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    How can the operators of this site be sure, that uploaded samples are legal?


    Hi everybody,
    How can the operators of this site be sure, that uploaded samples are legal?
    How can we, the users of these samples be sure, that they are legal?
    The first reason for asking is, that I want to be sure, that if I'll go one day commercial with my music, I don't want to get in troubles.
    The second reason is, that i have no idea, how thousand and thousand of samples could possibly be examined ( I mean the method of examining).
    BTW...I love this site and DL a lot the last days smile

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    75 sounds
    198 posts


    Hi atarius,

    I record all my samples or use syths or vsti to make my own.
    You can also buy/download sample packs, that are free to use.
    If your not sure about the copyright of a sample, try to make/record it yourself or find one that doesnt have copyright.(freesound!!)
    My personal opinion is that you cannot put copyright on a sample unless its some kind of composition or melody.
    The rest of the samples like the "miauw" of a cat or a gunshot something like that, you cannot put because its just an everyday sound.
    Its a little like you paint "the mona lisa" only with a different girl, nobody can say its a copy but still its a copy of "the mona lisa".
    I think if you keep that in mind everything will be oke, try to be original, make the samples your own by using them in a different way, be creative.
    And if you really dont want any trouble, just credit everybody you took a sample from.............

    If you need any samples maybe i can help.

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
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    Hi escortmarius,
    Albeit I hoped, one of the makers of this site would answer my question...
    many thanx for your kind reply smile !
    I see, that in my first post I didn't express myself clearly, so I try again.
    If somebody would upload some samples of Native Instruments or any other copyrighted samples, on this site, how would this be discovered? Or he would modify such samples a tiny little bit, and claims, that he made the samples...how can anyone know this?
    I am a bit afraid, that if I use samples of this site, I could get one day in trouble, cause I can't imagine, how the uploaded stuff is proved!
    Therefore I would appreciate very much, if one of the administrators of this forum, or anyone, who knows this very thoroughly, could answer my question!
    Please consider, that this is NOT mistrust, but just questions of a newbie!

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    75 sounds
    198 posts


    Hi ataris,

    If you mention in the credits of your project, that you got the sounds from freesound.
    And, credit the users that you got the file from.......(think about it!!)
    Sorry but i dont think that anybody can disagrae on this one.

    YOU ARE SAFE!!

    If you upload something on the internet, DONT ASK FOR COPYRIGHT!!!
    Only really stupid people can do this smile

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
  • avatar
    48 sounds
    676 posts


    I am not a moderator but a couple days back, I was reading a moderator's reply on a different thread (and on a completely different topic). He (or she) was saying that the reason it takes the moderators so much time to approve certain samples is because they have to make sure that the samples are not copyrighted material.
    With that, I, myself, am quite assured that there is a good amount of research done before a sound can be approved (and I'm pretty sure certain sounds are rejected, too, if they come across as too fishy).
    If you are really scared about using some samples from here, here are some suggestions:
    1) Use sounds from those people who have quite a good amount of sounds uploaded (and who have been freesound members for a long, long time).
    2) Look for descriptions in the sound sample. The more descriptive it is (and this is not always true), the better the chance that the person who uploaded genuinely either recorded it or created it (virtually) himself.
    3) If it sounds too dubious, go for another uploader. I am pretty sure there are many sounds here that will fulfill your purpose. There cannot be "one" single sound that you are looking for (I have come across many duplicates/almost-similar entries myself).
    4) If it sounds too dubious, put up a sample request (although I am sure this wouldn't be seen as a good etiquette despite there being a sound already uploaded, already moderated by moderators -- it would come across as an insult to their moderation). Or PM a user who you think is genuine who could reproduce that sound for you.

    Even if you are still afraid, the person who originally uploaded the copyrighted sound is (and I am only assuming here, no expert myself) to be held responsible for uploading it (and probably the moderators) for allowing that sound, but mostly the uploader. So even in that case, you should be completely all right because when you use samples from this site, you simply have to trust that the moderation has been proper and that the sounds you are using are genuine ones and not copyrights.

    I will watch this thread, though, because the question you have raised is an important one, and I would want a moderator or a webmaster answer this question (if it hasn't already been answered elsewhere).

    Good luck!

