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Can I Legally Use Soundbytes from News Programs?

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  • Can I Legally Use Soundbytes from News Programs?

    I see it being done all the time... Jon Stewart uses soundbytes of Administration officials quotes, so do Letterman and Leno...

    So, for the purpose of political parody or humor, can I legally construct a piece of music using quotes from Bush or Cheney, or other very funny politicians?

    Does anybody know the law on this?

  • #2
    You can get screwed in two ways*.

    1. If it's not easily recognized as parody, you can face action from the person who was speaking the recorded statement.

    2. If the broadcast itself from which you took the sound byte was copyrighted and you have no permission to re-use it, you are violating laws there too.

    So, use it at your own risk.

    *I am not a lawyer.
    Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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    • #3
      I did a satirical piece once that used sound bytes from a presidential debate. If I was at the debate itself and recorded it, there would not have been a problem. But because I recorded it from a network, the network owned copyright on the broadcast, and that's what I was recording. I was told I could get into trouble for this, but i the immortal words of the Weasel himself, "I am not a lawyer" (and proud of it).
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys...
        Here's one thing though... If a thousand radio stations, TV networks, ect broadcast the same soundbyte... How are they going to know where you got it from???

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        • #5
          Thanks guys...
          Here's one thing though... If a thousand radio stations, TV networks, ect broadcast the same soundbyte... How are they going to know where you got it from???


          You can't ask a "Can I get in trouble?" question and follow it with "I'll never get caught anyway."

          The answer, BTW, is that all of those stations pay licensing fees to the original owner of the footage. It doesn't matter where you get it; it matters where it came from.

          If that's recognized and led back to you... well, you know the rest.

          P.S. I'm still not a lawyer.
          Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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          • #6
            I did a satirical piece once that used sound bytes from a presidential debate. If I was at the debate itself and recorded it, there would not have been a problem. But because I recorded it from a network, the network owned copyright on the broadcast, and that's what I was recording. I was told I could get into trouble for this, but i the immortal words of the Weasel himself, "I am not a lawyer" (and proud of it).


            This is my understanding as well. I know for a fact that statements made by public officials serving in their official capacity are not subject to copyright. However, the broadcaster owns rights to their broadcast. Think of the disclaimer during sporting events - "The accounts and descriptions of "

            Furthermore, politicians speaking outside of official duties (such as election campaigning) may well be using copyright speeches.

            Why not go straight to the source and use the Prezdet's weekly radio address? Free, downloadable, in his official capacity, archived by date. You can even find one where he says New Orleans is doing just great in the weeks after Katrina
            Music for your busy day.

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            • #7
              i believe statements made, and all recordings done by the governement are of fair use to the public. i know all those infamous NASA recordings are copyright free... i assume so are the Nixon tapes, and so on. im pretty sure you could use them, especially Bu$h because there is no other reason than explicit satire to use him.

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              • #8
                You can't ask a "Can I get in trouble?" question and follow it with "I'll never get caught anyway."


                OK... That's fair... Does anyone have experience licensing soundbytes from the source?

                1. Is it hard?
                2. Does it take forever?
                3. Is it expensive

                Also... I have been recording Citizens Band radio for some time...
                Is this stuff public domain and usable to your knowledge???

                There is some great stuff out there...

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                • #9
                  also, i believe it extends to images as well taken by the government and part of the FOIA. so all those hubble images etc, i saw this sick hemispherical projection done planetarium style of the known universe of which the information was obtained freely, but knowing what to do with the information to project it was costly. anyway, it was the coolest thing to see where everything [known] was in the universe, including voyagers current location, our broadcast sphere perimeter, and all kinds of other things they had.

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                  • #10
                    Another non-lawyer here.

                    Fair Use may apply in this situation. Unfortunately with fair use, you may have to go to court and spend thousand of dollars to prove your case. Remember in the USA you are guilty until proven innocent.

                    Fair use can apply if:
                    You use a small portion of the original work
                    The copyrighted material you use is a small part of your entire piece
                    The copyright owner did not suffer an economic loss
                    You used the material for educational, commentary, review or news purposes.
                    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

                    My music: http://www.oranjproductions.com

                    The first website dedicated to the the baritone guitar: http://www.thebaritoneguitar.com

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                    • #11
                      Why not go straight to the source and use the Prezdet's weekly radio address? Free, downloadable, in his official capacity, archived by date. You can even find one where he says New Orleans is doing just great in the weeks after Katrina


                      Thanks Billster...

                      This a great suggestion... And one I will definitely look into to...
                      If anyone else has experience with this... Please let me know...

                      Everybody is making some great observations and suggestions here...

                      Keep em coming...

                      And Thanks all

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                      • #12
                        Billster comes through again! Thanks!!
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                        • #13
                          3.0 U.S. GOVERNMENT WORKS

                          3.1 Government Works

                          3.1.1 What is a U.S. Government work?
                          A "work of the United States Government," referred to in this document as a U.S. Government work, is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties. (See 17 USC

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                          • #14
                            3.0 U.S. GOVERNMENT WORKS
                            3.1 Government Works
                            3.1.1 What is a U.S. Government work?
                            http://www.cendi.gov/publications/04-8copyright.html#312


                            Wow Alphajerk...

                            You sure are a fast typest...

                            Thanks for the reply... I'l read this one carefully...

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                            • #15
                              if i only had the ability to type this fast back when i was in school pre-internet, i would have had all my term papers in the day after they were assigned.

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