Packages with non-original copyrighted sounds
While looking at the game chromium came to me the idea of taking some of
the sound effects and loops for other unrelated tasks, so i skimmed
through readme and copyright files. Since only the license for the whole
game is there (the same that is in the upstream sources), i've assumed
that the individual sounds are under the same terms. But casually i
found this in chromium's homepage:
Music Loops and raw Sound Effects from:
Partners in Rhyme [http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/]
That make me suspect that the sounds are under a different license or,
at least, requires a different copyright citation or author acknowlegde
than the game itself when used individually.
www.findsounds.com is a search service for sound files in the Web, and
states that the sounds may be copyrighted, with a disclaimer:
That does not look good to me. Not sure, but seems like a bunch of files
with unknown copyright.
Please, note that i do not want to restart here the discussion for
whether data that is not software should be strictly adjust to the DFSG
or not (although personally, i would really appreciate that, or at least
a clear identification).
Since that, i looked into some old games that remains installed in my
system since years, and i quickly found this:
- mirrormagic and rocksndiamonds:
Music by "Tangerine Dream", ripped from albums by this group. The files
are very short fragments repeated in a loop.
Years ago i recognized a sound that was ripped from the movie Aliens,
when a soldier (don't remember name) says "Game over man!". I've never
gave importance to this (until now ;-)
Please, note that i'm not a lawyer and have no idea of the legal issues
with such sort samples, but this is not what i want to emphasize here.
I looked only at 4 programs and all contains non-original sounds! I am
sure that there are many more... but that not only affect to games.
Package timidity-patches has been in Debian "main" (and is still there),
and turned out to be non-free (completely non-free, not even suitable
for the non-free section). See
It seems that also many (probably all) tracked music files (XM, IT, MOD)
included in Debian packages contain unidentified or ripped samples.
IMHO, i believe that there are an urgent need for a library of free
sound, music, samples, etc. to take as a base to ease the creation of
free software which need sounds. The library should asure at least that:
- The author of each file is clearly identified and acknowledged.
- License is sufficiently permissive to be clearly compatible with
It is very likely that the same occurs with icons, images and other
artwork. Maybe i am a little strict with that issues ??. Comments and
ideas are apreciated.
Roberto Gordo - Free Software Engineer
Linalco "Especialistas en Linux y Software Libre"
Tel: +34-915970074 Fax: +34-915970083