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Thread: Copyright laws for using sound bites

  1. #1
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    Copyright laws for using sound bites

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    I have a question about copyrights.

    What are the laws regarding using sound bites in your music. I'm mixing a song and I want to incorporate a sample from an old newsreel. Is there a fair-use law that applies to this sort of thing?


  2. #2
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    If it's for your own use...just use it.
    If you plan to sell your music, then you may need clearance...though it may depend on the reel (age, source), and how much are you planning to use of it.
    It can be a bit of a PITA finding out who has ownership...especially if it's real old....but if you do find out, you may end up being given clearance without a hitch if it's something minor....though these days, everyone is looking for ways to get residual income from anything and there may be a cost.

    I think you may also want to consider how important that newsreel sample is to your music...and maybe you might simply create some newsreel audio yourself....that way, copyright issues...and it might be fun to do.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2017
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    If you can determine the copyright (owner) relatively easily, you should ask permission is my suggestion. Assuming Fair Use rarely works out well and does carry some risk, especially if you plan to publish and copyright your own work.

    I like @miroslav 's suggestion. Just create an old newsreel sounding recording. (Note, both the recording and the content may be copyrighted in the original - so a direct reproduction could still be treading on squishy ground.)

    The copyright laws (like patents here) are so murky it's best to get professional advice if you are really concerned about what you intend to do.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

  4. #4
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    I use Distrokid - and using a sample of any kind really complicates things, because the clearances are complex and for them, probably too much effort. The stories of copyright owners knocking on the door of people who used them without permission are quite true - I certainly know somebody who did this.

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