No, no, no, I hope.
May 5, 2019 12:02 PM   Subscribe

The song "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim ends with what I believe is a sample from the theme song to "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids", the "na-na-na" part. Does Bill Cosby earn any royalties from this song?
posted by themanwho to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Yes, you are correct on the sample. From what I can see the theme song was written by Ed Fournier and Ricky Sheldon.
posted by miles1972 at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I feel like there's more to this question, but:

Probably not, in the sense that "royalties" based on sampling someone's work don't happen that way. It's usually more like a negotiated fee based on recording rights, performance rights, or both.

The song would still be in copyright. But even if FS's UK label (Skint) or US label (Astralwerks) actually paid the fee, there's not necessarily a mechanism by which someone's up the chain is getting paid when a song plays; they can barely manage to do that for the actual artist, let alone the people whose works they sample.

And it's not clear to me whether Cosby has any actual rights to the theme song in any case, so fees would quite possibly have gone to the composers or recording label.

As I understand it any money anyone made from this sample probably got folded into their earnings a long time ago.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Camille Yarbrough (whose song Take Yo' Praise was sampled more prominently) was given a writing credit by Fatboy Slim and earns royalties because of it and it doesn't seem anyone else whose songs were sampled was given writing credit. Which seems like a point in the "probably no" column for Cosby?
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

The credited songwriters for 'Praise You' are Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) and Camille Yarbrough (a soul singer whose 'Take Yo' Praise' is heavily featured in the 'Praise You'). IANAL, but my understanding is that songs that use samples only credit the songwriter of the sampled song when the sample makes up a large or significant part of the new song.

Between the fact that Cosby didn't write the theme song to 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,' and the fact that the people who did write that song did not get a songwriting credit for 'Praise You,' it seems vanishingly unlikely that Bill Cosby earns any royalties.

(The same can probably not be said for any songs which sample the Quincy Jones/Bill Cosby-written 'Hikky Burr', e.g. Above the Law's 'Livin' Like Hustlers'--Cosby and Q get a songwriting credit.)
posted by box at 2:14 PM on May 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Why isn't there a link to the song or the sample anywhere here?

Anyway it's extremely possible I'm wrong but somehow it is stuck in my head that clips under 5 seconds aren't subject to royalties/copyright infringement.
posted by raider at 3:36 PM on May 8, 2019

Why isn't there a link to the song or the sample anywhere here?

Whosampled is usually good for that kind of thing.
posted by box at 5:36 AM on May 9, 2019

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