February 6, 2008

White Stripes Sampling Suit

The White Stripes are being sued in Candada by a form Quebec-radio DJ for alleged unauthorized sampling of (10 seconds of) her radio program. In addition to $70,000 in damages, the plaintiff is seeking the removal of all copies of the alleged infringing album, "De Stijl", from store-shelves.

If this was a case brought under the US Copyright Act, such remedy would be sought under 17 U.S.C. 503: "At any time while an action under this title is pending, the court may order the impounding, on such terms as it may deem reasonable, of all copies or phonorecords claimed to have been made...in violation of the copyright owner's exclusive rights..." Would a US court deem it REASONABLE to impound all copies of the White Stripes album, given the album is 37+ minutes in length, and the alleged unauthorized sampling is a mere 10 seconds (of a nearly 2 minute song)?

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