Miles Raymer, writing for MTV, looks at some ideas on fixing copyright law in how it relates to musicians and clearing samples:
Menell’s solution is to apply something called a compulsory license to sampling, remixing, and other derivative works. Compulsory licenses replace the process of gaining a copyright holder’s permission to make use of their original work with a flat royalty structure and a set of rules for how the work can be reinterpreted. We already have this kind of setup for cover songs: Under U.S. copyright law, anyone can perform and record any song that anyone else has written and recorded without getting their prior permission, as long as they pay a royalty to the copyright owner. This is why pop-punk bands can cover Top 40 songs, why iTunes is full of sound-alike cover versions of hit songs by artists it doesn’t have deals with, and why hip-hop producers often hire instrumentalists to play “interpolations” of musical passages they want to sample but can’t clear.