Does sound effects in daily life have copyright?

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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Anna
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Does sound effects in daily life have copyright?

Post by Anna » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:39 pm

Hi folks.

Ordinary sounds one can come across in daily life, like: clapping, footstep, airflow, electrics, scream, etc. I have some of these sounds, but cannot locate their sources. Will it be safe if I use them?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:18 pm

Hi Anna,

When you say you "have some of these sounds" do you mean that you some sound effects recordings made by other people? If so, then while there is no copyright in the sounds themselves, the recordings are protected as sound recordings* (just like recordings of music). This means that copying them for use in a commercial setting would infringe the rights in the recordings unless they were issued with some sort of licence detailing how they could be used. A bit like clip art, sounds effects are presumably sold with the intention that they will be used in some way beyond straightforward listening to them. Thus it is highly probable that they did originally come with a limited use licence, However as you don't know the source, you presumably can't check this.

In theory you do need permission to re-use these recordings but if you can't identify the source or find a licence, you would be running a risk using these effects without it. Alternatively you could try recording your own sound effects, on a smart phone perhaps, unless of course you need something outside the normal everyday sort of noise (say, for instance, the Flying Scotsman passing through Crewe station at 70 mph).


* Copyright in sound recordings lasts for 70 years from the year they were first made.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Anna
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Post by Anna » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:51 am

Thanks Andy. I think I need to be careful with these sound effects.

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