Loop copyright issues

  • Posted: 01 April 2004 09:33 PM

    I found another place that was giving away free loops, and something occurred to me.  Theoretically, a site might give away loops, but not give away the right to USE those loops any way you wish.  Then when they heard their loops being used, they’d pull an SCO and demand exorbitant fees when it was too late for you to change the song.

    If I downloaded a free song off of Prince’s site, I could listen to it, but not take samples from it for use in something I wanted to sell.

    On the other hand, loops are primarily tools for the creation of music.  Does giving away loops automatically imply the right to USE those loops in any work? 

    If loops that are not “free for any use” are allowed, GarageBand ought to have a feature to warn you whenever you use such a loop.

    What would happen if a third party decided that a loop you used, and someone else made, was plagiarized?  Could they sue you?  Or just the person who made the loop?

  • Posted: 02 April 2004 04:34 AM #1

    Well, without ridiculously complicated and borderline sentient AI, there is no way any software program can tell a legal sound file from an unlicensed copy.  The only real answer to this is to be careful who you get your loops from, making sure it’s from reputable people and sites.  Let the downloader beware…especially if the downloader puts his download into a song and then distributes it.


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    Posted: 02 April 2004 07:43 AM #2

    You know, this is a good point, algr.  Nougatmachine is right, though, that it is absolutely up to the user to check the license of any loops they might want to use.

    That said, if you aren’t selling your music, I don’t think there are any copyright issues, even if you don’t have permission. In other words, anyone trying such a nefarious scheme would have to wait patiently for someone to not only use their loop, but to release the song commercially, and then to make money from that commercial release.  The chances of that happening are somewhat slim, which means that a would-be musical SCO would have to put a lot of work into something with little hope of a return on their investment.

    Still, read those licenses!  grin


    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

  • Posted: 03 April 2004 04:37 AM #3

    This is a good topic for thought.  Makes me think it might be a good idea to include loop source info in a composition notebook.  If the time comes when (wouldn’t this be nice?) commercial success becomes a possibility, we could go back and check out any questionable loops for usage restrictions…  and replace them with something comparable if the usage rights aren’t clear.

    As Bryan says, if your music is not for sale it’s no problem, but if you cherish a hope for a music career of some sort, I’d say check out the rights first and keep a notebook too.  Having a paper trail is always a good idea.  Write down dates as well of whatever goes on to make the music come together.  Notebooks can legally support your case that the music is yours I think (though I’m not a lawyer, so this should be checked into).

    I saw a book in Borders last night on legal issues for musicians. Lotsa books, actually.  So the info is out there.

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    Posted: 05 April 2004 10:38 PM #4

    That’s mighty fine advice, artcat. grin


    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

  • Posted: 06 April 2004 05:50 AM #5

    [quote author=“Bryan”]That’s mighty fine advice, artcat.

    Yeah, I hope I can follow it myself!  It’s awfully easy to just download and start playing with stuff and a couple days go by, and… now where did I get that loop/sample from?

    BTW, I’ve been playing with GBand Assistant and Logic exs files for new instruments.  There’s a whole world of sounds out there!  I was good about procedure when I downloaded stuff…  I put the samples in folders with the source in the folder name.

  • Posted: 24 March 2005 02:04 PM #6

    question about loops

    My first time on the forum. Just got Garage Band—heavn’t really used it yet. I have been reading about it and have a question:

    How do you match the loops with the chord progession you play in a song? Regardless of the key it’s in, if the loops can’t follow the chords, it would sound wrong. Am I correct?

    I believe I read that you can’t change key within in a song in Garage Band, so how do you change the loops so they match the chords? Drum/percussion loops would, of course, not be an issue.


  • Posted: 31 March 2005 01:50 PM #7

    iCompositions, I think it was, pulled a bait & licensing switch recently. They offered a huge (240MB) download of loops, and only after you downloaded it did you find a license saying you could use those loops only for songs posted to their site.

    pmichos, just lay down a few loops & see how they sound with your chord progression.


  • Posted: 21 August 2007 02:20 PM #8

    I did a small write up on Royalty Free vs. Public domain and fair use over at my blog - feel free to check it out:



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    Posted: 22 August 2007 09:18 AM #9

    Thanks, bscene.  That’s a nice, to-the-point write up. smile


    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

  • Posted: 16 July 2008 10:35 AM #10

    this is good stuff to know.

    i play around with garageband and was wondering if apple would take legal action against me if i ever sold any recordings which uses their loops.

    thanks for the info.  smile



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    Posted: 18 July 2008 06:19 AM #11

    No seansanders, the loops that Apple provides are intended to be used for your creations royalty free.