Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stoop Sampling

P Diddy has a cologne. He's being sued by an artist who claims the bottle the cologne comes in is a ripoff of one of his works of art.

If this thing goes to trial, will the artist be able to enter into evidence Mr. Diddy's songs? Since his "songs" are really "samples"of other peoples songs, it shows he has a history of taking an existing product-in this case, a song- and using that product to create a new product. While it doesn't prove that is what he did in creating the cologne, it does reflect a pattern of business behaviour that Diddy has engaged in for many years.

In criminal law, a pattern of behaviour in some instances can be entered into evidence to prove the current allegations. Say you are charged with a bank robbery. In most cases, the fact that you have been convicted of previous bank robberies cannot be entered into evidence against you. The rationale: the previous convictions are not evidence that you committed the current bank robbery. However, if your previous bank robbery convictions showed you engaged in a unique pattern of behaviour that matches the current allegations-say, you brought a violin to each bank & sang "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree"- then a judge may allow the previous bank robberies to be entered into evidence.

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