While it is fairly obvious to look towards the official US Copyright Law when doing researching for a copyright paper, two sections in Chapter 1 hold an important relevance to my project. Sections 106 and 114 both touch on factors that relate to the appropriation of copyrighted material for derivative works.
Section 106 states the exclusive rights that accompany a copyrighted work. That is, the exclusive rights of an owner of that copyright. There are six main points; these can range from the right to authorize reproduction of the copyrighted work, to the right to authorize public performance or display. The second of these points, however, is the most appropriate for my project and research. It reads: the owner of copyright has the exclusive right and authorization “to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.” Samples, remixes, and mashups fall under this category of derivative work—they aren’t fully original and have been derived from copyrighted sources.
Section 114 goes further in-depth on the scope of these exclusive rights when it comes to sound recordings specifically. Part two of this section connects back to the aforementioned second point of section 106. It states that the owner of a copyrighted sound recording has the exclusive right “to prepare a derivative work in which the actual sounds fixed in the sound recording are rearranged, remixed, or otherwise altered in sequence or quality,” all of which take place in mashups, remixes, and samples.
Both sections clearly include and declare that the owner of a copyrighted work, including any sound recording, holds the ability and right to authorize derivative works. Since most mashups, and a fair share of remixes and samples, aren’t cleared with copyright holders, they hold an interesting (and illegal) relationship with this law. On top of that, being some of the most fundamental aspects of the US Copyright Law, future court decisions that have affected music of this nature all rely on and relate back to these original points.