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Using Royalty free source audio for projects you're being paid for


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#1 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:43 PM

Hey there,

Something I've been curious about. I don't have any interface to record sounds right now, and although I have two decent compressor mics, I need something to record to my computer with. I also can't necessarily get all sounds, like a helicopter or gunshot.

So, I was wondering about the ethics about using royalty free source audio libraries for projects you're working on. I've been taking them, changing the pitch, layering them, adding reverb, etc. to change them a little bit. Is it wrong for me to get paid doing this? I have edited them and am still doing processing and creating sounds for unique game events, even if I'm not doing the recordings? Of course, as soon as I have the capability I will begin building my own sound library. Just wondering what everybody else thinks.

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#2 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5721

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:44 AM

Hey there,

Something I've been curious about. I don't have any interface to record sounds right now, and although I have two decent compressor mics, I need something to record to my computer with. I also can't necessarily get all sounds, like a helicopter or gunshot.

So, I was wondering about the ethics about using royalty free source audio libraries for projects you're working on. I've been taking them, changing the pitch, layering them, adding reverb, etc. to change them a little bit. Is it wrong for me to get paid doing this? I have edited them and am still doing processing and creating sounds for unique game events, even if I'm not doing the recordings? Of course, as soon as I have the capability I will begin building my own sound library. Just wondering what everybody else thinks.

 

If the license for the library allows what you are doing and your customers are happy with the result then there is nothing wrong with it.


I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#3 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1041

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:43 AM

Hello,

Many companies that sell sounds have dedicated license pages that you should consult - they look like this. Sometimes these are hidden in the FAQ on the publisher's website.

Creative Commons sound sources like those found on freesound.org have different kinds of licenses, like "You're free to use this in a commercial context and change it however you want, but you'll have to attribute the original creator in any case." - It's good to read up on those as well.

Sometimes it can be wrong to assume, "I paid for it, so I should be able to use it however I want."
We had an interesting example the other day where this assumption turned out to be a fallacy. This is obviously an exception and rarely the case with professional products, but I'd make sure if sounds are really absolutely royalty-free before I even consider buying them.

Of course, most companies add a bit to their licensing statement keeping people from just changing the sounds a little bit and then re-selling them as your own libraries.

In conclusion, the safest way is to check licensing individually, for every product / sample you use, and for every context you use them in.

Cheers,
Moritz

Check out my Music/Sound Design Reel on moritzpgkatz.de


#4 chimpspanner   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

I personally would never do this myself (unless I was on an unimaginably tight deadline and missing it wasn't an option). But then again, I'm part of the "problem" in as much as I create such music, and work for a company that sells it. Right now it's probably the only thing paying my bills haha. So I can't really knock it. But I will admit, it's a bitter pill to swallow knowing that people are using products I make to get the work I would like to get. But hey, I've got a whole year ahead of me to change that :) Anyway that's just my personal reflection on the matter. As has been said, check the license. If it's all cleared for use, then go right ahead!



#5 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

So far, they have all been from places like Freesound.org and I have taken only the ones with no restrictions ie I have not used any that are under an attribution or non-commercial license because I don't know that I can deliver on that.

It is only sound effects volunteered by others, not music.

#6 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1700

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

There are a couple dangers about using free sounds...

 

2) as pointed out, there are frequently non-monetary license requirements such as attribution, etc.

 

1) you are assuming that the person who posted them to be taken freely in fact had the authority to do so.  So if some random person takes an SFX from a paid library, uploads to to "freesounds", it doesn't suddenly make the sound "free."  If you then  use it, you may  be held responsible if there's a problem.

 

Brian


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#7 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3607

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

Have you considered a la carte sites like www.sounddogs.com and www.soundrangers.com? I understand the investment for full SFX libraries can sometimes be too much but many sites offer individual SFX for a much lower rate and could get you rolling. Plus being that they're established and have official relationships you can avoid some of the issues that fall under "free" sounds.


Edited by nsmadsen, 09 January 2013 - 09:17 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios




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