The Supreme Court on June 13 declined to consider whether a 1992 Beastie Boys song infringed on the copyright of a recording by jazz flutist James W. Newton.

The Supreme Court on June 13 declined to consider whether a 1992 Beastie Boys song infringed on the copyright of a recording by jazz flutist James W. Newton.

In declining to hear the case, Newton v. Diamond, the High Court chose not to further clarify the copyright infringement aspects of digital sampling.

Newton had argued that the group’s "Pass the Mic" included a sample from his musical composition "Choir" without his full permission. The Beastie Boys paid a licensing fee for the six-second, three-note segment of Newton's work, but failed to pay an additional fee to license the underlying composition.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reasoned that the short segment in "Pass the Mic" was not distinctive enough to be considered Newton's work.


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