Sampling & Copyright (sampling speech from movies)

category: music [glöplog]
Hi folks,
lets start with the example:

I sampled a few lines of a monologue from the movie "Colossus, the Forbin Project" (1970) and put them into a song. All music was composed by me.

Now, is that covered by fair use, quotation right and threshold of originality in any way?

Would it be rejected at a Demoparty Competition?
Could such a song be released on Bandcamp?

I thought, I made a cool track with a very high threshold of originality....but I`m losing
confidence if I should dare using the samples...

Maybe I should be on the safe side, recreating the monologue by myself and alter it a bit, so that it becomes something new.....

But of course, with the original sentence, it would be way cooler IMHO.....

(The sampled passages are a few seconds long)

Do the musicians here have any experience with that? What does Stiegler Legal say?^^

Thanks in advance for answers, opinions, advice and stories.

added on the 2019-11-13 16:52:28 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
Don't quote me on this, but, concerning a bandcamp release, it depends how low you fly under the radar, otherwise *everything* should be cleared before release.
To be 100% sure, upload the track to youtube as "unlisted" and wait 2 or 3 days and see if the youtube content ID system kicks in. If not, you could probably try a stealth-flight. But there is always a certain risk. And be advised: the RIAA and copyright holders in general do not take prisoners. Over and out.
added on the 2019-11-13 17:12:08 by wertstahl wertstahl
First of all IANAL, just talking from my understanding of copyright.

Now, is that covered by fair use

Fair Use is a specific legal doctrine that exists in the United States (and iirc Israel and maybe a couple others). This does not extend to other countries, many don't recognize any such clauses in their copyright legislation. Also no, most likely this would not fall under Fair Use; size of the quotation and "originality" are not the main factor by which Fair Use operates. It's not a protection for sampling practices across the board; it primarily covers uses such as criticism, commentary, parody, reporting, research etc..

Would it be rejected at a Demoparty Competition?

Depends on the party and how strictly they are willing to enforce possible copyright or licensing violations. If you mean to ask is it legal to do so, that depends... It is very much possible for the copyright holder of the sampled material to defend their rights there, which may include trying to stop distributing the material, or suing for damages (unlikely in this situation). An important thing to remember though is that even if a copyright (unlike trademark) holder is aware of the violation, there's no necessity for them to do anything about it, and I don't think most do unless they feel your adapted work is damaging them, be it either financially or otherwise.

Most copyright holders aren't interested in random instances of sampling, especially in non-commercial circumstances. Offscreen Colonies by Conspiracy "famously" samples the climactic monologue from Blade Runner. Both works are pretty high-profile in their respective areas, but I don't think there has been any demands on the part of Warned Bros. for removal or damages. Of course the VR edition is also on steam (for free), another channel of distribution yet this use as far as I know is still unchallenged. It's just not a good optics or publicity to go against independent creators operating in a largely non-commercial context. Nintendo infamously goes against this all the time and people definitely don't like this aspect about them.

Could such a song be released on Bandcamp?

Same thing pretty much. There's plethora of non-licensed sampled material available on Bandcamp, most of it sold for money too. Bandcamp themselves don't seem to show much interest in actively monitoring or enforcing their rules on copyright violation though, but require a manual intervention on the rights holder's part (filing a DMCA, another US specific piece of legislation). You take a risk and it's up to you to judge if it's worth it. Reminder that there's always the possibility to approach the rights holder and ask for a license to use the source.

Personally I don't have experience with being challenged for copyright. I've sampled my fair share of copyrighted material in my music, but nobody has ever approached me.
added on the 2019-11-13 18:20:31 by noby noby
Wow Noby, thanks for the long answer! =)))

I have decided to ask for a license. Well....I`ll write to Universal Pictures...
I have already written to the Hessischer Rundfunk, because I sampled dialogue from an
61 year old report for another song.

Lets see if there will be any reaction.

But I face it. Who cares about a small maggot.... =D

I guess I`ll just leave the snippets in the tracks and rework them, if any copyright holder complains about that....

I`d love to get the permissions though, especially from the Hessischer Rundfunk, as the Samples are really cool and substantial for the topic of the track....^^
added on the 2019-11-13 19:11:25 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
Offscreen Colonies by Conspiracy "famously" samples the climactic monologue from Blade Runner.

Just as an aside, it also adheres to the Zitatrecht (i.e. German law) noted in the compo rules.
added on the 2019-11-13 20:02:28 by Gargaj Gargaj
Yeah I actually forgot to add that do consult your actual local legislation, as well as the legislation of country through which you're distributing the content in—be it a demoparty, server, or a service—and maybe even the country the rights holder is based in. International treaties on copyright might be relevant as well. Fair Use is not universal but some countries may have similar parts in their legislation, such as Zitatrecht in Germany.
added on the 2019-11-13 22:52:41 by noby noby
Thanks wertstahl, el-bee and noby for your comments! =)

I wrote to Universal Studios and to Hessischer Rundfunk asking for a license....lets see if that yields any results... =D

I even linked the two tracks, one to the Hessischer Rundfunk, and the other song to the Universal Studios via private soundcloud links. I wonder, if they actually listen to it or just give me a plain "no" in combination with their AGBs or some other standard legal instructions.

