Sample Clearence

Started by boswell, April 11, 2010, 09:06:51 PM

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After listening a good ump-teen times to the new Dividing Line, my mind started to wander (as it has a habit) to random questions about using samples from TV news broadcasts and such.

 :?:  Do you need to clear speech samples for use or is it classed as fair use? If you do, is it expensive?  :?:

I have been wanting to use a few soundbites of politicians (nothing cliche about that) and other public figures in our live set, and maybe on recordings but I'm honestly not sure if this is legal. I think I could classify it as satire as I'm planning to use contradictory and hypocritical quotes to make a point. I might even stand on a little soap box.

I know this might seem like quite a naive question, but that can be chalked up to the fact that I am a very naive person when it comes to music production.


I don't think there is any copyright on political speeches as they're for general public interests and consumption. I think the same would apply to news broadcasts, as long as you don't nick the theme tunes.  ;)  There's some law stuff about copyright use and sampling and whatnot, but I don't think it applies to these two examples. Maybe. I'm sure someone around these parts can make this more clearer than I can.


This is a good question. I have a work in progress track where I've used some guy's "positive thinking" statements looped ad infinitum. I got the samples via a chap at work, and have found the originator of the recordings on his website.

My thinkings were, do I ask the guy for permission to use them,  
just use them whatever, or
get someone else to say the words while listening to the original recordings, i.e. make my own samples.

I think I read somewhere that recorded work is like written text, i.e. copyright applies.
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Does that mean Sarah Palin (and the others) could send Jem a bill?
"Putting food on the table is more important than 7/8"


I think if no one says anything about it for a certain amount of time, you're home and dry, kind of like not applying for planning permission. But don't trust me on this one- i'm not too sure on the copyright laws of samples. :?
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Quote from: "Pedro"Does that mean Sarah Palin (and the others) could send Jem a bill?

Not yet, because he's not actually selling it.


Must be the time of year. I'm also working on a song that includes "political speech" samples....  :?

If we release all these songs at the same time and get in trouble for it (all at the same time) we might make it on CNN (all wearing a Frost* shirt obviously). Then we all blame Jem and Frost* will be world famous. Is that a cunning plan or what?!  :D


Let's do it!

It's a shame Mr. David Frost isn't still working in the British media 'cuz that would have been perfect!

Thanks for the replies folks, it's good to know we 're all clueless on this one. Ignorance is as good a defence as any in court.

Has anybody ever noticed how in the bible whenever god needed to punish someone, make an example, or whenever god needed a killing, he sent an angel? Would you ever really want to see an angel?



I think if you can ask (and since you've found his website now, you can) you *should* ask!  

I had someone re-use some of my photos recently without asking, and I was really, really upset about it.  The legal aspect is murky, because even if everything is on your side it costs a lot to mount a campaign to challenge anything, so you may never get followed up about something like that.  

But the emotional side of it is often overlooked.  In my case I took the photos on a special trip that I made abroad that had great meaning for me, and they were used by someone else without credit or acknowledgement.  They broke the terms and conditions of the website they posted them on, but I wouldn't have said no to them using them if they'd asked, and if they had asked they wouldn't have upset me.  It's nice to be nice (and nearly always free!).

As for recordings, whether they are speech or music, whoever owns the recording, i.e. whoever paid for and set up the recording gear, is the owner of that recording and could always come after you if they have the time and resources and are annoyed enough.  Note that they are not necessarily the copyright holder of the material recorded, but they do own the recording, so I always think you should ask if you can.  The telephone sounds on my "1981" mix of The Other Me were recorded by a guy in the 1970's and have been posted online for ages.  I still asked him for approval and he was cool about it, and that made me happier to use them in my version of the song, and you also build communication and networks and so on.

At the end of the day if it's speech or sounds and it turns out you can't use the original source, or you can't afford it, you can always re-create them yourself and have a laugh doing it. Need a bit of political speech?  Invite a mate round who sounds closest to the politician of your choice, write a script, break out the vino and get recording!
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Thanks Jim, that's a fantastically enlightening response.

I completely agree with taking into account the emotional aspect of things. I can't say I know how it feels from personal experience (I've heard a mixture of flattery and gastroenteritis) but I can imagine it's always best to check.

I don't know how emotionally distraught GW Bush or Kent Hovind would be, and I'm certainly not thinking of contacting them or their cronies, but it's definitely something worth thinking about in future.

Thanks all y'alls!


I've actually been wanting to do something similar and even considered using my cousin's scanner
and record stuff off police/rescue/weather bands.


Right- I know about this.
It is perfectly legal to listen to police radio.
It is very ILLEGAL to act on the information you have heard (for example, if you hear that there is a robbery at shop X and you go to shop X and tell the police that you heard it over their radio signals, bad things will happen).

This information would suggest that recording the radio conversations of the police would be illegal, since it would be likely to contain personal information or information about a specific point.

Hope this helps. ;)
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Same goes for listening to the weather bands and acting upon it.

If you hear it on the radio that it will be sunny and you leave the house wearing shorts and Tshirt, bad things will happen...

You'll almost certainly get wet.


Bad, terrible things..... :twisted:
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