Sampling news reports/speeches for use in music - legal?

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kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

In answer to my question I suspect not - but does anyone know for sure how if legally I can sample some speech from a news report (BBC in my case) and use it in music? I did a track which uses fragments of various UK politicians speeches, along with a foreign correspondent and part of one of Barak Obamas speeches - all broadcast on the BBC.

I strongly suspect the copyright to these resides with the BBC and I cant (legally!) use them in my music. However so far my google skills have failed to turn up any definitive about speeches - lots of stuff about music and sampling of course.

I've not uploaded the track anywhere (and very likely wont anyway) - but it did get me thinking about this issue for future work I guess.

Jan

syrupcore
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Joined: 09/26/2010

The political speeches themselves may be in the public domain (in the US anyway, the government cannot copyright anything) but the sound recording itself would be the property of the BBC. That said, if your song aims to 'educate' there you may have a 'fair use' claim but that wouldn't be easy/cheap to defend if the BBC got mad.

alphacat
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Joined: 02/02/2012

A lot of it comes down to the awareness and willpower of the party being sampled; unless they're an outfit that spends a lot of time prosecuting violators (like Disney for example) it's very likely that it will not register on their legal radar, even if it is illegal.

The one thing that can change that quickly is commercial success: if your song starts selling more than, say, 5000 units - then it might turn into an issue.

Slam-Cut
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Joined: 09/07/2011

Basically don't worry about it if you are not making any money on the music. If you plan to make money on the music, then an entertainment lawyer will help you get clearance. In the US, generally speaking a party has to be able to demonstrate some sort of 'loss' due to your use of recorded material from someone else. Politician's aren't selling their speeches, so they won't likely try to sue you for 'damages'. News agencies are giving away their recordings for free when they broadcast. Not much of a damage there. Martin Luther King was not a politician and was able to copyright his famous and oft sampled speech, which is basically the same as lyrics to a song.
It is not entirely this simple, and anyone can try to sue to get you to stop what you are doing with their recording or speech, but it is highly unlikely. By the time you have had enough success with your song to get someone's attention, you'll be able to pay a lawyer to negotiate a license to use it.

Don't trust anything I just wrote, since I am not a lawyer, just a bored person who ought to be using NS instead of reading this forum...

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

It would be nice to think I would sell enough copies to have problems - experience to date woud suggest that woud be somewhat unlikely :-) so I've no plans to buy the Caribbean Island and retire there.

It's been said it's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission - but perhaps not the best advice really! I suppose my concern is that things have a habit of hanging around the internet (I pretty much take the view these days that anything I stick on the internet will be around for ever) and even though I woud get my usual 20ish listens now there is nothing to stop the track being picked up and used in some way months or even years later. Perhaps I worry too much and should concentrate on making better music (with or without politician samples).

The frustrating thing was I couldn't seem to find a definitive position anywhere - in general or on the bbc website (for example).

Anyway I'm a tired person who really should stop reading forums and go to bed!

Jan

Cpu Red
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Joined: 07/05/2013

Personally I think it's best to just stay away from other peoples samples. If your work does get picked up later then you'll have nothing to worry about. I think sampling is a bit lame for the most part from a creative point of view although there are definitely cases where it is actually cool but those are the exception rather than the norm. It sounds like you're possibly doing something in a creative way that most people ripping samples aren't doing but I think you can probably do something just as creative without it. You should check out the app Samplr it's really cool for vocals and a whole bunch of other stuff, you might find you can use your own vocals in this way.

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

@cpured: there is a reason I've never tried adding vocals to any of my tracks - and that is I really really cannot sing. Even my Mum, who normally thinks I can do everything well (like most Mums), will say how I can't sing (even as a child)!

I know what you mean about ripping samples - and the danger with politician/news samples you end up sounding like that track in the 1980's "19".

Cpu Red
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Joined: 07/05/2013

Well that's a problem most of us run into I'd imagine. I myself cannot sing very well but I need vocals on my tracks and I enjoy writing lyrics. The best songs usually have vocals, my friend says vocals are the soul of a track and i tend to agree. What I've done in the past is use auto tune to write my lyrics and construct the song and then keep singing each verse sans auto tune until I get it to where I like it. I really admire people who write and sing their own songs. I really don't want to be a singer but I do it out of necessity. One option you might try is to use Craigslist to find singers who might sing for free. I don't know if Craigslist has sites for cities outside of the U.S. It seems like many of the members on this forum live in the UK. That might be an option for you. I do know there are websites dedicated to samples with Creative Commons licensing. Maybe try googling that and see what you find.

Cpu Red
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Joined: 07/05/2013

I did a quick search and came to this site which links to a bunch of different sites with free to use vocal samples. http://music.tutsplus.com/articles/15-sites-where-you-can-find-free-voca... good luck.

zydeco_kie
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Joined: 09/10/2013

like this you mean ....

https://soundcloud.com/j_fish/lime-cut3-remastered

heehee

but yes , probably actionable , but again unless your planning on commercialising it , will anyone care?

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

@zydeco_kie: yep - like that :-) And as you say who will care?
(nice track by the way)

syrupcore
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Joined: 09/26/2010

Vocals can be the soul of a track but Miles Davis didn't need vocals. Or Aphex Twin. Or ambient era Bryan Eno. or... I like to think of that sometimes and then feel real real bad about my own music.

zydeco_kie
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Joined: 09/10/2013

Thanks Jan ,

i make sounds as an interesting ,cathartic and educational hobby , feedback is always good , especially good feedback - appreciate that...

always loved cut ups and spoken samples ..., so i vote go for it ... always fall back on the 'satire' get-out ;)

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

Might have to reconsider posting the track then :-) It was my slightly angry response to the chemical weapons in Syria back last August - and all sounds were actually from the Korg DS10 app (?) on a Nintendo DS, arranged in NS of course.

