Sampling consists in copying a sequence from an existing audio production and using it in your own production.

If the sample is taken from a protected work and that work can be identified in your work you need a licence to use the sample. The rights holders of the work you sample will determine how big a share they require to allow the sampling. 
If, for example, you were to sample Michael Jackson’s Bad it is likely that the heirs, estate, and publisher will require quite a large share of your work even if you only use e.g. a three-second sample. This is based on the argument that those three seconds of sampling may make your work a huge hit.

There are three types of sampling:

  • sampling a protected work
  • sampling a work in the public domain
  • sampling from a sampling CD that includes a special licence for its use
Sampling from a protected work

When sampling from a protected work you must obtain permission/licence from the authors or their publishing company. The licence must state the identity of the work you have sampled and the share in your new work required by the authors. You can send us a copy of the licence via email. We cannot register shares for new authors until we have received documentation that you have obtained a licence. We can help you find out where to apply for the relevant licence.


Also remember to ask the relevant record company’s permission to use a recording for sampling; artists and producers hold certain special rights to individual recordings. To learn more about this type of permission/license, contact GRAMEX

If you do not hold a licence, issued by the original rights holders, to use a sample featured in your work, Koda may be asked to block any distribution of payments on the work. At worst you may face legal action and a demand for the recall and destruction of any releases made. For you own protection you should always make sure that you obtain the necessary licences and permissions before submitting a work registration for a work that incorporates sampling.

Sampling from a work in the public domain

Works written by composers who have been dead for more than 70 years are in the public domain, i.e. copyright-free. You are allowed to use the work as you wish, featuring it in new contexts without having to ask the composer’s heirs, estate, or publisher for permission. All you need to do is to state which work you have sampled and to submit the material necessary for our music advisors to determine the relationship between the new and old material.

Please note, however, that even though the work you are using is in the public domain, the recording from which you are sampling that work may be subject to protection in the form of producers’ and performers’ rights. If this is the case you must obtain the necessary permission/licence from the record company. For more on this subject, contact GRAMEX

Sampling from a sampling CD

If you are sampling from a sampling CD of the kind accompanied by a licence and permission for further use you do not need any additional licence. Simply remember to state on your registration that you have used samples from such a CD. If you are in doubt about the rights pertaining to the CD, contact the manufacturer and ask them.