Does copyright law cover samples used in industrial sound design?
January 24, 2013 11:37 PM Subscribe
To what degree does copyright law cover the sounds objects make, when those sounds are actually samples? I know copyright law covers sampling in media; if I sample a song or other media, I need to check that my use of the sample aligns with various licenses. As far as I know, it doesn't cover the sounds of most other (non-media) objects: if I record the chiming sound a mechanical clock makes, as far as I know I don't need to ask anyone's permission. But what happens if my clock doesn't chime mechanically, but instead plays a sample of a chime? It's playing sound media; if I want to record it do I need to ask anyone's permission?
posted by Michael Pulsford to Law & Government (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm doing a radio project on sonic skeuomorphs: sounds which objects don't really need to make but which they do because earlier iterations of the object made them. For example, the new streetcars in my city play a bell sound, just like the old ones do. But the new ones play a sample, where the old ones just rang a metal bell. It makes good sense for new trams to sound like the old ones, for safety reasons, but theoretically it could play anything. I'm interested in sounds like this, and have started recording them. A user on Freesound pointed out that they might be covered by copyright law, which I honestly hadn't considered.