The Presidential Daily Brief

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    Can New Licenses Save Hip-Hop From Rock Stars?

    If they keep suing, levee’s gonna break. Sampling elements from others’ music is a staple of hip-hop and other genres. But experts say U.S. copyright law can’t reconcile the needs of borrowers and original creators, leaving popular riffs like the opening of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” off-limits to creative mashup artists. Now there’s a movement toward an automatic licensing system to allow easy sampling for a small percentage of future royalties … but it’ll have to overcome some powerful lobbying from musicians first.

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