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Author Topic: Question about samples copyright  (Read 548 times)

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Cartman1337

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Question about samples copyright
« on: February 23, 2021, 19:58:52 »

Hi. I'm new here. I registered because I had one question, which has now grown to two.

I found the great WaveWorld sample pack here, labeled "free". Does that mean the samples within are public domain, and can be used for any purpose?

But my main question is, does anyone know about the copyright status of the samples WITHIN the Unreal II PM s3m by Purple Motion? I'm particularly interested in using the piano chord samples within in my own work.
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Saga Musix

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 23:01:08 »

WaveWorld is free but not public domain. Many of the files are sampled from commercial synth presets, which is a bit of a grey area. It's okay to use those samples in your music (also commercially), but if you want to be 100% certain that everything you use is in the public domain, they are the wrong choice.

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But my main question is, does anyone know about the copyright status of the samples WITHIN the Unreal II PM s3m by Purple Motion? I'm particularly interested in using the piano chord samples within in my own work.
That's a particularly tricky file to ask about because it contains samples from movies (e.g. "ten seconds to transmission" from Batman). Many remixes (in particular those that ended up on CDs) of this song have avoided using those voice samples due to the lack of copyright clearance.
The rest of the samples are certainly also not in the public domain - unless someone specifically says so, you cannot assume that this is the case. Most artists will not care if you use their samples, as long as you credit them, but in many modules those credits are missing so often the wrong person gets credited when yet another person reuses a sample. Some of the samples in Second Reality are certainly original, while others are taken from other modules.
Again, if you absolutely need to be sure you are only using public domain material, this is not the right way to go.

For the specific samples you asked about, they are sampled from the famous Piano 16' patch from the Korg M1 which is heard on thousands of records and modules of the 90s. They can easily be recreated with Korg's M1 VST plugin in higher quality if you want a version that is guaranteed to not "belong" to anyone - although again, sampling synth presets is a bit of a grey area but noone ever got sued for sampling a single patch, it gets more problematic if you e.g. sample all the presets of a synth and then sell your own sample pack based on them.

I have attached some high-quality recreations of those piano samples to this post. They are directly sampled from the Korg M1 VST. As far as I'm concerned you can use them for anything you want, but again - they are based on commercial synth presets, which means that they are free to use, but not in the public domain.
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Cartman1337

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2021, 07:44:49 »

Awesome! Thanks for those high-quality recreations, I'm looking forward to testing them out! :)

Samples doesn't have to be in public domain for me to work them, I'm fine with it as long as I can use them, also commercially, without getting sued. I've been making tunes for personal use for decades, but I'm toying with the idea of trying to get some of my latest work published, which is why I've gotten more concerned about these types of issues. Those pianos are an integral part of many of my tunes, and as such of particular concern and importance, so thanks again! If I do manage to get a release eventually I'll make sure to give you credit. I'll also credit the WaveWorld sample pack, since many of the samples I've used for years, which I was also a bit concerned about, were included in the pack.

My main concern, as far as getting things published, is the voice samples I've used. Not sure if Purple Motion got the sample from Batman cleared, but my personal versions of the tracks have a lot of samples with similar concern. I'm working on recrating them with other samples, which I've officially licesensed, and I'm going to try to create own samples where I can't find samples in the licensed packs I've got that fit the tunes' theme enough to work.

Apart from that there are still a couple of instrument samples I need to rework or replace, but I'm getting closer now, and will get closer still thanks to the help on this site, so thanks again! :)
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TalkOrBell

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2021, 09:37:05 »

Just to weigh in...

You can accept this or not but the REAL catch is if you plan to make any money off any samples...

As long as you DON'T MAKE A PENNY! Everything is safe...

I am talking if you live in USA, which is a corporation...Not a country. So 'business' must be conducted before civil action can come...

However you must KNOW THIS as if you don't like most people & AGREE you violated a copyright WITHOUT receiving a penny then you have agreed to contract which supercedes business...

All this 'copyright strike' garbage on youtube & the like is bunk & just used to control people & their channels...

Just because a person 'originated' a file (created) does not mean they have a copyright...You gotta file for it which takes awhile...So first thing you do is demand the individual or company show proof they have copyright or at least have filed for it. To claim you have copyright WITHOUT having an actual copyright is against the law but never prosecuted as it is used to control so many...
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Saga Musix

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2021, 10:57:41 »

My main concern, as far as getting things published, is the voice samples I've used. Not sure if Purple Motion got the sample from Batman cleared
He most definitely didn't. Nobody cared back then, and these days many people still don't care.

As long as you DON'T MAKE A PENNY! Everything is safe...
That's a dangerous assumption to make and definitely not a safe legal advise to give. A license violation is still a license violation if you don't make any money off it. Whether you personally agree that this is sensible or not is of little relevance to the legal system.

