Getting legal clearance for samples and covers can be a real problem. For samples, if the copyright owner of the sampled song discovers you've used it without permission, they can sue to receive a portion of the proceeds--even if the sample's unrecognizable. Even getting permission doesn't always save you, as the Beastie Boys discovered. An article in a recent issue of SSA explores the issue in detail and concurs with Beck's assessement in 2005 that the legal issues with sampling will basically kill the practice in mainstream commercial music.
Covers generally require permission from the publisher, … Read more