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Author Topic: Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.  (Read 309 times)

Offline Tails19935

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When making a song, sometimes you just want to use a sample drum or instrument sound from another game. But is this legal? I'm genuinely curious. It used to be a huge issue back in the 80s and 90s for people taking sample loops from other music (though it seems its not a big problem nowdays) so how about us for using game samples? I have three tiers for this discussion and I will give my opinion and questions for each.

1. Drum Samples: I would say using drum samples is pretty harmless because most of them came from an already existing instrument such as KORG or Alesis. Another thing to note is that a lot of them sound the same anyway. But could you use ones that were made in house? For example, the voice hits from Sonic 3. Could you use the "C'mon" or "Go" samples in a commercial track legally?

2. Instrument Samples: I use instrument samples from other games many times. I'll be working on a project and will say "Ooo, the Super Mario World brass would work perfectly here!" Same as the drum samples, some of them come from existing instruments so those are fine. But could you use the in house ones? Or would it need to have a bunch of effects added to it to make it sound different?

3. SFX: I don't usually mess with SFXs from games but you never know. Now I wouldn't expect you to use the 1UP sound from Mario and get away with it. Let's say you use the Galiga shoot sound or a player damage sound. Would that be legal? To me, it matters on how popular the sound is. If its not heard of that often then yes you can use it. If its iconic, no.

Anyone know music legal rights? What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 02:24:02 AM by Tails19935 »

Offline JetStar1997

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 07:44:29 PM »
Toby Fox used instruments/samples from the SNES game EarthBound for some of the songs in his game Undertale, so I'm pretty sure it is fine as long as you credit the original authors from the source. Then again, I'm not a video game developer or any programmer, so...that's all I can probably say for this.
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."
                                                           -Orville Wright

Offline Michirin9801

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 11:58:31 PM »
I think that would fall into fair use... I mean, even in the "real music" industry artists sample stuff from other artists and even video games, I mean, remember when Wiz Khalifa sampled Chrono Trigger's forest theme? I don't... But that's what I've been told, and I just looked it up and confirmed that it was true and apparently they got away with it A-OK, and that's not to mention the sheer amount of video game music that is "inspired by" other music... Heck what about cover albums? Those seem to be perfectly OK so long as the covers aren't exact copies of the original...

The point is, if you're gonna compose for a video game, and you wanna use instruments/samples from other games or other songs in general, you should be just fine...

Offline JetStar1997

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2017, 12:27:13 AM »
Wiz Khalifa sampled Chrono Trigger's forest theme

For some reason, this text reminded me about something. Just a couple of months ago, I found out about the Timbaland Plagiarism Controversy, in which Timbaland used parts of GRG's C64 version of Tempest's Acidjazzed Evening for Nelly Furtado's 2007 song "Do It" without permission. Timbaland got called out by a bunch of people, to which he argued that the song was from a video game (when, of course, it wasn't).

Basically, you'll need to be careful when when using samples from another game, especially if it is for a commercial project
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."
                                                           -Orville Wright

Offline Tails19935

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2017, 02:18:48 AM »
Toby Fox was actually the reason why I started this topic. Although, I don't think he did credit where the samples came from. As for that controversy case, it seems like the person sampled part of the music itself. I wouldn't do that. I'm more concerned with just using the instrument samples like a synth or a brass lead. Like ripping the sample then creating your own notes for them. Not sample a song like in the case you linked Jetstar1997. But my SFX tier could fall into that category. So the best way to avoid plagiarism when using SFXs would be to add effects or pitch shift it up or down correct? Would I have to do the same for say in house drum samples IE Sonic 3 "C'mon" as well?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 02:23:15 AM by Tails19935 »

Offline Bruce A. Dyson

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2017, 11:09:26 AM »
Now I get the idea that this topic is about using samples from other games.

Offline Speedy

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2017, 08:11:25 PM »
If Toby Fox is any proof, you can pretty much get away with using drum and instrument samples in a commercial product. It should be safe because you're not just flat out copying a song, you're taking an instrument and using it to create something original, which would be a transformative work I believe. But, I'm not an attorney or legal expert, so go ask one of those.

Offline marcb0t

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Question regarding using samples from games for commercial projects.
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 07:07:00 PM »
Don't worry about Sonic 3 samples. That game soundtrack is stuck in legal limbo, and Sega is not going to go after anyone using samples from that game. They likely made a legal settlement with Michael Jackson's lawyers, and "brushed it under the rug".

I don't even think Sega is legally able to publish Sonic 3 on any platform anymore. Which is likely why the android version was cancelled years ago.

I think Sega did not honor a contract agreement with Michael Jackson's group, which is why there is all that legal hubbub in the first place.

I would not worry yourself about Sonic 3 in particular, haha!
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 07:08:39 PM by marcb0t »