Lots of things about copyright are fundamentally broken. That doesn't make ignoring those rules a good thing to do, though.

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Just because a person 'originated' a file (created) does not mean they have a copyright...You gotta file for it which takes awhile
Wrong. The Berne Convention mandates that copyright is given automatically; it is prohibited to require formal registration. However there are some differences in how the US handles it, but in general, if you created something, you implicitly have the copyright to it.
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Cartman1337

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2021, 12:44:12 »

Thanks for your feedback. I do not live in the US, by the way.

I'm not too concerned about using instrument samples, which as Saga Musix put it are in "a bit of a grey area", since in a mixed state, combined with other instruments, various pitches and filters etc. it's hard for anyone who doesn't have the source file available to prove that "this and that specific sound" is specifically theirs. I still, for own peace of mind, try to have as few grey areas as possible, though, and no distinctly black areas, i.e. instrument samples that are so unique that they can be unambiguously identified, which I haven't specifically licensed for use.

In that respect I'm concerned about some electric guitar samples I use in my latest tracks, which I sampled off of a YouTube video (segmented into single guitar notes). Very hard for anyone to identify, of course, but I know about it. There were some good new samples in the WaveWorld pack, and I've also found some on FreeSound, labled public domain, which I aim to replace them with, though.

Voice samples, on the other hand, are much less of a grey area, very much more leaning towards black, as they can mostly be easily identified by their respective owners, regardless of whatever other stuff there is in the mix. For those purposes I'll have to use solely samples I've officially licensed, samples that are unambiguously regarded to be in public domain, or samples I've recorded myself, before I try to release it.
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Ceekayed

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2021, 19:16:42 »

As for getting published, you can just take the safe route and painstakingly clear all grey area / recognizable samples from the authors you have ripped the samples from. Authors of old modules are still relatively easy to find and usually respond kindly to requests like that.

And yes, you do automatically have copyright to everything you create. Trademarks, patents and such require registration, but any creative piece you create is yours and yours only from the moment you create it until 70 years after your death or until transferred to another party via a copyright transfer agreement.

The tricky part is that owning copyright to something does not necessarily mean you're also allowed to sell it or license someone else to use your work. A good example of such a case would be samples made using Omnisphere's factory sample collection. Using their sample collection in anything else but as a part of a musical piece is strictly prohibited in their ToS, so while you technically do have the copyright to the individual patches you create with their samples, you do not have the right to sell or license the use of the patches to a 3rd party, or even use them yourself as stand-alone sound effects in your own work (unless it's part of a musical piece). Many other virtual instruments have similar license agreements.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 19:44:33 by Ceekayed »
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Cartman1337

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2021, 20:05:41 »

A good example of such a case would be samples made using Omnisphere's factory sample collection. Using their sample collection in anything else but as a part of a musical piece is strictly prohibited in their ToS, so while you technically do have the copyright to the individual patches you create with their samples, you do not have the right to sell or license the use of the patches to a 3rd party, or even use them yourself as stand-alone sound effects in your own work (unless it's part of a musical piece). Many other virtual instruments have similar license agreements.

Never heard of Omnisphere before, but if that's the case, why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars for it?

I have a sizable collection of purchased/licensed samples, both instrumental and voice, which explicitly allow for the usage in commercial works, in pretty much any way, shape or form I want, as long as they are used alongside other samples/instruments, and aren't made available/reproduceable in their original form. I've also got many free samples, not including the packs you link to here, with similar licenses or explicitly marked as public domain.

But I have no illusions of making it big, even if I should manage to get anything published, of course. But it would be fun to able to say I'm a published musician, even though I can't play a single instrument, and to find out if there's anyone else who'd enjoy my take on music... ;D
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Ceekayed

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2021, 07:17:00 »

Never heard of Omnisphere before, but if that's the case, why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars for it?

It is pretty much the most powerful all-in-one synth out there. And the license dumbness is only for their factory library samples, anything you make from a scratch with the synth itself or by using your own sample sources are in the clear to use however you wish. So the little ToS trick only really only applies to people who a) want to redistribute Omnisphere's sample library (modified or not) or b) work in a field that uses samples in a non-musical context (SFX work in various media).

ASIKWUSpulse

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Re: Question about samples copyright
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2021, 17:29:34 »

Hope the sharing of sampled Tunefish 3 patches are ok. I've looked the source up, the vst-plugin is made by sceners :D, specifically the demoscene group Brain Control.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2021, 17:31:22 by ASIKWUSpulse »
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Samples can be anything recorded: Instruments, furniture and even junk! ;)
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