Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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803.6 (B) (5) Mashups


803.6 (B) (5) Mashups


For sound recordings, a mashup is a track formed by combining elements from two or more preexisting (often disparate) works. A simple example would be laying a vocal track from one work on top of the instrumental track from another. Usually, the preexisting materials are edited and remixed in order to create a seamless, integrated work. Copyrightable editing / remixing authorship that has been added may support a derivative authorship claim. Mashups that unlawfully employ preexisting sound recordings are not subject to copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. § 103 (A).


Where it appears that no new material has been added, there may not be a basis for a claim in a derivative work. For example, in some cases, third party software may be used to generate the mashup through an automated process. This type of contribution does not constitute original, human authorship.


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