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should songs with video game instrument samples be allowed for use in GD?

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(skipping to the tl;dr at the end after reading the first paragraph is highly recommended, but if you feel like you need more clarification on some things feel free to read paragraphs 2-5. this post is a follow-up to my previous post titled "i don't think i'll ever have my songs allowed for use in gd".)


ever since i started making music back in late of last year, my biggest goal was to get my music allowed for use in geometry dash, so i could make levels that use them as creative inspiration. exactly a year later, i think i found out why i haven't been whitelisted yet. a while ago, i sent a whitelist request to sirhadoken, the only geometry dash mod i know with the power to whitelist newgrounds artists directly. shortly after, i got a reply mentioning that my songs contain sounds that are probably not allowed for royalty-free usage. considering i've had another case in the past where i was rejected from a contest due to vg soundfont usage (more on that later), this reply was to be expected.


something i find very interesting is that in the replies of my previous post about this, not a single one of the replies went to assume that i wasn't whitelisted because of said samples being used in my music, which brings me to my next point of question: i think that if i never chose to put source lists in my descriptions, people wouldn't notice that i was using instrument samples from various nintendo ds and wii games and whatnot. now, the reason why i initially considered that it would be safer to list all the sample sources is probably pretty obvious. i am aware that some of the stuff i put into my songs aren't exactly original, but if a random person was given one of my songs to listen to, one of their first thoughts definitely wouldn't be "oh is that a piano sample from wii music???".


what i'm trying to say is, i like to try with most of my songs to make sure that the usage of video game instruments samples isn't entirely obvious, and most of the time when i decide to put certain samples from certain games into my music, i usually think something along the lines of "hm, that's a nice melody i've got there, i think that using sounds from a starfy game would fit the aesthetics and tone of it nicely". a good portion of my songs are ones that i would say are mostly pretty original. i think of the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have. now, i'm not saying that's all you need to make an original song, but to the average music critique, they would probably look past the samples themselves and focus more on what ways that they're being used.


this brings us to my last subject, the rejected contest entry i mentioned earlier. whoever initially sent me the invite to the contest clearly either didn't think much of the samples being used, found me through one of the few songs i've made that don't use any vg samples, or just straight up didn't read the description on whatever song they were looking at. anyways, after i got the invite i decided that the song i would make for the contest would be the most high-effort and creative song i've ever made. so, i set to work making it but made the crucial mistake of deciding that it should also have the most sources out of any of the songs i've ever made up to that point.


as you know, despite making what i think is the best song i've ever made to date, it was rejected, for obvious reasons. the pm i got stating its rejection listed a few things that i would have to change in order for me to get a song into the contest, the main one stating "you should probably submit something to the contest that doesn't use the samples you're talking about". this reply could imply a lot of different things, but after some more pm converse later, i decided that i would make a separate song specifically for the contest that didn't use any potentially non-royalty-free samples, which i now consider to be the most mediocre song i've ever made, and also the song's rating was 2 stars, compared to the 3.7 stars + a favorite that the other one had.


the tl;dr of this whole post is: originality guidelines on this site can be very confusing sometimes. some sources i've heard say "make sure about 60% of your song is original", while others advise you not to use any potentially copyrighted samples in your music at all. most of my songs are made purely for fun, with no intentions of financial gains or publicity, and most of the samples i use in my songs are for aesthetic purposes rather than as a cop-out for the purpose of having to put less effort into my music. with that considered, obsoleting the originality in my songs over the usage of sounds from games i like takes away more than half of what makes making music fun for me. when i first started i thought that maybe if i put creative efforts into making music, it'll help me get out of the repeating cycle of making creatively bankrupt unfinished geometry dash levels that i feel no reason to finish, but now i feel like i might get sent into that same cycle as an artist rather than as a geometry dash level creator.


Okay. Navigating the legal quagmire can be tricky but let me dumb it down further.


