Third party samples or loops….public domain

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  • #9664 Reply
    Rosalind Richards

    Forgetting the Public Domain issue for a moment….How much is enough legally to required to change using pre-recorded royalty free loops and samples?  I combine live instruments using loops and manipulate the pitches in the pre-recorded loops however, where is the line that goes into possible copyright issues?  On the extreme end theoretically if you have a live instrument over pre-recorded midi loops with no changes or small changes to pitches on the loop, is this infringement. I don’t do this but I am trying to understand what constitutes infringement.  I realize the example given above is in bad taste.  Just trying to get the extreme parameters of the question. Thanks



    #9665 Reply


    I will use Logic and Apple loops as an example, the same basically applies for any loop/sample library (sort of)

    When purchasing Logic and the contained Apple loops your are given permission to use them in any way in your own compositions without a further royalty payment, you may modify them in this context (Within a composition!!!!). You may NOT modify them only and then attempt to resell them as your own. The same rule applies to most loop/sample libraries, there is usually a caveat that a loop/sample cannot be exposed in a composition or have a set number of other tracks with it or “within a musical context”

    However each sample/loop library  has its own Terms and it very important to read their licensing agreements as this may vary. Some for example do not allow their samples to be used in Library or Trailer music. Never buy samples/loops without reading their licensing agreements and conditions.

    #9668 Reply
    Rosalind Richards

    That’s great. Thanks. I use Logic and Apple loops. So even if you mix and match apple loops in Logic without any changes you’re not violating copyright. Or for instance, add a live instrument over a loop.  I’m referring to extreme examples so that I know (I don’t do this but just want to know the extent of what is legal or not). Thanks




    #9670 Reply

    Michael and Mark, thank you for your view on this PD thing. I think I’ll just continue to composed tracks myself 🙂 May them rest in peace.

    About using purchased samples, don’t worry about it too much, just read the agreement. As long as you don’t sell the samples as a commercial  “sample library” or use them in isolation without any new instruments, you are good to go.

    #9671 Reply

    @Rosalind, This the Apple loops license agreement

    B. Except as otherwise indicated, you may use the Apple and third party audio file content (including, but not limited to, the Apple Loops, built-in sound files, samples and impulse responses) (collectively the “Audio Content”), contained in or otherwise included with the Apple Software, on a royalty-free basis, to create your own original soundtracks for your film, video and audio projects. You may broadcast and/or distribute your own soundtracks that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual Apple loops, audio files, sound settings, samples and impulse responses may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound files, sound effects or music beds.


    Which basically means you can use them is any way in your own compositions but you cannot redistribute them separately. (make your own loop library out of them) which is fair. Usher had a no1 record a few years ago with an Apple loop as the main riff in it, no problems at all.

    #9672 Reply

    I think the idea for loops is for you to purposely manipulate them into your own creations.  Sort of like a catapult to start a new idea.  I use loops here and there but you’d never know it was a loop or part of a loop.  To take it even further, IMO, if you and I use the same loops in our own compositions, we shouldn’t be able to tell or hear that loop in our compositions in it’s original form.

    #9673 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    “pre-recorded royalty free loops and samples”

    I would propose that these are two separate issues, samples and loops. Leaving aside drum loops from the equation since just about everyone uses them, if you are talking about melodic loops, an instrument playing a melody in a looped audio file then I would say you shouldn’t use it and the company you are submitting to probably is not interested in that type of composition.
    If you are talking about samples, like a sample set of a vintage synth, where you have to play/create your own melody using the samples of the synth that the company provided, then you’re just fine.

    My personal opinion: Music pieced together from melodic construction kits, like bass lines, guitar melodies and horn lines, that someone else has written should never be entered into a music library as an original composition.

    For example, one of our composers creates popular music construction kits that you can download royalty free to help you create your own version of his music
    I would never want to see music created from this construction kit submitted to our library.
    Using a construction kit like this and then adding a guitar solo or sax solo on top does not make this your music, in my opinion, even though it is considered royalty free.

    I’m not sure how apple loops and garageband work though. Maybe they don’t have loopable melodies.

    And again, these are just my opinions.

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