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Copyrights And The Most Famous Drum Break Ever

The well-done documentary Copyright Criminals is airing this week in the U.S. on PBS and watching it last night was a stark reminder of how antiquated our current copyright laws are. In the US, they haven't been seriously updated since 1976  - a fact which my younger students at Berklee find almost unfathomable - and the situation elsewhere is similar. 

Change is long overdue as this 20-minute video on the history of the "Amen Break," a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969, also reminds us. This sample was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music - a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures.


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