dcook79 wrote:Can a "sound" be copy written...? Melodies,chord progression, sure. But a "sound" I personally don't think so...
Of course a 'sound' can be copyrighted. Any sound is creative expression, often by more than one person - the way it was played, the way it was recorded, processed, edited, layered etc. Copyright gives artists rights to a monopoly of their artist expression. You cannot copyright an idea, but you can copyright any form of expression of that idea.
Don't believe the old wives tales created and repeated by people on online forums, the duration of a recording has no bearing - 1 second, 10 second, 1000000 seconds, it doesn't matter.
Anyway, in these cases there are three issues to consider;
1) Is it copyright infringement?
2) If so, will the copyright holder find out?
3) If so, what will they decide to do?
For (1), generally speaking unless a recording is in the public domain, then that recording will be copyrighted. It could be from a record, or a samplepack, or just downloaded from a musicians' web site, it doesn't matter.
The next question to answer is whether your use of the sample is allowed by the copyright holder. Unless they state to the contrary, you should assume that it ISN'T allowed. However that doesn't mean that you cant use the sound. In the US for example, there is the concept of 'fair use', which does allow people to use copyrighted works under certain circumstances, for example critique, reviews, parody etc. But this is not a 'right', it's a defence and you would first need to go to court to argue it = $$$$.
So you should probably assume in most cases that you are most likely committing copyright infringement.
Number (2) is the typical argument you'll see on forums, which is of course an entirely different matter to the legality issue. Assuming you actually publish the music, are you going to get caught using that sound? In most cases unless you've taken a complete passage of music, no one is going to notice a single snare, even of you don't layer it. But of course, many drum sounds are very unique. If it's suitably unique then it is possible that someone will recognise it.
So number (3), what happens if they do recognise it? Well, they might not be bothered, especially if you are a 'nobody'. They might demand that you cease and desist your usage immediately. They might demand that you pay them for the usage - which may be a lump sum and/or % royalties on all sales. They might expect you to pay their costs in dealing with you.
However copyright law in most countries may also allow them to pursue you in court for damages (I believe in the US it's $150,000 per instance of infringement).
I think number 2 is probably where most of these things stop. But it's good to just be aware of the actual issues involved