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    As a veteran sound editor/supervisor/mixer on over 100 Hollywood feature films, I can assure all that in the U.S. you cannot effectively copyright a sound effect. Music, yes, but a door close or tire skid or even a "design" title slam... not really. At least, not in any meaningful way that will survive in court. Even "copyrighted" commercial libraries, as much as they'd like to, would be hard pressed to make a case, and the money involved is simply not worth the expense of a suit.

    This is especially true when sound effects are created as part of a "work for hire" deal; if the producer/studio wishes to pursue it, they can and do take legal possession of a sound they paid to have created and use it again in their own subsequent projects - Dreamworks Animation has been doing this for years, building their internal library from the work done on all their films by hired-gun outside sound teams. It's just how things are.

    That being said... I absolutely do not encourage anyone to pilfer commercial libraries without actually buying the rights. Those libraries take a ton of work to build and publish and those involved deserve fair compensation for all that time and expense. In my world, each studio and independent sound house's library is worth a fortune, particularly the material that is unique to that library because it was recorded for specific projects, and building one's personal library by pilfering from those is seriously uncool, at best. At worst it can guarantee that a guilty party who gets caught will have one fewer places to work.

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    473 sounds
    127 posts


    This is a legitimate concern and people are missing the point: A sound on Freesound can easily get through moderation and be called C.C. Anyone who uses that sound is NOT safe. The original uploader could be well-intended; maybe they were also under the impression a sound was free to use. I don't see a real concern for a home-musician who sticks a cowbell in a song or a student film-maker using some footsteps. For more serious and commerical applications, the implications can be more troubling. I imagine it is exactly this that keeps some from taking advantage of Freesound. The liabilities are not worth it.

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    1345 sounds
    1525 posts


    Dear Freesounders

    Thank you for bringing up the subject. Certainly a well worth discussion.
    I am one of the freesound moderators and as such i can answer some of your questions.

    I can only speak for the time i have been moderating but i assume it was not very different before.
    ALL SOUNDS in the freesound database go through a human moderator. How can we do this? Because there is a team of voluntary moderators working behind the scenes to moderate all samples uploaded.

    How does it work?
    A moderator will listen to the sample and also check the description and tags.
    There are essentially three categories:
    1) sounds that are clearly copyrighted - a song by Paul McCartney or the voice of Bugs Bunny saying "what's up doc?' would fall into this category.
    2) sounds that are clearly not copyrighted - a recording of a crowd cheering at a football match, a cat, a dog, etc
    3) everything else

    Freesound is a database for SOUND, not music. So any music uploaded is rejected.
    This simplifies the job because i cannot possibly know every piece of music and know if the uploader has the copyright.
    So any music or anything in category 1) is rejected.
    Category 2) is, obviously approved.
    For stuff in category 3) the moderator will contact the uploader.
    This is wherecwe check if they have created the sound or where it came from.
    Ultimately, if they say they created it, we normally believe them. If they are lying it is THEIR copyrigut infringement, not ours. - we have taken due diligence and reasonable precautions.
    In addition to this, moderators also often ask uploaders to improve sounds descriptions and tags before aproving them into the database.

    Freesound falls into the web category of sites with "user uploaded contents". In case of a complaint by a copyright holder, Freesound's responsibility is limited to removing the offending material.

    What this means for users?
    To sucessfully win a copyright case, the copyright holder should prove intentional breach and damages/loss of earnings.
    If the sound you have used came from a creative commons database (i.e. Freesound) it is reasonable for you to expect you are not infringing copyright (i.e.) no intention.
    However, always use common sense:
    If you believe you recognize a copyrighted sample, report it and it will be investigated.
    Of course, as mentioned on this thread, it is safer to use samples from freesounders with more uploads and proper descriptions.

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
  • avatar
    48 sounds
    676 posts


    AlienXXX wrote:
    If the sound you have used came from a creative commons database (i.e. Freesound) it is reasonable for you to expect you are not infringing copyright (i.e.) no intention.

    I think that captures the essence of any fear that anyone might have. I would like to hear a little more from stomachache on this, though, as to why he/she feels otherwise.

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    Thank You all,
    I am nearly satisfied with these contributions , mainly by the post of AlienXXX, but also those from
    afleetingspeck and stomachache.

    afleetingspeck wrote:
    Even if you are still afraid, the person who originally uploaded the copyrighted sound is (and I am only assuming here, no expert myself) to be held responsible for uploading it (and probably the moderators) for allowing that sound, but mostly the uploader. So even in that case, you should be completely all right because when you use samples from this site, you simply have to trust that the moderation has been proper and that the sounds you are using are genuine ones and not copyrights.

