyze and assess the interdisciplinary intersection of American jurisprudence and hip hop music and culture.

bridgewater coverWhat is important to understanding American law? What is important to understanding hip hop? Wide swaths of renowned academics, practitioners, commentators, and performance artists have answered these two questions independently. And although understanding both depends upon the same intellectual enterprise, textual analysis of narrative storytelling, somehow their intersection has escaped critical reflection.

Hip Hop and the Law merges the two cultural giants of law and rap music and demonstrates their relationship at the convergence of Legal Consciousness, Politics, Hip Hop Studies, and American Law.

No matter what your role or level of experience with law or hip hop, this book is a sound resource for learning, discussing, and teaching the nuances of their relationship. Topics include Critical Race Theory, Crime and Justice, Mass Incarceration, Gender, and American Law: including Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Constitutional Law, and Real Property Law.

About Hip Hop & the Law published by Carolina Academic Press

Evans’ Copyright & Music Sampling article published by Fordham IPJ

Professor Evans’ article Sampling, Looping & Mashing … OH MY! How Hip-Hop is Scratching More Than the Surface of Copyright Law was recently published by the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. Use the link below to download the PDF.

For decades hip hop producers have relied on the innovative use of existing recordings (most of which are protected by copyright), to create completely new works. Specifically, cuttin’ and scratchin’, digital sampling, looping and (most recently) mashing are all methods of creating music and are all integral parts of the hip hop music aesthetic. Collectively these creative processes are the hallmark of the type of innovation and creativity born out of the hip hop music tradition.

Hip hop artists and producers from Chuck D, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest and M.C. Lyte to The RZA, Missy Elliott, Dangermouse and Jay Z have employed the sampler more as a musical instrument or palette than a tool of expediency or theft. But when done without the permission of the borrowed work’s copyright holder, sampling is at odds with copyright law. Unfortunately, copyright fails to acknowledge the historical role, informal norms and value of borrowing, cumulative creation and citation in music.

Additionally, different copyright infringement standards are applied to the two types of music copyright (the musical composition and sound recording). Further, and arguably more troubling, different infringement standards are being applied by the circuits to sound recording infringement cases resulting in a split in the circuits. The per se infringement rule articulated in the leading digital sampling case, Bridgeport v. Dimension Films, as compared to a recent decision with analogous facts but an opposite outcome under a traditional infringement analysis in Saregama India Ltd. v.Mosley, is but one stark example.

This article examines the impact of copyright law on music creation both historically and currently. It highlights hip hop music as an example of a genre significantly and negatively impacted by 1) the per se infringement rule applied in some instances to cases involving unauthorized sampling of sound recordings; and 2) traditional (and arguably erroneous) assumptions in copyright law and policy of independent creation and Romantic authorship.

Read the article abstract & download the full article

Article on Hip Hop & Copyright Law Receives Nod from TechDirt.com

On Monday, November 8th, TechDirt.com reviewed my law review article titled Sampling, Looping & Mashing … Oh My! How Hip Hop Music is Scratching More Than the Surface of Copyright Law in its post “Time To Remix Copyright Law: The Hip Hop Case Study,” by TechDirt.com’s Mike Masnik.

In the article, I argue that copyright law is ill-suited when applied to music generally, and genres like hip hop in particular simply because of the way music is created. Outfits like TechDirt.com have been arguing the same thing for decades and is a leader in the “it’s just how music is made” camp to reform copyright laws to optimize benefits for all parties involved.

My article will appear in The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal’s Spring 2011 issue. Fordham’s journal is the number one ranked entertainment, arts and sports law journal, and the number sixth ranked intellectual property law journal.  IPLJ articles have been read into the Congressional Record, as well as cited in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court as well as cited recently by the high court itself in the Bilski decision.

Founded in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow.