YOU CAN GET SUED FOR A FREE MIXTAPE BEAT, KENDRICK LAMAR JUST DID

FROM DJ BOOTH

Kendrick Lamar may be bigger than the Eiffel Tower now, but in 2009 he was just another kid from Compton hoping to get someone, anyone, to hear him rap. Fast forward to 2016 and K. Dot’s now got more money and more problems as Billboard’s reporting that he’s being sued for using a Bill Withers sample for “I Do This,” off his ’09 project, the Kendrick Lamar EP. Free Mixtape


That’s unquestionably the same song, there’s nothing much more to say there. Instead, I’m mostly interested in this story because it gives me yet another chance to dispel one of the most common myths I see producers and rappers believe – that you can’t get sued for a sample or beat used on a free project. Clearly, that’s wrong.

This is America, you can get sued for anything, and beyond our country’s lawsuit-happy nature, in the eyes of copyright law using a sample is using a sample, regardless of if the music ends up being sold or released for free. To use a shallow analogy, you could steal a bike and re-sell it, you could steal a bike and give it away for free, either way you still stole a bike. Read more

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