1980s Ambient sounds, BT (UK) telephone tones/announcements, BBC Radio 4 discussions

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)
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KVRer
13 posts since 2 Mar, 2021 from Southport, UK

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:58 am

I've recently had a massive clear out and found several audio cassettes that I recorded random stuff onto as a teenager - I was just wandering round the house there's all sorts of doors opening/closing, cars starting, pans boiling/bubbling which is all pretty meh but the two bits that interested me are:
1. lots of telephone samples, rotary dial noises, dial tone, ringing etc. and even some voice announcements - UK speaking clock, cricket scores, "dial-a-disc" music
2. random radio stuff too - announcers between songs, BBC Radio 4 academic discussions, popular maths lessons/shows, even music lessons teaching how to read music. Also there's some news reports with reference to industrial action/strikes of the 80s.

I'm guessing these recording were made early 80s. I'm also guessing too the the BT stuff would probably be copyrighted (music definitely obvs) but not sure about the announcer/voice stuff. Back then I did do a cut-up of various voice bits that I incorporated into a composition (which was never released/published), it was so cut up that there were no identifiable words just rhythmic sounds.

just wondering what to do with them - bin them ? 8) - and whether the spoken words of Radio announcers / News content or even panelists in the R4 discussion progs etc. fall under copyright?
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zedstarr sounds
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KVRAF
2304 posts since 2 Jun, 2016

Post Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:44 am

A couple of considerations:

1) You might well be right about the copyrighted nature of ALL of the material, although I suspect that there are several 'grey areas' relating to the spoken words and news content in particular.
It is worth bearing in mind that copyright is an argument, with claims and counter claims, rather than a 'done thing' to necessarily stop someone using another person's original work.

A key reason why an original material copyright owner (who, in the frequent case of musical song snippets being subject to copyright cases, is often not the actual musicians) is usually successful is because another person has attempted to use the copyrighted work without permission and in doing so it can be argued that the derived work competes commercially with the original (effectively piggy-backing off the work of somebody else for your benefit rather than their benefit).
Thus, an element of commercial loss / competition is often (but not always) critical to copyright cases.

2) But what if a sample is used from an early 1980s news announcement?
Crucially, the BBC is a publicly funded national (arguably Governmental) organization.
In the case of a news report from 1982, was the BBC looking to gain commercially from such a broadcast?
And if you use a 5 second snippet of a news reader's voice in one of your own pieces of art, are you competing commercially against the BBC with this specific regard?
What if your song sells 1 million records?
What if the snippet is 15 seconds long as opposed to 5 seconds or 2 seconds?
Hence the need for interpretation and 'grey area' copyright arguments, rather than a concrete notion of copyright to be applied the same in every case.

3) Depending upon the intended use of the original work, there might be a number of 'fair' reasons for not sampling it, or there might be a number of educational or other 'fair' reasons for doing so:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright

https://www.copyrightuser.org/understan ... reporting/
(see the Legal Language section)

4) Defence of fairness / fair dealing can apply, this will vary from case to case (and the judge's interpretation).

https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centr ... -explained

"A statutory definition for fair dealing does not exist; it will always be a matter of fact, degree and interpretation in every fair use case. Nor is there a percentage or quantitative measure to determine fair dealing."


5) Copyright often expires after a set number of years (if not renewed).
Generally speaking, rather than in the case of these 1980s BBC recordings, it is always worth finding out if copyright for a historical broadcast has expired (eg after 70 years) if you wish to sample it.


6) practically speaking, would anyone else recognize the samples / recordings?
Undoubtedly, if anyone wished to undertake the research, they might find out the date and the identity of a news announcer regarding a specific date event (and connect this with a BBC broadcast). They could very likely trace the 'dial a disc' music, or the academic discussions, or the popular maths / music shows back to the BBC.

But would they be able to trace a short snippet of a telephone dial tone back to the BBC (particularly if there were none of your other BBC material samples to give them any clues)?
If so, how?

7) Generally speaking, rather than with regard to this specific BBC issue, even if a sampled piece of original music is used, is the original copyright owner likely to sue you?
How much money do you have? Are you worth suing?


8 ) These are your considerations Zedstarr!
Personally, I would keep all of the samples but transfer them over to hard disc drive for easier storage. You never know, a museum or some such public historical service might be very interested in your collection some years down the line.

In terms of making them available for other people to use, I would be wary about letting anything apart from the short (and difficult to trace) telephone tone samples etc for the reasons above.
However, as you can see from the above points, there are many reasons to still use copyrighted material despite the immediate worry for some people about a claim coming their way.

I leave you with this lovely song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ecdn5SGT1E

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KVRAF
2587 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Post Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:05 am

Feels like a damn shame to throw them in to the garbage.
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KVRer

Topic Starter

13 posts since 2 Mar, 2021 from Southport, UK

Post Fri Mar 05, 2021 5:03 am

I've started the process of capturing some of the "interesting" bits to disc... can't bring myself to throw the originals away, I'll probably keep them for ever :)
zedstarr HQ
zedstarr sounds
32.45% of statistics are made up on the spot...