    AND
    AlienXXX wrote:
    If the sound you have used came from a creative commons database (i.e. Freesound) it is reasonable for you to expect you are not infringing copyright (i.e.) no intention.

    But what happens to an artist, who releases a music album, and after the release somebody discovers copyrighted samples on the album? Is he then also be held responsible or only the uploader?? Has the artist to pay for that?

    And two other questions:
    1. What happens, if this site would be shut down one day, and people, who used samples in their songs, have nothing to refer to?

    2. If some bad guy takes 30 samples of a multisample of Native Instruments consisting of 200 Samples and modifie them a tiny little bit....how is it possible to discover this?

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    75 sounds
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    Oke, this last question is really interesting.

    I want to turn it around as an hypothesis.

    As you all know there are millions of different samples.....
    I think its impossible to hear them all in a lifetime......

    Now, what if I create a sample that allready has copyright by someone else?(by accident)
    I can remake it and show you all the steps, I really made it myself.
    Can they claim the copyright?

    If i make 30 samples that sound like samples of Native Instruments, can I upload them to Freesound?

    I think we need a lawyer smile

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
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    1345 sounds
    1525 posts


    @escortmarius

    Lets put it this way. If i drew a cartoon that looks like Mickey Mouse, which i have drawn myself not photocopied, etc...
    ... And i started slling t-shirts with it on ciuld i be sued by Walt Disney?
    I guess the answer, we all agree is yes. Although if i am selling a small number of t-shirts at a fair, that is unlikely. If i am Lewis and i decided to sell Lewis branded t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on without paying any rights to Walt Disney, i woul be sure to be sued.

    You cannot patent or copyright a sound as such. So, if i can reproduce a sound that you have in your music and use it in my music... No problem.
    If i make my whole music to sound exactly like your, guess what... Sue.

    However, specific laws apply to sampling.
    Essentially, taking a copy of something someone else made and use it as yours is not ok.

    Replicas, recreations, etc are all ok.
    If you use different means to create a sound that is 'the same' as a NI patch, that is fine. Sampling the NI patch and posting at freesound is not ok.

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
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    1345 sounds
    1525 posts


    @atarius

    As you may have gathered, copyright is very complex. Freesound does not have any lawyers nor can it be expected to provide any legal help or assistance - and that includes my posts in this forum as i am certainly not a lawyer smile

    Internet rules for a site like Freesound limit its responsibility. Freesound takes reasonable precautions to avoid copyrighted material being uploaded and its responsibility and liability is limited to removing offending material if asked to do so.
    Could an uploader be prosecuted fir copyright breach? Certaily yes.
    Will he/she actually be prosecuted? Depends on the nature of the infraction and how willing the copyright owner is to prosecute (i.e. spend money). This in turn depends a lot on how much money they think they can make out of it. Because in the case of a normal Freesound user uploading a copyrighted sound that got through the moderation checks there is likely to be no money in it... Prosecution is unlikely.

    What about a musician that uses copyrighted sounds innadvertedly? Because he got them out of freesound he expected them to be creative commons or license free...
    Copyright holder may still prosecute, but the case is less likely to stand in court. Please note i say 'less likely'. No garantee... Of course, risk increases with how sucessfull your music is, because there is more money to be made in case of a legal victory...

    Can sounds be a little modified (or not modified at all) and be accepted. Of course, if the uploader lies to the moderators. His/hers responsibility smile
    I guess someone uploading full sample collections/NI patches should expect to be caught... Would not be surprised if some of those guys ran spot searches here to look for precisely that smile

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
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    75 sounds
    198 posts


    AlienXXX wrote:
    @escortmarius

    Lets put it this way. If i drew a cartoon that looks like Mickey Mouse, which i have drawn myself not photocopied, etc...
    ... And i started slling t-shirts with it on ciuld i be sued by Walt Disney?
    I guess the answer, we all agree is yes. Although if i am selling a small number of t-shirts at a fair, that is unlikely. If i am Lewis and i decided to sell Lewis branded t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on without paying any rights to Walt Disney, i woul be sure to be sued.

    You cannot patent or copyright a sound as such. So, if i can reproduce a sound that you have in your music and use it in my music... No problem.
    If i make my whole music to sound exactly like your, guess what... Sue.

