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TOPIC: What is considered a derivative work?

What is considered a derivative work? 10 months 1 week ago #1

  • Russell Palmer
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In most of the soundfont licenses, reference is made to 'derivative works'. I have tried to find a more specific definition of what this actually means but cannot find anything conclusive. I can envisage various 'levels' of 'derivativeness'. Are the following all considered derivative works as far as licenses are concerned :
1) A new soundfont derived from an existing soundfont
2) A midifile that uses a particular soundfont
3) An mp3 file (or other digital format that renders extraction of the soundfont technically impossible) recorded using the soundfont
4) An mp3 file (or other digital format...) recorded using various soundfonts, one of which has a restrictive license
5) A live performance using a particular soundfont

I am mostly interested to know if a 'personal use' licenced soundfont could be used as part of a live performance or to produce music tracks for commercial games / films without explicit permission. I am familiar with text font licenses where restrictive licenses are no longer relevant when a font is rendered as a bitmap within an image... I am wondering if a similar distinction applies for soundfonts?

Just to be clear, I am not trying to get out of asking for permission or paying commercial fees... I just want to know how careful I need to be about making a note of which licenses apply to which soundfonts!

Thanks in advance,
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What is considered a derivative work? 3 weeks 3 days ago #2

  • Davy
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If a license doesn't allow the use of a soundfont for any commercial purpose, this includes a live performance using this soundfont. For freely using it you need a license from the author of this soundfont.

This is the same for commercial fonts. You can use them for your own purpose but as soon as it becomes public, in a poster or anything that could advertise a business, you need to ask / pay for a license first.

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