[cc-licenses] choosing a new license at freesound, please help

Peter Brink peter.brink at brinkdata.se
Thu Oct 26 09:34:58 EDT 2006

Evan Prodromou skrev:
> On Wed, 2006-25-10 at 20:58 -0400, Greg London wrote:
>>> Some freesound samples are long ( > 3 minutes ) of sounds "observed" by
>>> someone on the street. I don't know if there is any legal difference
>>> between the 100 millisecond sound of a bass drum and 3 minutes of the
>>> sound of children playing in the fairground.
>> I swear I recall reading somewhere long ago that a sound
>> recording of a thunderstorm or waves crashing on a beach
>> was not copyrightable because there was no human expression
>> involved.
> I swear that that is incorrect information. A photograph of a
> thunderstorm or waves crashing on a beach is copyrightable. There is
> human expression in the selection of the photographic subject, in the
> framing of the picture, and in the technical choices (f-stop, type of
> film, aperture, etc.). Similarly, a sound recording.

A photograph of a thunderstorm is not copyrightable. It's protected by 
a neighbouring right, the protection of ordinary photographs, which does 
not require any creativity on the part of the photographer. A mere human 
expression is not enough to call an act "an creation", which is an 
requirement for copyright protection. A work must be a unique result of 
a human expression of an idea or thought in order for it to be 

>> Other sounds from people and such might get covered,
>> but I thought there had to be some level of human
>> "expression" to be copyrightable.
> There does have to be some expression, and there is some in sound
> samples.

A sample of a sound from a car, for example, is not copyrightable. A 
sample from a piece of music might be copyrightable, the issue is AFAIK 
very uncertain. It has, among other things, to do with the question of 
whether a "sound" should or should not be copyrightable. The manner or 
style in which a piece of music is played cannot be copyright protected. 
The problem is how to separate the music from the sound. One solution 
could be to deny the sound copyright protection but allow it to modify 
the assessment of the level of creativity (or originality) of the piece 
of music. A highly original sound could then make a less original piece 
of music copyrightable.

/Peter Brink

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