In order of which comes first:


  1. If a sample is copyrighted and the licence holders are notorious for taking things down e.g. Nintendo with the Mario coin samples, DON'T USE IT. Those are out of bounds.
  2. If a sample is from a game and you don't know the terms and conditions of the sample's use, always research what the licence holders say. Heck, even ask them. Drop an email. Do your due diligence.
  3. If you are given express written permission by the licence holder to use the sample, and have it on hand , you're good. You can use it.
  4. If a sample is public domain / Creative Commons 0 or Creative Commons Noncommercial - Attribution - Share Alike, or if you are using samples for which you have the permissions, your mileage may vary. This is where the Duplo music rule starts to apply. If you're building a song exclusively of loops and samples without modification or any musical thought past that of the creators of the original samples, then it's not your work. If you write your own chords and melody and rhythm or even slice or modify those samples, you'd be in a lot safer territory.
  5. In the case of usage of any CC Noncommercial - Attribution - Share Alike samples, you need to release your derivative work under the exact same licence.


That's the long and short of the rules. Many people have asked for them to be more exhaustive and so they have been written the way they are.


As an aside, many of us have made stunning originals with exceedingly little, and with no recourse to copyrighted game samples. I don't know what bullshittery you're trying to pull, but that's not flying past me. Heck, I'M a strictly nonprofit composer currently, and this is certainly the case with my current songwriting.


At 10/14/20 08:09 PM, Troisnyx wrote: Okay. Navigating the legal quagmire can be tricky but let me dumb it down further.

In order of which comes first:

That's the long and short of the rules. Many people have asked for them to be more exhaustive and so they have been written the way they are.

As an aside, many of us have made stunning originals with exceedingly little, and with no recourse to copyrighted game samples. I don't know what bullshittery you're trying to pull, but that's not flying past me. Heck, I'M a strictly nonprofit composer currently, and this is certainly the case with my current songwriting.


some quick things i have to say about this message (the 2nd one is most important in regards to your points):

-personally, i think that asking to have the rights to use low quality instrument samples from 10 year old games that the average person has never even heard of seems completely ridiculous and unreasonable for an independent creator who makes music for fun as one of several hobbies.

-everything about my music, excluding various numbers of samples used in it, is completely original and thought up by me. this includes, as stated in the post itself, "the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have". i've purchased several synth sample packs for use in music that are labeled as royalty free to keep the balance at a more acceptable level. whether that's enough to get my music whitelisted is a very hard question to answer, and it's the main question i have in regards to this situation in general.

-i can see why you might find this post a bit sus, some of the things said it in are mainly unimportant and entirely able to be . i also don't feel right making posts like this because it makes it seems like i'm an "serious" artist, when it's mostly just for fun and the only reason i chose this site to post my music on was because of geometry dash, even though in reality it's the worst possible one i could've chosen considering the type of music i make.


At 10/14/20 08:44 PM, Super-shape wrote:
At 10/14/20 08:09 PM, Troisnyx wrote:
Okay. Navigating the legal quagmire can be tricky but let me dumb it down further.

In order of which comes first:

That's the long and short of the rules. Many people have asked for them to be more exhaustive and so they have been written the way they are.

As an aside, many of us have made stunning originals with exceedingly little, and with no recourse to copyrighted game samples. I don't know what bullshittery you're trying to pull, but that's not flying past me. Heck, I'M a strictly nonprofit composer currently, and this is certainly the case with my current songwriting.

some quick things i have to say about this message (the 2nd one is most important in regards to your points):


-personally, i think that asking to have the rights to use low quality instrument samples from 10 year old games that the average person has never even heard of seems completely ridiculous and unreasonable for an independent creator who makes music for fun as one of several hobbies.


-everything about my music, excluding various numbers of samples used in it, is completely original and thought up by me. this includes, as stated in the post itself, "the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have". i've purchased several synth sample packs for use in music that are labeled as royalty free to keep the balance at a more acceptable level. whether that's enough to get my music whitelisted is a very hard question to answer, and it's the main question i have in regards to this situation in general.


-i can see why you might find this post a bit sus, some of the things said it in are mainly unimportant and entirely able to be unraveled into completely useless information. i also don't feel right making posts like this because it makes it seems like i'm an "serious" artist, when it's mostly just for fun and the only reason i chose this site to post my music on was because of geometry dash, even though in reality it's the worst possible one i could've chosen considering the type of music i make.


sorry for posting the same reply twice btw i suck at using this site


At 10/14/20 08:45 PM, Super-shape wrote:
At 10/14/20 08:44 PM, Super-shape wrote:
At 10/14/20 08:09 PM, Troisnyx wrote:
Okay. Navigating the legal quagmire can be tricky but let me dumb it down further.

