Originally Posted by DamagedTrax
once you pay for the samples you're legally entitled to use them,
Not quite. Norman Cook found out the hard way. No matter what it says about those samples on sample CDs being royalty free, they're not.
Whether someone comes after you for using a sample is a completely different thing.
If you pay a musician to come into a studio and create original pieces for you, if you have a contract with them stipulating the music belongs to you - then you're fine. Unless you have a monster hit - then the session musician will try to sue you.
I've read Lily Allen's Not Fair. The original track was produced using cut ups from a country record. Then session musicians were paid to recreate the sound. (they were paid but it's likely the original samples are the sounds on the record - just they have receipts to prove they recreated the sounds.) The reason being they didn't want to be in a position where they would have to pay out for the use of the sample.
Even Roland have this agreement thing I've seen in some of their manuals for using their presets to create tracks for commercial release. They say you're free to use the presets to create commercial tracks royalty free - but they reserve the right to change this condition if they feel like it. I've never heard of them doing it. But they could have demanded royalties from Jean Michel Jarre, on his last album he used several of the presets to build entire tracks with very little variation.
In the early days, sampling really got going because no one used to sue - dance records especially used to only sell a few hundred or thousand copies. That's at most only worth a few hundred quid to whoever produced the original sample. It's not worth the bother of going after anyone. Norman Cook on the other hand had to pay out big bucks to everyone he sampled.
If you've got a something that turns into a big hit. And you're using a recognisable sample and you haven't cleared it you're in trouble. Jason Nevins had to hand over all the royalties from his Run DMC remix. I think it's the biggest selling dance record of all time - something crazy like 20 million copies. Nevins lost millions - though even had he had an agreement with Run DMC they would have probably sued him and taken all the money anyway.