How a recording can become a copyright

via Ethan Hein’s Blog – Music, Technology, Evolution› Jay-Z and Alan Lomax.

So here’s Jay-Z’s “Takeover.” … The main samples come from the Doors’ “Five To One.” Jay also quotes David Bowie’s “Fame,” along with various other rap songs. Finally, the sampled line “Watch out, we run New York!” comes from “Sound Of Da Police” by KRS-One.

KRS-One samples a riff from “Inside Looking Out” by Grand Funk Railroad.

Grand Funk didn’t write the song. It’s a cover of The Animals.

The Animals didn’t really write the song either. The tune they used is called “Rosie,” which they learned from a recording made by Alan Lomax of a chain gang at Parchman Farm.

Lomax was the first person to record and publish it, so according to the peculiar norms of America’s property laws, he was able to copyright it. Not only does Lomax hold the copyright for “Rosie,” he’s also listed as a co-author of both versions of “Inside Looking Out.”

More: Copyright Criminals.