Where can I learn more (aside from law school) about the legal difference between these two scenarios:

  1. I write and record an original song that includes a sampled vocal line from another existing song.

  2. I write and record an original song, and on the recording I perform that vocal line myself in such a way that it sounds exactly like the original recording.

Is there a clear legal distinction between using a recording of a song and using an abstract idea (such as lyrics or melodic lines) from a song?

  • In either case you would need permission from the artist or their estate to copy or perform the work (not sure about a sample a sample). The the first case I think you would need permission from whomever owns the physical recording and in the second you would have to pay Harry Fox something like a penny to a dime per copy you make (if physical), less for digital streaming. – ggcg Oct 13 '19 at 20:51
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    In many jurisdictions, the copyright on the recording and the copyright on the composition are distinct things. See lawyerdrummer.com/2018/10/the-2-copyrights-in-a-song. – topo Reinstate Monica Oct 13 '19 at 21:41
  • Chances are that you cannot sing the vocal line so it sounds exactly like the original. – Dekkadeci Oct 14 '19 at 9:45
  • @topomorto, you are correct. But then whose permission do you need? Both the artist and recording studio? I think both, and that gets messy. – ggcg Oct 14 '19 at 11:29
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a legal question which depends strongly on the person's location (country). – Carl Witthoft Oct 14 '19 at 14:11

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