Sample Disputes

What is a sample?

A sample is an excerpt from a pre-existing piece of music that is used in a new piece of music.

Using a sample

To use an existing copyright you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Any piece of music containing a sample must be cleared with the original copyright owner, no matter how small the sample.

Registering samples

Samples can be registered by:

  1. The new copyright owner (the original copyright owner must be listed and the shares allocated)
  2. The record company applying for clearance to record music including a sample 

When registering:

  • Include details of the sampled work when registering the new piece of music
  • The copyright owner of the original piece of work and the copyright owner of the piece of music containing the sample, should both decide on their share of the royalty.

Once we have been notified of the new music, the shares will be registered as requested and all parties informed.


The Sampling Dispute Claims set out the situations where a sample may be disputed and our disputes procedure.

If you have a dispute it may be worth seeking further help. The MPA (Music Publisher Association) offers a comprehensive mediation service.

For more information see the MPA Website.

Further Information

Following consultation with members, we reviewed the rules governing samples claims. We found that the existing rules were largely fit for purpose, and only made the following changes:

  • Updates to PRS for Music contact details and process steps
  • Edits to the format and language to make the rules easier to understand

The updated rules came into effect from 28 June 2012.