In order of which comes first:

That's the long and short of the rules. Many people have asked for them to be more exhaustive and so they have been written the way they are.

As an aside, many of us have made stunning originals with exceedingly little, and with no recourse to copyrighted game samples. I don't know what bullshittery you're trying to pull, but that's not flying past me. Heck, I'M a strictly nonprofit composer currently, and this is certainly the case with my current songwriting.
some quick things i have to say about this message (the 2nd one is most important in regards to your points):

-personally, i think that asking to have the rights to use low quality instrument samples from 10 year old games that the average person has never even heard of seems completely ridiculous and unreasonable for an independent creator who makes music for fun as one of several hobbies.

-everything about my music, excluding various numbers of samples used in it, is completely original and thought up by me. this includes, as stated in the post itself, "the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have". i've purchased several synth sample packs for use in music that are labeled as royalty free to keep the balance at a more acceptable level. whether that's enough to get my music whitelisted is a very hard question to answer, and it's the main question i have in regards to this situation in general.

-i can see why you might find this post a bit sus, some of the things said it in are mainly unimportant and entirely able to be unraveled into completely useless information. i also don't feel right making posts like this because it makes it seems like i'm an "serious" artist, when it's mostly just for fun and the only reason i chose this site to post my music on was because of geometry dash, even though in reality it's the worst possible one i could've chosen considering the type of music i make.


Unfortunately, the licence holders literally don't care if you're doing something for fun or not. On my previous YouTube channel I had two straight-up copyright strikes despite not earning a penny.


The way they enforce copyright is waaaaay against what copyright is intended for, i.e. to protect the small artists.


So, against them being hostile, our only method of survival is due diligence.


A person you wanna consult on Twitter, if you're on there, is Sebastian Wolff, founder of Materia Collective. He does plenty of research as to whether a song or sample can be safely remixed, it's part of his job. Dash him a PM and tell him that I sent you his way, and he'll help soon as he can.


At 10/14/20 08:44 PM, Super-shape wrote: -everything about my music, excluding various numbers of samples used in it, is completely original and thought up by me. this includes, as stated in the post itself, "the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have". i've purchased several synth sample packs for use in music that are labeled as royalty free to keep the balance at a more acceptable level.


So if you wrote everything yourself from scratch, all your music down to every last note, and are rendering it using VSTs that you obtained legally whether free or paid, then what exactly is the issue?


If someone else created something, and has not given you permission to use it in your music, then don't use it.


Zombie: ...............

To be or not to be?

LOL! Fighto!


if you're stuck because you use soundfonts ripped from SNES games, run a completely free and legal roland sc-55 or yamaha xg soundfont through the SPC presets in chipcrusher and you have 99.9% of all videogame soundfonts recreated w/ no licensing issues whatsoever ;)


p.s. i am gay


https://www.tweakbench.com/vst-plugins/peach this is a synth based of the NES psg audio system, it's $0.99 get it and make your own sounds, problem solved.


At 10/18/20 04:08 AM, midimachine wrote: if you're stuck because you use soundfonts ripped from SNES games, run a completely free and legal roland sc-55 or yamaha xg soundfont through the SPC presets in chipcrusher and you have 99.9% of all videogame soundfonts recreated w/ no licensing issues whatsoever ;)


not to say this isn't a good suggestion, but i've already used both of those soundfonts in my music before and i don't think they resemble the sort of video game instruments i like to use in my music anyways. 80% of the soundfonts i use in my music are from DS games because i prefer the sound style of games on that system rather than the sound style of snes games. and also because i think snes game osts are more likely to get copyright striked, for completely subjective reasons. mainly the second thing mentioned there, though.


i don't use video game soundfonts in my music to give it the "general aesthetic of a console's soundchip", but rather to give the general aesthetic of a game used on that console itself. the DS sound chip doesn't have near as distinct of a style to it, and i sort of like the variety that soundtracks on the system provide.


