Creating Sounds And Call Them Yours! What Is Legal?

Hey guys,

I am not sure, this topic was discussed before, but this is the question which is really interesting for me. Maybe someone of you can clarify me.

I see A LOT of producers, sound designers, composers etc. who are selling their “Sounds” or “Signature-Packs” etc.

My question is: "Is it really enough to take let’s say a synth, like Massive, choose a preset, turning some knobs here and there, and saying “This is my own sound I have created?”. Make 100s of them, put it into one library-folder and sell it online? Is it really enough to call it legal?

The same with Trailer Braams or Whooshes etc. How many libraries are offering these sounds, but do these guys just take a microphone, go outside, record something, going back to the studio, manipulate the sounds? I mean sure they do, but what really comes to mind, that people just take 2 or 3 sounds, which they have bought, from library XY, filter them, layer them, compress them, make 100s of them. Put them back into Kontakt, save the instance, and sell them online.

Just lately I downloaded a free sample-pack from one of the biggest producers out there, I don’t want to call his name, but he has worked for big hiphop-artists like, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, etc. and he offered like his “own signature” drum sounds/samples. I opened the pack, and started to laugh, because the sounds were 1. nothing special, the same 808s, Snares I heard before, 2. a lot of them just total crap really. I sounded like he took an already existing 808 sound, put a compressor on it, bit crushed it a little and called it his own, and now sells in his “super signature pack”.

Is it really legal and enough just to put a couple of FX on an existing sound and call it your own, or should the process be really from scratch, starting with a “SineWave” and doing the “real sound-design”?

Thank you for your answers in advance people! :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Alexey (JLX)


Most important from what I heard, you can never use samples as material for sound design if you want to sell it later. So you can not use brass libraries, stack them add FX, and create Braams to sell.

But from what I understand, as long as you use real synthesis it is often alright to export the samples and sell. It depends on the terms from the developer. Omnisphere is pretty strict on this. Because they want you to make Omnisphere Banks, not export audio and sell the sample kits.

Very tricky area indeed, and I am also doing reseach in this as I want to try to make an income in sound design since I worked with synths my whole life and build up lots of skills and experience in this area. But I would not want to get sued! :stuck_out_tongue:

PS. 99% of sound designers, producers, beat makers etc. ignore these rules and laws, but it is on your own risk. If you make something completely different from using lots of FX, automation, processing…it is very hard for them to prove you used copyrighted material as a starting point.

I just wrote to Alex Pfeffer, composer & sound designer from my city.
He does sell his own samples, and I will tell you, what his answer is/was.

As you said, the developers always say that you can’t sell their sound files, which is totally clear, but what if I manipulated them, that it’s impossible to recognise them? We will see. Maybe someone here in this forum, will have a clear answer to this :slight_smile:

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Oh you know Alex, I love his YT channel. Man, invite him to join the community, we would all love to have him here! :smiley:

I think it is the same with all “samples”. If you take someone’s vocals from a track and manipulate them to sound like an alien monster pumped up on steroids…it would still be considered copyright infringement. However, the risk of getting sued gets less the more sound design processing and different your end sound will be from the original. It would always be a risk though.

Ok, so I googled A LOT the last days and this is what I have found:

• It’s not allowed to take a sample from a “kit”, EQ, compress, layer whatever and sell it as your own sample.
• You can sell ONLY if you recorded something yourself
• You can sell ONLY sounds which you can create from synthesisers, etc.

Alex Pfeffer wrote me the same thing. You can only use samples commercially which you bought, but you CAN NOT re-sell them, even if you layered them, edited, etc.

What I have found too, a lot of people actually just take samples, re-sample them, sell them and think it’s fine. It’s basically their own awareness, there is no tool which recognises copied samples. But if someones finds out, it can ruin your literally your whole life! Which happened a couple of times, where producers took samples from big famous songs…

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Yeah that sounds also like what I heard and read about this topic. I am still interesting in doing it anyway, since I always love creating sounds from scratch on synthesizers, and also cool sound design techniques etc. I even want to try recording audio to use as material.

What about you Alexey, will you still create your own sound packs, and try to sell?

I want to build my own Kontakt Instrument @Mikael

I have a Kalimba, it should be audiofied haha


Nice! :slight_smile:
Right now I am focused on trying to build my own Omnisphere Sound Banks (as that is my go-to tool for synth sounds, sound design, atmospheres etc.). But Kontakt would be cool too, even though I hate their tiny interface! :stuck_out_tongue: