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Being fresh out the gates, my sound library isn't very large, and most of it has a Creative Commons Attribution license. Also, my primary resource for sound effects -- freesound.org -- has the same licensing on most of the community's sounds.

Now, I know using those sound effects outright isn't sound design, and I'd never slap another person's sound effect in my project without manipulating it first, but is it acceptable to use sound effects with an Attribution license in a demo reel?

And, if I do, how would that effect my appearance and reputation as a sound designer? Would I be taken less seriously because I can't afford SFX libraries or mics to make my own?

Finally, if I do use those sound effects, is it kosher to have a link at the end of the reel (like "For Attribution credits, go to mysite.com/democredit"), to keep it short and sweet, or should I fully list all the credits at the end?

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Always reference your sources, on some of my projects I haven't and I don't sleep well since then :( I think it's fine to reuse the sound effects as they come (if they are clean enough of course) and I would feel thankful if one of my sound effects was used as it is in a production.

Again (we're talking demoreel dos and don'ts here), I hope very few people care what material we're using for our demoreels because it's all about showing what you can do and it's not commercial.

I reckon a sound designer (or any worker for that matter) will be taken seriously as soon as he/she does whatever it takes to get his/her stuff done. When you're building your demoreel (and I'm at that stage too) this goes by using the sound effects that you can legally get. Whether you recorded it or somebody offered it to you, you use it because it fits best your needs. I believe licensing only becomes a matter when you start doing commercial and public work and then you'll start using your studio's library!

Just reference people that made your work possible :)

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I wouldn't worry about buying a library straight away. It will take longer but recording sounds will teach you a lot and they are owned by you alone.

I found that as long as I delivered the goods on time and to a good standard everyone was happy.

There are ways to get those tricky sounds though that you may be able to afford. Several people on here have setup mini-libraries, or boutique libraries, for sale at a very affordable price (Chuck and Tim have created some great libraries! Also go to Jim Stout's page where he's got very small librarys for $5.

Another option you have is to buy individual sounds when you can't get them any other way. Soundsnap is a site I've been using for years now that has built up a lot of obscure stuff. I use is most when I can't find the sound I am looking for in my work's extensive library.

Good luck!

Ian

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