Sample clearance on old reggae, and hard-to-find sources

Hey guys. I’m thinking of doing a release of some tracks my brother and I have had sitting around for about 4 or 5 years, when we first started making dubstep. Some of the tunes I’m really happy with but they contain samples I’m unsure of.

Specifically, I have a track that has a Saxon sample, the one used in the Chase and Status track

They discuss where the sample came from on the old forum here:

But my question is this: what are the clearance requirements of samples like this? If it’s from an old Saxon soundclash tape, as someone on the forum mentions at the end of the thread, does it require clearance? Theoretically the answer should be yes, but I can’t find the tape in question anywhere to find a publisher or anyone that holds the rights to the original recording.

On the discogs page for Chase & Status’ release of Saxon, it says in the notes:

Excerpts From Dead End Street As Performed By Lou Rawls.
Used Courtesy Of Capitol Records Under License From EMI Music Marketing.

Assuming this is the same sample you’re talking about (and not like some sample from another part of the song or from the other one on the record), I guess your best shot is to contact Capitol Records and see if they can advise you.

What kind of release are you doing? Digi or vinyl? Free? People sometimes release white labels when sample clearance is an issue. @Scott_Ttocs’s recent release IMX001 comes to mind. There were also several from the DMZ crew - Loefah & Sgt Pokes’ ASBO, Mala’s In Luv & Alicia, Coki’s Burnin’, and his AWD series.

I’m not exactly sure why this makes it okay from a legal standpoint. Like, it may be called an “unofficial release” on discogs or whatever but they still sold them and I assume profited (you can do whatever on free releases but you probably already knew that), so I don’t see how it’s different from a standard release. But obviously there is something that makes it different. Maybe Mr. Ttocs can shed some light on this. :thumbsup:

@Scott_Ttocs is Epoch? I’m a huge fan, I’ve nearly worn out my copy of IMX001 lol

I have to relisten but that’s not the Saxon sample in question I’m pretty sure, because I think that’s from an R&B record from the 60s.

I plan to do a vinyl release, but I’m doing it with QRATES, which is like Kickstarter for vinyl records (“reach your goal and we’ll press your records” type thing) and they state not to contain samples that aren’t cleared. But I don’t even know if the sample in question can be cleared. If there’s no publisher, I don’t know what to do.

Basically if u do a white-label small press under an alias you’re less likely to kick up a fuss with any major than if you press 2000 on your own flagship label etc

Although saying that, tunes like Root, Babylon Timewarp etc have prominent samples as their basis, same with Percy, Dread, Way Mi Defend. I think the issue can lie whether youre sampling a musical part or a dialogue part, i think its easier to clear/less copyrighted are things like documentary samples/live dialogue recordings as opposed to say sampling Alicia Keys og record, hence why Badman VIP/every jungle tune lol etc all have no probs

I see, so it’s kind of contextual? I’m pretty sure the “Scanners” sample in “The Goat Stare” wasn’t cleared AFAIK (not mentioned on label, nor referenced anywhere else besides WhoSampled)

yeah don’t use QRATES if i were you, proper shit way to press vinyl (and if your pressing dubstep or similar people will prob just find it funny).

You can get better rates and far better quality/service through the proper channels, and actually get distribution so your record is in shops.

Your unlikely to get any problems when it comes to copyright unless the tune blows up huge,


Really? Is the final product not good, or is it just that people don’t take it very seriously?

Well i have never heard a press so who knows, but pressing vinyl is an art form in its self, so you want somone who knows how to press your music, if you send dubstep to someone who doesn’t know how to press it, they might purposely take a lot of sub out for example.

Everyone also takes the piss out of it, i don’t know anyone who has successfully used it. its expensive (i’m pressing 300 with a proper place for about the same as 100 on there), and bait.

If you really cant afford it, start a kickstarter and get a proper press.

woah! that’s definitely a major price advantage. thanks for the heads up and the info!

tbf the difference between 200 and 300 was £35

most of the cost is in the set up not the variable cost of #.

That’s why its important to get distro, sell as many as you can direct and get the rest in shops (which you will get barely more than the unit cost back but still)

Yeah distribution is what I’m still learning about, I’ve ran my label as digital for years and I’ve got a digital distro deal, but since I’m just starting to do physical releases I still have quite a lot to learn about this form of distro.

Also, back on the topic of sampling and releasing material with samples in it, this article was where I started

Bigup glad you liked the plate.

Basically doing a white label (or black in our case) doesn’t make it any more legal, it just basically prevents them from taking legal action against the artist/label as there is no publishing information leading back to them. even the distributor officially doesn’t know their identity. As far as I’m aware someone could still ask the distro/shops to cease manufacturing/sale of the record but I think that’s about it. We just kind of winged it basically but I think it’s a fairly foolproof approach. there’s still quite a blatant sample in no dread that I don’t think anyone has clocked.
Having dodgy samples on credited records though is something that I sometimes worry about as I have always been quite reckless with sample sources. (especially with the advent of stuff like that soundcloud copyright algorithm.)

all this said, this is still a very underground scene and I don’t believe sampling poses much risk generally like it does in hip hop.

in terms of movie samples, I don’t think they need to be cleared at all unless you’re sampling part of the soundtrack? I could be wrong though.


large up @Scott_Ttocs, that makes a lot of sense, I guess I would be concerned about them tracing the Cat. # on the runout etchings back to the label, but it seems like that generally doesn’t happen, I’ve never heard of anyone prosecuted off a white label.