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Should I trust royalty free soundfonts?


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It's your call, really. You're basically taking their word that the collection respects the unspecified license agreements for unspecified materials belonging to unspecified people. If it were the word of an established sample company targeting a commercial market segment, I'd assume it was true. When, as in this case, it's the word of a random internet person whose identity is unknown and whose level of understanding of the related legal issues is also unknown, I have no idea whether it's true or not.

Personally, I would not use the Soundfont to do commercial work because of the lack of clarity in the license details for the samples. That said, I also think it's unlikely that anyone would sue you over it. (Though obviously I am not a lawyer and this should not be considered legal advice.)

For what it's worth, if you have Kontakt, someone has converted the Soundfont to Kontakt format.

EDIT: To clarify, if someone represents themselves as outright owning the samples in a free Soundfont and extends a license to you, I'm inclined to take it at face value. The issue here is that the Soundfont maker acknowledges that the Soundfont includes samples that they don't own and claims that the samples' licenses allow their use in the Soundfont but doesn't give any info (which samples, who they belong to, etc.) that would enable you to verify that claim. For anyone interested, the Soundfont writeup I'm getting this from is here: http://www.synthfont.com/punbb/viewtopic.php?id=167.

Edited by Moseph
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I'm with Moseph on the suggestion to not use it for commercial work. What gets sticky here is that the End User is unclear, and that's where a lot of the licensing allowances apply.

Here's what I mean:

MusicGuy downloads some raw soundfiles from Moseph. Moseph says, "you can use them in whatever, or make a Soundfont out of them, that's cool."

MusicGuy then does the same from MockingQ. Same license agreements.

MusicGuy then packages them together and re-releases them. Upon re-releasing them, he changes who the end user is, and as such any licenses on the raw material don't apply to anyone else, unless the original licenses expressly say that anyone in perpetuity can use those samples forever in all projects, personal and commercial.

So if you get them from someone else, there's really nothing protecting you from litigation, especially since on KVR the person who posted them even strongly recommended they not be used commercially.

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I'm with Moseph on the suggestion to not use it for commercial work. What gets sticky here is that the End User is unclear, and that's where a lot of the licensing allowances apply.

Here's what I mean:

MusicGuy downloads some raw soundfiles from Moseph. Moseph says, "you can use them in whatever, or make a Soundfont out of them, that's cool."

MusicGuy then does the same from MockingQ. Same license agreements.

MusicGuy then packages them together and re-releases them. Upon re-releasing them, he changes who the end user is, and as such any licenses on the raw material don't apply to anyone else, unless the original licenses expressly say that anyone in perpetuity can use those samples forever in all projects, personal and commercial.

So if you get them from someone else, there's really nothing protecting you from litigation, especially since on KVR the person who posted them even strongly recommended they not be used commercially.

Thanks for the input man. In that case; I might not use the soundfont on commercial projects.

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Thanks for the mention. I'm the chap who did the Kontakt version of the soundfont. I communicated with Sarcyan, the guy who made the soundfont. He says "Please note that Evanessence (previous name of Musyng Kite) soundfont is a compilation of samples from different people and my own collections/work. Many of the samples were edited from different free sources and hence it is a free soundfont, thus not meant to redistribute as a commercial soundfont or use it for any commercial purpose. Other than that, you can sell any music and so on you have made with it, it's up to you." I got permission to do the Kontakt conversion, which was appropriate, but as I understand it you can sell music made with the soundfont without a problem. It's only selling the soundfont itself or as I did converting to another format that would require special permission. Also as a suggestion the Sonatina and U of Iowa orchestral types are both available to use for free. I did Maize VSTis based on Sonatina that work well for some people and not so well for others and of course also kontakt. http://bigcatinstruments.blogspot.com/2014/09/bigcat-maize-vstis.html The original are sfz. http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/ Also a (somewhat up to date)list of totally free instruments. http://bigcatlists.blogspot.com/ Pardon the advertising, but at least everytinhg is free.

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Thanks for the mention. I'm the chap who did the Kontakt version of the soundfont. I communicated with Sarcyan, the guy who made the soundfont. He says "Please note that Evanessence (previous name of Musyng Kite) soundfont is a compilation of samples from different people and my own collections/work. Many of the samples were edited from different free sources and hence it is a free soundfont, thus not meant to redistribute as a commercial soundfont or use it for any commercial purpose. Other than that, you can sell any music and so on you have made with it, it's up to you." I got permission to do the Kontakt conversion, which was appropriate, but as I understand it you can sell music made with the soundfont without a problem. It's only selling the soundfont itself or as I did converting to another format that would require special permission. Also as a suggestion the Sonatina and U of Iowa orchestral types are both available to use for free. I did Maize VSTis based on Sonatina that work well for some people and not so well for others and of course also kontakt. http://bigcatinstruments.blogspot.com/2014/09/bigcat-maize-vstis.html The original are sfz. http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/ Also a (somewhat up to date)list of totally free instruments. http://bigcatlists.blogspot.com/ Pardon the advertising, but at least everytinhg is free.

Ah cool. So in conclusion I could use it in a commercial song without any legal worries?

I basically want to use it because I do have a vst with commercial samples; however, it's missing some instruments I require. This soundfont has some of those samples.

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Many of the samples were edited from different free sources and hence it is a free soundfont, thus not meant to redistribute as a commercial soundfont or use it for any commercial purpose. Other than that, you can sell any music and so on you have made with it, it's up to you.

This is the issue that both MockingQuantum and I are talking about. The only thing said about the status of the rights to the samples in the Soundfont is that the samples used in it were from "free sources." It's not clear what "free" means in this context. Are the samples public domain? Are they copyrighted but under licenses that permit general use by anyone at all? It's worth noting that in the rest of the Soundfont documentation, "free" is contrasted with "commercial" to indicate things that do not need to be paid for vs. things that do need to be paid for. If we take that to be the sense in which the terms are used here in the license, then "free source" would mean simply that the samples didn't need to be paid for. Is the Soundfont author assuming that they're okay to use because they didn't have to be purchased?

From a legal perspective, these distinctions matter -- that something is from a "free source" doesn't tell us anything about who has a right to do what with it. The fact that none of this is clear in the license itself as quoted above makes me suspect that the person who made the Soundfont doesn't necessarily understand the relevant legal aspects, which does not inspire confidence that the license is valid.

Edited by Moseph
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lol guys bigcat is well known around kvr and lots of people there scrutinize over exactly this.

also you are overthinking this. with all the piracy happening even among chartbreaking producers (not shy of showing their H20-licensed plugins in "in the studio with..." vids and what have you)...worrying this much over usage of a soundfont that could *maybe* have some questionable content for something that *might* just become somewhat commercial is a bit over the top.

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