I am working on a project that may be intended for commercial use. Would it be possible to extract sound from, say, a YouTube video that shows only the sound of a real WW1 airplane and then use that sound for a WW1 airplane in a video game? I know that it would be plausible to extract it from old public domain videos, but I'm worried about the sound quality as well as the availability of high-fidelity sounds. I'm not sure whether this falls under fair use. I am fairly neW to this audio sampling legal bits, so it's a bit confusing for me.

Additionally, for sounds from past manufactured vehicles or products, would it also be required to ask the original designer's/manufacturer's permission? It would make sense for something like a car, but for something like an old telephone, would that make sense?

  • SE isn't really the place for legal advice - but as a general rule, whoever recorded it owns it. If you record a car going by, you own it. If you use the sound from someone else's work, you need permission.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 7:12

2 Answers 2


If it's public domain then yes it would be ok, but I wouldn't trust copyright information people add as Youtube descriptions.

There are some public domain video archives that might have the kind of material you are describing. At least Prelinger archive material is public domain and legal to use any way you wish.



This is a "sound design" forum. You are asking a LEGAL question. Copyright law is a specialized field and it seems quite possible that there is no appropriate StackExchange forum for this question.

As a general rule, however, using sound or image from another production is almost NEVER something that a competent attorney would recommend. Even if you believe it is "public domain" from WW1 era. Especially the sound track is VERY doubtful as sync-sound was a rare thing back in those days. So the chances are really excellent that you are hearing a modern reproduction of a matching sound track. And that means that it is almost certainly still covered by copyright.

Either do your own work, or spend more on legal fees.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.