Can I pull sound effects for guns out of COD?

Music is a completely different situation with its own laws.
A sound of rain falling has no mechanical rights as it was likely never published on anything.

Don’t mix the barrel of apples with the one of oranges, otherwise the discussion gets confusing.

That said.

In the US the law works by citing precedents.

All you do is find similar cases that had the result you were looking for, bring them in front of a judge and hopefully get the same result.
You don’t even actually have to be a lawyer in some cases.

If you give at least one precedent to the other party they will probably choose to settle our of court.

This is one of those “this is what the primer and theory might tell you, but the actual world works differently” kind of things.

If actual money is on the line, you absolutely, 100%, need competent legal counsel involved. Which also ends up putting a pretty high bar on any kind of claim – if you don’t think you can get at least $50k back, a legal action is unlikely to be worth it.

Anyway, we’re in some “how to think about business and risks” territory here, where different people can legitimately have different opinions and approaches. Meanwhile, no, you can’t in practice rip the sound files out of an existing game and re-use them as yours and expect to get away with it, assuming your project has enough to it that it comes to the attention of the original game makers, and assuming that they are a business-that-cares.

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This is where I completely agree.

I’ve actually been in legal tussle and lawyers don’t come cheap. It never saw a courtroom and I kind of won (ended up doing a ■■■■ ton of work for a fixed price — not really winning).

My point is AVOID the need for legal counsel in the first place. It is an expensive route.

And don’t assume you won’t be made an example of — there are plenty of cases where people were pursued for next to nothing just to set precedent.

Why do people believe this? It is false.

Any change in a copyrighted sound does NOT void the copyright. The changed item is considered a derivation and, if not approved by the copyright holder, may be a violation of the copyright.

In any case where a copyrighted work is used without the permission of the copyright owner, copyright protection will not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully. The unauthorized adaptation of a work may constitute copyright infringement.

Because as I said. The courts work ON precedent.

And honestly, $50k is peanuts. No copyright attorney would even take your call.
They usually start billing at around $800 an hour - the ones who’s call would get your case settled anyway. There’s probably no point I hiring anyone else is there?

Again, even if you were to rip the sound out of a game to use in a game, the burden of proof is on the party you ripped off. This includes showing you actually caused them to loose money by having people purchase your game instead of theirs - expressly because the audio was on it.
Good luck proving this in court. Or coming up with a value to set the damages.

But still, don’t rip off audio, and you won’t have any problem ever.

Many copyright cases don’t see a court for years. I don’t know about you, but my pockets are shallow (okay, non-existent). I’ve been down the lawyer road and it is expensive and time-consuming and rarely ends up in a good place.

My advice is to do your due diligence and AVOID any hint of infringement.

Perhaps read up on the same PDF.
If you change something enough it is original work.

A sound recoding without a mechanical license (not a CD, or a vinyl) has no directly recognizable pattern that can help you prove it belongs to you in a court of law.

And of course you always want to do this.

What I’m saying is that as someone who makes the sounds you are basically SOL when it comes to protecting your “property”

That is an interesting take, but I think you are making a flawed analysis. A copyright case need never see a courtroom and do you think you can handle the legal fees? It only has to drag out for a while before someone screams, “Enough! What do I have to do to settle?”

This is a pretty decent primer on copyright and kind of refutes a lot of misinformation posted here:


Here is the relevant passage:

To be copyrightable, a derivative work must incorporate some or all of a preexisting “work” and add new original copyrightable authorship to that work.

You can’t just run the original through a filter and call it a day. YOU actually have to do some work.

It depends on who it is and what it is for.
Like all court things between people and not a DA, it’s a game of chicken driven by the MPG of your car with a direct line to your bank account.

The sound maker is just not really given any appropriate tools to protect its property unfortunately.
Unlike a musician. But again, that’s mixing very different things.

The gamasutra article is a bit dated, but perhaps more to the point for making video-games.

And “changing something enough” obviously doesn’t mean that you just run it through a filter.
Then again, if you take something like the scream from the movie scream and transform it into birds chirping, that’s original work (and could be done with a single pass filter)

I agree and this is the biggest problem for content creators.

I feel the best way is to impress the fact that copyright laws exist for everyone. Kind of the, “Don’t steal from others if you don’t want others to steal from you.”

There are a lot of myths about copyright. Pretty much all of them are wrong.

Having made a decent living off of copyrightable works, it is my hope that others can as well. But this only works if everyone understands the rules. They aren’t complicated and there is a LOT of misinformation about what is usable and what is not.

(BTW, don’t get me started on GPL :joy:)

It’s really not that complicated it comes down to:
Don’t be a piece of s*it.

If you plan to make money off something, that something better be 100% yours.
Or something so public that it becomes like the Hummer in COD.

Agreed. It doesn’t takethe DMCA into account (which, for video games, is kinda not relevant for new games — I hope).

Copyright law, per se, is very old. My point is that it does a good job of laying out the basics. If you avoid those pitfalls there is a VERY good chance you won’t ever need to call a lawyer. Trust me, the last words you ever want to utter is, “Hey, I need a lawyer. Do you have someone you can recommend?”

Unfortunately, most of us being content creators we are on the other side of this.
It would be nice to live in a world where our stuff isn’t pirated. Or even just one where one could actually calculate damages…

Not according the the Copyright Office:

The Copyright Act defines sound recordings as “works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds but not including sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work.” Generally, a sound recording is a recorded performance, often of another work. A sound recording must be fixed, meaning that the sounds must be captured in a medium from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated. The author may fix the sounds in a digital track, disk, tape, or other format.

The “other format” is lawyer-speak for “anything we didn’t think of but can fix the sounds.” A sound that is on a hard drive or ssd is still fixed.

I apologize to the OP if this is more information than they wanted, but copyright is pretty important to me and others who make their living from it.

At this point you are just giving out bad information.

You can hold a copyright on ANYTHING if you actually copywrote it.
The chances of anyone copyrighting the sound rain makes are pretty much the same as the mayor of Chicago not inciting gun confiscation. NONE. zilch. zero.
You will literally never be issued a copyright for anything the like by the copyright office even if you go and die of a hunger strike to try and motivate them to issue you the license

As such, in 99% of cases, you - the one who recorded that sound - will have no claim against anyone what so ever.

Further, poorman copyright has no importance what so ever on digital files.

In practice.
You could mail yourself the recording of a fake suppressed gun you made yourself, and then try and sue every movie maker for using the sound of a suppressed gun in their movie because it is very similar to yours.

the good old days were when you just hand delete the audio file you didn’t like and the game still works todey if you do the game doesn’t work or they sue you for haking