KVRian
1317 posts since 7 Jun, 2007

Post Fri Mar 05, 2021 5:46 am

please share them to soundcloud so we might find them too :D

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KVRist
36 posts since 7 Feb, 2021

Post Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:52 am

great detailed answer there by Dark Water, It sounds like a great collection and I can imagine it being of huge interest to people who grew up/lived in the 80's (like myself) and I could easily be of interest to people making/referencing hauntological music/soundscapes.

What triggered the recordings if I can ask? I wasted many a cassette trying to record the Top 40 - when I got a tape deck that could record - trying to cut out the DJ's talking.

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KVRer

Topic Starter

13 posts since 2 Mar, 2021 from Southport, UK

Post Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:43 am

Can't quite remember exactly what triggered the recordings - I was always quite nerdy like that! 8) I got some random mono cassette/radio for Xmas (or birthday present maybe?) and it had an external MIC input. I had (and have still got) a Tandy/Realistic stereo condenser mic with swivel heads and I just got fascinated by recording the sound of things. I was into electronic music from the start (I think I heard the band "Telex" on my Uncle's Technics component HiFi system around then too (maybe late 1979?)) and got into Kraftwerk, early Human League etc. I think I might have had in my mind that I was recording things for archival, I always had a sense I would use them later for making something....
zedstarr HQ
zedstarr sounds
32.45% of statistics are made up on the spot...

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KVRAF
2130 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:44 am

I've often wondered the same myself. The BT stuff quite possibly no other than dial tone and the tones you got when hitting the keypad. I have some internal knowledge of BT and they get uptight about use of anything that might damage or dilute their brand.

The BBC, I'd be interested to know. I guess they have copyright on everything but as to the uage I wouldn't know. However the "free sounds" library they put online more or less ruled out any use that might be regarded as "commercial".

Unrelatedly, I wrote to the BBC back in the early 80s about sound FX and they wrote back and quoted something like £120 for just one.

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addled muppet weed
76480 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:24 am

ChamomileShark wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:44 am
Unrelatedly, I wrote to the BBC back in the early 80s about sound FX and they wrote back and quoted something like £120 for just one.
should have said "piss off i pay a licence fee, you are mine!"

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KVRAF
2130 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:17 am

vurt wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:24 am
ChamomileShark wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:44 am
Unrelatedly, I wrote to the BBC back in the early 80s about sound FX and they wrote back and quoted something like £120 for just one.
should have said "piss off i pay a licence fee, you are mine!"
You are such a great loss to the diplomatic service.

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addled muppet weed
76480 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:18 am

:hihi: malcom tucker school of diplomacy!

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KVRAF
2130 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:19 am

He now runs a training school for Home Secretaries on "assertive staff management"

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KVRer

Topic Starter

13 posts since 2 Mar, 2021 from Southport, UK

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 2:19 pm

ChamomileShark wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:44 am
I've often wondered the same myself. The BT stuff quite possibly no other than dial tone and the tones you got when hitting the keypad.
Aye. I've "done a bit of Telcomms" in the past and yes, dial tone & the MF dialling tones are only combinations of frequencies after all (and the BT/OpenReach docs that define them SIN350 & 351 have always been publicly available too) hard to copyright 350/440Hz I imagine.

I've captured some of the original tapes to files on my laptop, and found some actual montages I'd made of some of this stuff. It is truly cringeworthy. I was a young teen at the time, probably thought I was at the cutting edge recording this stuff with my dad's old Amstrad tape deck. I remember it had a mechanical tape transport mechanism and half-pressing "pause" would slightly lift the pinch roller away from the capstan so the playback/recording could be sped up... I had another "music center" with a tape deck in it so was bouncing tracks between them. I found I'd mixed in some of the recordings of the school band I was in (bass player) too.

Some of the radio talk programmes I recorded I was pressing pause on/off randomly in spoken passages without any real aim, so some of the random stuff I ended up with is rubbish, occasionally by chance something slightly ok occurred. Check out "furry little creech-free politiicians" (amongst others) at https://soundcloud.com/zed-starr/sets/s ... fwEQQoPoVN 8)


Ah those were the days :D :D :D
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Last edited by zedstarr on Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
zedstarr HQ
zedstarr sounds
32.45% of statistics are made up on the spot...

User avatar
addled muppet weed
76480 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:53 pm

early granular glitch!!!

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KVRAF
2130 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:16 am

zedstarr wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 2:19 pm
Some of the radio talk programmes I recorded I was pressing pause on/off randomly in spoken passages without any real aim, so some of the random stuff I ended up with is rubbish, occasionally by chance something slightly ok occurred. Check out "furry little creech-free politiicians" (amongst others) at https://soundcloud.com/zed-starr/sets/s ... fwEQQoPoVN 8)


Ah those were the days :D :D :D
Fab. Robert Robinson?

As it looks like old UK geezers corner, what was the name of the Scottish presenter, Robbie something?

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