    However, specific laws apply to sampling.
    Essentially, taking a copy of something someone else made and use it as yours is not ok.

    Replicas, recreations, etc are all ok.
    If you use different means to create a sound that is 'the same' as a NI patch, that is fine. Sampling the NI patch and posting at freesound is not ok.

    Oke, thanx AlienXXX

    Your actually getting closer to my point then me smile
    What if I make a comic about a mouse(music) and use the same colors(sounds) but tell the story in a different way(composition).

    I think as a musician you can use all samples, like as a painter you can use all colors.
    Copying music is not what your doing right??

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
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    Can you give me an example off a copyright sound?
    Like to seek the edge on one of this...

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
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    A parody or 'spoof' is often allowed. There are thousands of spoof Star Wars videos on youtube and a few proper parody movies have been made too.
    If you put on you tube a movie of a huge guy with a really strong bassy voice singing "i'm a virgin" dressed up as a schoolgirl... I do not think you would be sued by Madonna. grin

    But when making serious music pieces such antics should be avoided. Sampling copyrighted stuff is risky. At best is bad practice. And, in my opinion, totally unnecessary - there is enough non-copyrighted stuff out there to last 1000 lifetimes...
    If you were making a serious sci-fi movie you would not use shots taken from Star Wars, would you? Should be the same with music... wink

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
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    1345 sounds
    1525 posts


    To All...

    ... we seem to have drifted a bit from the original topic (not that that is a bad thing smile )
    But I see this turning into a "sampling is good" versus "sampling is bad" kind of discussion - meaning sampling of copyrighted stuff.

    Many people say copyright should not exist because it prevents sampling being used creatively.

    So, let me pre-empt that discussion and put it this way to you:
    Lets say you made this really nice original beat and created a track around it. This track goes on to be a number one hit, thanks to that original innovative beat of yours. Now, what happens next? Every man and his dog samples that beat, and soon after it is in every track. It's everywhere!
    These people spend no time or work creating this beat, they just got it for free. And they are trying to ride on the back of your success.

    Not only your beat is no longer original and unique - it's everywhere now - your music looses its appeal as people quickly get tired ot hearing that sound.
    So basically, some people got money from your work and you got less that you deserved because you lost the novelty factor.
    Although all those other people may well have used the sample creatively and made music that has little resemblance to yours...other than that beat...

    That is why copyright exists and is important. It protects the work of musicians and other artists. smile

    hmmmm..... erm..... I forgot...
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    I believe, as many of those who support Copy Left, CC licenses and the like... that Copyright, as it exists today, is not logical, but quite arbitrary, out of touch with reality, and excessively based on €$ profit.

    None of us build works out of the blue, we base our works on what we saw, heard, read... are our memories ours? To what extent copyrighted, or "authored" "things" are present in our life and affect our memories, the construction of our identities, how do we speak or have the sex, the kind of melodies or beats we like... ?

    Wherever the line is drawn on what can or can't be consideered as "mine" and so "copyrighted", and controllable by me... is quite arbitrary. And, again, we can be sure the line is going to be drawn in favour of those who accumulate power, through the accumulation of money. And thus we just had the SOPA PIPA brawl; and that's also why we are hearing more and more about "the commons"... the economic crisis just reinforced this tendence.

    In any case, freesound is part of a constructive alternative to copyright, that we all are helping develop, which is great.

    If you doubt about the legality of one user's sound, try checking the rest of his sounds, reading his profile, even asking him... As you can imagine, there is not so many people trying hard to fool the moderators. And while there are, probably, illegal sounds on Freesound, those are a small number in comparison.

    Enjoy.

    Jaume Ferrete www.jaumeferrete.net
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    371 sounds
    254 posts


    An interesting round-table!.......OK,some form of copyright law but if it fails to consider the development of music software and the internet revolution then it's not going to work...
    http://www.goodcopybadcopy.net/

    plagasul sais it best..."freesound is part of a constructive alternative to copyright, that we all are helping develop, which is great".

    Steady as she goes freesound!!

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    Reading about SOPA and PIPA, it seems that sites allowing users to post so much content are threatened by the possibility that a user may post illegal content possibly overlooked by a moderator. It seems fit that a site like freesound should be very concerned over it's future operation and maintenance, and even the possibility of being shut down?

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