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Concatenative sound synthesis and intellectual property: An analysis of the legal issues surrounding the synthesis of novel sounds from copyright-protected work

Abstract

Concatenative sound synthesis (CSS) is only as good as the database from which it draws its sound units. As in concatenative speech synthesis, "good sound concatenations require databases rich in sound material. How better to satisfy this than by using the world's entire library of sound recordings? As can be expected, this concatenative fodder includes work protected by copyrights; and some of these rights appear to forbid the use of these works in both the databases used by, and the results of, the CSS algorithm. These pragmatic concerns necessitate a discussion of the ramifications of intellectual property for CSS, not to mention the appropriation in its output. This article addresses these issues with reference to intellectual property law and copyright precedent, particularly in the USA, and assesses the defensibility of using copyright-protected material in CSS.

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