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Flutist loses to the Beastie Boys

November 05, 2003|From Bloomberg News

The Beastie Boys can't be sued by a jazz flutist for using a six-second sample of his music in their song "Pass the Mic," a U.S. appeals court ruled.

The rap group obtained a license to use the recording of James Newton's "Choir" and repeated an excerpt from the nearly five-minute recording more than 40 times in their song. Newton, a Cal State L.A. professor and conductor of the Luckman Jazz Orchestra, argued that the license didn't give them unlimited rights to the composition and filed a copyright infringement suit.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that the three-note sequence used in "Pass the Mic" is too brief for the average audience to recognize.

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