On February 10, 2007, Chicago Senator Barak Obama declared his intention to run for the presidency of the United States. Later that year, street artist Shepard Fairey decided to create art to support Obama’s campaign.
At that time, Fairey was already an established artist. His “André the Giant has a Posse” and “OBEY” stickers and posters were plastered in schoolyards and underpasses worldwide.
The project that brought him the most attention was the Hope poster he created to support Obama. The poster was designed in Fairey’s trademark stencil style with heavy blues, reds, and whites. The poster immediately became immensely popular. It is widely recognized as the most effective political art since “Uncle Sam Wants You.” Since then the poster has been adapted, imitated, and parodied worldwide.
What does this have to do with field recording, and sound effects?
Well, the Hope poster is an excellent example of the challenges that someone sharing creativity faces today. And this includes sharing sound libraries online.
No one seems quite certain what’s involved in sharing sound. Many questions are batted around:
- Will people pirate my sound effects once they are online?
- How can I protect my sound library?
- Can I use a clip from another library to build a new sound for my collection?
- Is it okay to do this if I process or alter the original clip beyond recognition?
- Can I use a brand name when I describe sound effects?
I’ll answer those questions today. In this post I will explain how to protect your sound library, and share your collection without risk.
This article is based on my experience sharing sound for the past decade. I’ve seen examples of copyright issues, piracy, and lawsuits. As always, though, if you want iron-clad legal advice for your country, ask a lawyer.
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