Questions about a music project

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  • Hi,

    I am a music technology student. I am currently sampling the sounds generated by childrens toys to create a sample library for use in one of my projects. My question is this: does anybody own copyright to the sounds that the toys make?

    I guess its a similar issue with famous electronic instruments (TR808, FM7 etc) of which you can easily get hold of sampled versions.

    I will be using the sample library to create versions of famous classical pieces. How long after a composers death does their work become copyright free? Also, if somebody else has created a MIDI version of a classical piece which is copyright free, do they own copyright to that MIDI file or is that too copyright free?

    Any help greatly appreciated,

  • For a quick answer, I believe that someone does own copyright to the sounds a toy makes. For example, I know someone who has created sound effects for electronic games; those are copyrighted. Electronic instruments are a different story; I'm not sure about the status of the sounds the instrument makes.

    The public domain chart on the left can give you an idea of when a work is copyright free. If someone created a MIDI version of a classical piece, they may own the copyright in that version- but not the classical piece itself. You couldn't copy that MIDI and use it as your own, but you could make your own MIDI version.
  • This could probably all fall under fair use if you are doing this for a class project. The copyright issues would come in if you wanted to take the project outside the classroom and either sell or use it in a public forum.

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