I'm working on a feature film now that, if all goes well, will be widely distributed. Through friends and colleges I have acquired several sound effects libraries, some of which are very well known and probably used by everyone reading this post. I don't plan on using a lot of library effects, as most of the sounds will be recorded.

If I were to use a few effects from a Sound Ideas or a Hollywood Edge library, is there a danger of being sued? I've heard plenty of stories of people telling me it's too hard to trace where a sound came from but what is the reality of this?

I don't want to put the producers in a bad situation and I certainly don't want to destroy the film. It is a low budget feature so buying up libraries isn't an option. It's cheaper for us to use a few library sounds here and there to avoid having to rent out the foley stage.

Any feedback would be great. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


This question has been answered ad nauseam.

pirate audio samples - how risky is it really?

In my opinion, if you don't own the library, don't use it for commercial or professional use.

People worked hard to record and create those sounds!

You don't always have to rent out a foley stage.

Take a Zoom or a cheaper recording set-up (provided you have one) and record the foley in a location that approximates the movie. This is how King's Speech was done, as well as 127 Hours (sort of - they didn't use a Zoom but they used the location in King's Speech and 127 Hours built a rock set-up to record the foley). It sounds more authentic and can be cheaper for you because you don't need to rent a stage. Use your imagination! There is no hard rule for how to create a good sounding soundtrack for a movie.

And if the sound you need is some difficult thing to record like Wind without birds or something, I'm sure some of us on this site would be happy to help you out and give you tips on how to create those sounds on your own.

  • Thanks Utopia. Luckily the film was shot using "lower" quality microphones which I have access to. It's similar to Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. I appreciate your help!
    – Dan2997
    Mar 7, 2011 at 19:45
  • @Dan2997 Let me know what you need and I'll do my best to help you out with it!
    – Utopia
    Mar 7, 2011 at 19:59
  • I just read a few posts from your link. This helped a lot.
    – Dan2997
    Mar 7, 2011 at 20:01
  • Hey no problem. 'Tis what I'm here for.
    – Utopia
    Mar 7, 2011 at 20:02

Try http://www.sonomic.com/. They have all the major sound libraries, and what you can do is buy the individual sound effect. It's a worthwhile subscription if you don't have time to record your own sounds or can't afford to buy a sound library yet.


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