Also not sure if my slightly angry response is actually much use for anyone else other than me, or indeed how I feel about using such a tragic thing as "music" in this way.....

This is possibly the real reason why I didn't post the track, but it was what started me wondering about the use of samples in this way.

Cpu Red
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Joined: 07/05/2013

I say post it. The worst that could happen is it gets removed from your soundcloud account and that seems fairly unlikely given the content of the samples.

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

Oh, go on :-)

Here (at least for a period of time) is the track I was talking about....
https://soundcloud.com/acollectionofnotes/this-is-not-a-world-we-should

Jan

dendy
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Joined: 07/28/2010

in psytrance genre is very common to sample a speach parts from sci-fi movies or various scientific talks .. i never heard aboud any producer who hat some problems because of this :) and i'm talking about comercial releases on, in many cases, big labels ..

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

I guess its simply a case of who notices - and if money is involved of course. So no worries for that in my case then :-)

The whole thing was I couldn't find definitive "position" on this kind of sampling. Film, yes loads, samples from other tracks, yes loads, famous speeches, yes. Current political speeches/reporting - nothing at all.

syrupcore
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Joined: 09/26/2010

?? Mechanical rights are pretty clear. If I record something, I own the recording. Not what's on it, but the recording. If you use my recording without permission, I'm allowed to get grumpy! If *you* go to a public political speech and record it, it's all yours. Use it however you like (minus libel stuff or whatever). Hell, you can go record a public Kanye West interview and do the same. If the BBC records it however, it's up to them how their recording gets used.

This is the same stuff you hear about when a musician (sometimes insanely famous) is trying to get ownership of their master tapes/files. If the record company fronts the money, they usually stipulate mechanical rights on the recording itself. Bob Dylan still owns the song but RCA owns the recording.

syrupcore
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Joined: 09/26/2010

speaking of... fun fact: There was never a recording contract between Mute and Depeche Mode. All on a handshake. I imagine that changed when he sold Mute to EMI but that was already 2002 - about fifty gajillion pounds later.

Slam-Cut
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Joined: 09/07/2011

BBC or any other big company, if they even notice a track floating amid the sea of unknown/unheard independent music, will look at how much money they can possibly get out of the musician (or small label) and compare that to the amount of money it will take to hire a team of expensive lawyers. At most, one should expect a Cease and Desist letter (that's what they refer to it as in the US) before ending up in a lawsuit. At that point you can either take the track down off of SoundCloud (and other sites) or you can offer a small royalty on the track. Tell 'em they can have 10% of every thing you make on the track. 10% of nothing is pretty cheap. :o)

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

I just stopped worrying about it - stuff is up there and was sampled from other people's youtube recordings of the BBC news reports. So naughty twice over :-)

The chances of anyone noticing or making any money is just about zero.

And if/when I do get the cease-and-desist I will simply do just that - I don't think the internet or even the world will be a much worse place without those tracks on soundclound/bandcamp.

There will be a bit of a cull of tracks this September when my soundcloud is up for renewal - so the problem might go away then.

Jan

alamin (not verified)

Everyone informed about grad classes admissions can certainly let you know in which engaging in graduate student classes just isn't seeing that uncomplicated seeing that which has a cutoff GPA or GRE report. Like a subject of actuality, many people really underestimate the significance on the graduate student admissions dissertation. http://www.trustmyessay.com/

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

That's almost poetry....

Maybe send that through some text-to-speech, pass it via iVoxel, bit of ambient Sunrizer pads - got a winner here :-)

ElectricWombat
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Joined: 01/16/2015

@Kitejan, that's certainly one creative way to deal with spam - I love it! The offending content could be automatically flagged, processed and intermingled algorithmically with some generative content (synth of the week?) then shared for all to enjoy in a special 'sound art' thread on the forum! Now that is what I call a spam filter - delicious ;)

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

..maybe a spam 24db low pass filter with self oscillation? Could be a feature of NS2....

Stiksi
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Joined: 11/21/2010

That's actually already in the Wishlists thread… Proof that we really have requested everything.

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

And proof that I haven't actually read the wishlist :-)

syrupcore
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Joined: 09/26/2010

> That's actually already in the Wishlists thread… Proof that we really have requested everything.

Was thinking the very same. #oldtimers.

kitejan
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Joined: 04/05/2011

Well just for fun (and for a limited time only :-) )- here is my "NanoSpam" track based on the wonderful abstractness above...

Knocked together in the gap between work and home using Peter Vogel's CMI, Sunrizer and Nanostudio. Maybe when spam does appear on here we should have a competition to turn the spam into the subject of tracks....

Jan

ElectricWombat
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Joined: 01/16/2015

@Kitejan, awesome man! That was fantastic (and appreciated); also somewhat ironic after the discussion above regarding the context of copyright infringement for found narrative in music! Then by chance, some arbitrary spam becomes the literary focus of an ad hoc track - still laughing my ass off! :) I wish I had access to SuperCollider as I would imagine you could write a script to create a generative piece from a text file (automatically) but that was a brilliant response and way more appropriate being based in NS - hilarious he he :)