At 10/17/20 05:35 PM, Jesse wrote:
At 10/14/20 08:44 PM, Super-shape wrote: -everything about my music, excluding various numbers of samples used in it, is completely original and thought up by me. this includes, as stated in the post itself, "the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have". i've purchased several synth sample packs for use in music that are labeled as royalty free to keep the balance at a more acceptable level.
So if you wrote everything yourself from scratch, all your music down to every last note, and are rendering it using VSTs that you obtained legally whether free or paid, then what exactly is the issue?

If someone else created something, and has not given you permission to use it in your music, then don't use it.


when i'm referring to sample packs, i'm referring to instrument and drum samples specifically. i think that using sampled drumloops and chord progressions is lame, so i write all of those things by myself, occasionally using drum and synth samples taken from, of course, games published on decade-old sequence-based nintendo consoles. none of the songs that i've uploaded to my account "sample" an existing song in the same sense that professional rap/hip hop producers do. 


what i do is just take a sample used in a game's coding to make the music heard in that game, and try to apply it in an interesting way to fit the style of a song that i've written myself. the result of this is commonly referred to as a "soundfont", which many other people have made their own versions of online, even though i mostly just make ones myself with the tools provided by existing communities.


in terms of how likely my songs are to get copyright striked for the use of said samples, i have a few pieces of speculation as to why that seems relatively unlikely to me, sorted from what i think to be most to least important:


1: excluding the 6 or 7 game-specific sound effects i've used over all of my songs, there's still the instrument samples of which i have used considerably more of. i believe personally that many of the samples i've used aren't distinct enough to be instantly noticeable to anyone with a vague memory of what the soundtrack of that game sounds like. even with the consideration that someone's heard the soundtrack of the game that uses it, for one, the samples are often extremely compressed, and for two, lately i've been trying to make more of an effort to use the samples in a less raw format. examples include pitch bending, LFO, sidechaining and a number of other things, and even still, i always make sure that i have a good balance of sounds that i actually own proper rights to mixed in.


2: when i refer to the samples i'm using, a good percentage of those are referring to instrument and percussion samples rather than sfx. i would consider using sound effects to be overall more risky than using instrument samples because they have inherently more association with the game than most other samples used in the respective games. most of the sound effects i've used are used extremely sparingly, often appearing only once or twice in the entire song, and also usually used in a relatively subtle way.


3: all of the samples i've used are from games that nintendo has ceased production or support on, specifically ones from the ds and wii era, with little remains of that era being referenced on their official site. also, a lot of the samples i've used are one that i've used just to show appreciation to lesser-known franchises or games that i enjoy playing, including picross ds, starfy, vib-ribbon, and others.


these are the most concrete pieces of evidence i have towards the matter and i don't plan on making any more follow-ups unless i get any more points against these that i have anything more to say about. over the span of the replies surrounding this post, the question seems to have shifted significantly from "should songs with video game instrument samples be allowed for use in gd?" to "should songs with video game samples be allowed for use?", and while i still the alternate question is good, it still makes sense to acknowledge the original question of which was provided.


At 10/18/20 02:24 PM, Super-shape wrote:
At 10/18/20 04:08 AM, midimachine wrote: if you're stuck because you use soundfonts ripped from SNES games, run a completely free and legal roland sc-55 or yamaha xg soundfont through the SPC presets in chipcrusher and you have 99.9% of all videogame soundfonts recreated w/ no licensing issues whatsoever ;)
not to say this isn't a good suggestion, but i've already used both of those soundfonts in my music before and i don't think they resemble the sort of video game instruments i like to use in my music anyways. 80% of the soundfonts i use in my music are from DS games because i prefer the sound style of games on that system rather than the sound style of snes games. and also because i think snes game osts are more likely to get copyright striked, for completely subjective reasons. mainly the second thing mentioned there, though.


tru, i think if you were to unpack the sf2 files in giga or w/e, then downsample everything in a batch process you could probably get close. maybe not with fluidr3 and gm.dls in particular. at the end of the day you can tell people you did whatever to make your music and they probably won't care unless they're the sort of person who thinks any pitchbending sawwave synth is violating the copyright of quentin tarantino.



p.s. i am gay