Use of sounds from documentaries


Hi guys,

some days I found a short Video at National Geographic of accumulating and breaking ice. I would like to use the natural sound to make some textures/atonal atmospheres.
Does anyony know, if I am allowed to use and/or share this under the aspect of transformation within the fair-use-doctrine? It would be processed and not be the same audio-material as before, if that matters.

I wish all of you a merry christmas and all the best for the next year!

Stay tuned!


If you are recording it then warping - then I would say go for it.
once warped it would be impossible to track the source :slight_smile:


Since every camera-installment sounds different in the video I would cut at this points, split it in 3 frequency-regions and process all of them with a granular synth and some reverb. At the end all of them would be layered/ mixable.
So it should not be possible to relate it to the source-material


I’m not a lawyer so you should do your own research.

From a legal standpoint the answer is no, you’re not allowed to do this. Any sound, once it’s in wav format (or equivalent) is protected by copyright. Fair use only covers you for nonprofit, educational purposes, and there are strict conditions that apply to that use.

I think if you changed a sound enough so that it was unrecognizable from its original form then the likelihood of someone recognizing the sound and making a copyright claim are extremely unlikely, but you need to make sure the sounds are completely unrecognizable. I think technically, even if the sound is completely changed from the original you still can’t use it but in practice no one would be able to prove it.

Again, I’m not a lawyer, but this is what I understand to be true when sampling any copyrighted material.