Or a plain "Yes" , "Yes we love you, go for it and make it shine".... XDDDDDDDD
added on the 2019-11-14 00:46:04 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
You wanna pay for the license?
Why not to make something unique?
added on the 2019-11-14 11:59:53 by Creonix Creonix
I wrote to Universal Studios and to Hessischer Rundfunk asking for a license....lets see if that yields any results... =D

I'd be surprised if you get a reply at all. The big corporations own so much stuff that just checking whether they actually own something costs them money.
added on the 2019-11-14 14:43:36 by sol_hsa sol_hsa
..that just checking whether they actually own something costs them money

sol_hsa: hm! i never looked at it like that! nice aspect. i always suspected they think like "okay, here is another nobody asking for a license. do not reply but mark all his info. in one year, scan if he released it anyways. then send the dogs."
added on the 2019-11-14 15:08:57 by wertstahl wertstahl
@Creonix: The song I created is composed by me from scratch. I just wanted to use the iconic lines from the movie, because it would have been the topic of the song and it sounds cool.
The songs topic is the "Colossus" computer, which was used to decipher encrypted German messages in World War 2. While researching that topic, I stumbled upon the movie, I didnt know it existed. I thought its a cool movie and the sampled speech would have been some extra spice.
Now I wont use the original samples but create my own slightly altered lines. Because

@sol_hsa: I received an answer from Universal. They dont give licenses to individuals.
And a license for a single sample starts at 10.000$. Thats quite an amount of money....

problem solved, although I would have loved the original sounds
added on the 2019-11-14 15:21:12 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
You poked the bear man! :D If you hadn't said anything they would have probably never found outand even if someone would have pointed them towards your song, the chance of them acting on it would have been super slim.

Then again, I'm an old head from the gabber days where people would sample full songs and release them on vinyl assuming the cease and desist would come in when all 1500 copies were sold, if they would come at all. T

he only real cease and desist I remember is DJ Promo sampling No Doubt's 'Don't speak' (like, the entire song :D)
added on the 2019-11-14 16:07:32 by okkie okkie
Haha, "I poked the bear" XDDDD

UPDATE: I asked the HESSISCHER RUNDFUNK for permission to use sounds from an old report, AND THEY ALLOWED IT!!!

So, now I can use the recordings officially and safe! In that case, asking was the right thing to do and that shows, that its possible.

UPDATE Universal: I managed to recreate the sounds I asked them for, slightly changed, but it sounds quite close (soundwise =D ), so that problem ist solved now, too!

I`m quite happy that I can use the recordings from the Hessischer Rundfunk.

The songs are part of my first Album that will be released at the Under Construction 2019.
8 Songs are already finished. I`m aiming for 10 songs in the final release. =)
added on the 2019-11-15 15:28:35 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
Cool that it worked out :).. Have recreated some speech samples myself too, just kind of need to target a very wet mix hehe
added on the 2019-11-16 00:45:48 by el-bee el-bee
@Skyrunner: congratz for the HR feedback!!!!!
added on the 2019-11-16 02:54:47 by wertstahl wertstahl
I'm thinking about using ~3s of a 240x160 pixel rotoscoped, postprocessed, grainy YouTube clip of Max Headroom (incl. audio) I replaced the background of, for that GBA demo I still owe myself. Will I be able to show it at Evoke? Revision? or should I scratch that part?
added on the 2019-11-16 21:24:09 by raer raer
I think the smaller the party is, the smaller that problem gets...^^

Plus its a Gameboy Demo....and you dont use it commercially....

When in doubt, you could always get in touch with the organizers, if they would show it

You owe that GBA demo to yourself? =D
added on the 2019-11-17 00:03:39 by Skyrunner Skyrunner
I wrote the first GBA code at Breakpoint 2005 or so. Since then I wanted to do something on GBA, and at some point really started coding a demo, but I only work on an off on it occasionally... And I'm lazy ;)
added on the 2019-11-17 19:40:06 by raer raer
At least in this case it was easy to determine the copyright owner.

I once wanted to license bits of tv commercial for a commercial product and first consulted some internet hobbyists about some rumors surrounding the original creator of the advertisement, but they turned out to be false. Then I did some detective work and tried to find out which company might have commissioned the ad, found a promising candidate, but sadly that company was defunct now. Luckily it turned out to that company had been sold to another company which was sold to another company, which still existed. I called them and explained the situation and two weeks later someone called me and said "We might or might not own copyright for this, nobody knows since that information is only on paper archive at some warehouse. To be honest we don't care and don't want to be any way associated with the brand in question. My two cents: don't use the clip."
added on the 2019-11-19 09:54:46 by sauli sauli
That, albeit a little OT resembles my recent request for a license for the Soundtrack of Defender Of The Crown. First i tried to contact Jim Cuomo (the Composer) through various channels because his email was not working. Turns out he sadly passed away last year from cancer (Info by The Westsider). Then i looked up who owns the IP. Cinemaware was sold to Egames who were bought by some Mining company, Cinemaware Retro was founded and went bankrupt, Starbreeze owns the IP aaaand as if November 11 2019 filed for insolvency. Requests reverberate in a fading echo through emptied office corridors. Next up: change all tracks to some crappy plagiarism, and make sure my name is not mentioned in the credits.
added on the 2019-11-19 15:05:36 by wertstahl wertstahl
If you hadn't said anything they would have probably never found out

What okkie says. Don't mention anything and just use something.
added on the 2019-11-19 16:30:47 by superplek superplek
is there a "be creative and enjoy life" insurance? just do what you do, and IF something happens, the insurance covers the costs
added on the 2019-11-19 17:59:31 by yzi yzi
too expensive!
added on the 2019-11-19 21:16:17 by yzi yzi