I'm in a bit of a pickle. I am working on a gaming project that has a really great intro. The sound for the intro needs to be a very mechanical effect—like a lot of moving parts. I have scoured the internet to find something that would work, but nothing has even come close.

There is a sound effect from a popular movie (I'd rather not say which one) that works absolutely perfectly for my needs. I don't know what to do. I'm not a sound engineer so creating one myself isn't really an option (though I've been trying).

I really want to just purchase a royalty-free sound alike or something similar if I can find it, but so far I haven't come up with anything. I believe in doing things legally but I'm wondering if I can't come up with anything, would that be an issue to use an excerpt from a sound effect in a movie?

5 Answers 5


You can't do that. It would be akin to ripping the T-rex roar out of Jurassic Park and calling it your own. The sound from the movie you're referencing is part of the soundtrack of the film, which is the legal property of whichever studios and production companies financed it.

If you can't create the sound you desire on your own, then you need to hire a sound editor / designer to do it for you.


"I have scoured the internet to find something that would work, but nothing has even come close."

This comment hints at a perceptual gap in your thinking - I very much doubt the sound you want to rip from a movie was ever a single sound. It is far more likely to have been constructed (aka designed) from many elements and/or layers and then mixed to feel like a single sound. So it is no surprise you have scoured the internet and cant find an instant solution.

  • Okay, but isn't it reasonable to think that someone might have produced a similar sound. I am actually pretty surprised that I haven't found something yet.
    – daveMac
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 0:56
  • Yes, I can say that someone, somewhere has produced a similar sound. Your problem is that it is not THE sound you are looking for. A sound designer will make THE sound for this specific moment. When I make a designed sound effect, I go through several iterations before I show anything to a client. Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 3:05
  • "produced a similar sound" - yes, but the emphasis is PRODUCED & obviously they have for the film you mention, but as i already said it was DESIGNED for it. As Chris said Sound Designers evolve such sounds for specific projects, not to put on the internet for other people to use... Its a bit like saying "I need a logo for my app or company and I've looked all over the internet and cant find one thats right, but I saw one in a movie I liked"
    – user49
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 20:54

This is absolutely NOT OK. The soundtrack is part of a copyright protected film.

You are, however, making an excellent case to hire a Sound Designer. This is what we do (and its what you need). We rarely just put a stock sound effect in for something like this. We manipulate and process multiple sounds to achieve something that will create (hyper)realism and emotion.

  • @Chris Davis, funny - we are on the same wavelength, posting almost the exact response at the exact same time. Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 19:49
  • @Jay Jennings - Hopefully that drives the point home. I am not seeing a private message system on here. Am I missing something? Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 20:04
  • How would I go about hiring a sound designer? Also, what kind of cost would I be looking at?
    – daveMac
    Commented Aug 31, 2012 at 22:54
  • @appDesigner My email addy is [email protected]. Lets talk. I'd be happy to provide a more direct line of inquiry. Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 3:07

Ripping that sound is a big no-no. What Chris said!

I also think you're not looking hard enough for sounds. Have you looked at Sounddogs.com or this awesome list of independent libraries?:


I say, dig deeper, or trust your sound design instincts and try recording something.


If it's a particular effect from a high profile movie - the chances are it is highly recognisable. Far better to create your own sound effects and build up your library that way. Also BBC sound effects CD's or Hard drives are very good value. Try Ebay. or places like De Wolfe

If you had gone ahead and not said anything, there would be a high chance that nothing would happen - but you are taking a gamble and may be encouraged to do it again.

I'm sure many sound designers stuck for an effect have 'borrowed' the occasional effect from a commercial sound library belonging to someone else, (occasionally being the operative word), however a specific effect up-front in the mix would be inadvisable.

This section may be of interest

This University of Cambridge site on copyright is also useful

As your project is a game, and is a highly commercial venture then all your work needs to be above board, end of story. It's like a graphic designer stealing a photograph or image from the internet and passing it off as their work. This may be fair use for non-profit or student work (though contacting the copyright holder is always advisable, and usually results in a favourable response) - however commercial ventures need to be fully compliant with copyright. The last thing you or the client want is an expensive legal infringement challenge.

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