If you don't plan to start up a band to record the perfect song or can't go out to record the sound of rain, don't worry -- there are many people who record music and different sounds so that they can share them with people like you. Check out the resources below to find the audio you need. You may need to be a bit flexible with this option because you may not find exactly what you're looking for.
Copyright and Fair Use
For educational projects you can use content that is under copyright within the classroom context. This is something called 'fair use' that allows people to use content that is under copyright without permission under certain specific restrictions. However, if your podcast contains audio that you don't have permission to use and you upload it to public services like YouTube or SoundCloud, you may get a take down notice. If you use audio without permission, be sure to keep it in Canvas or just share via private services like email or Google Drive links.
Openly Licensed Audio
The good news is that you have access to a lot of content that is openly licensed, meaning that you have permission to use it without asking. For the most part, openly licensed content will fall under two types of licenses:
- Public Domain: this type of content is not covered by copyright. You don't need permission and can use it however you see fit. Legally, you do not need to give attribution to the person who created the content
- Creative Commons: this is a type of copyright that gives anyone permission to use the content as long as they follow some basic rules. Whenever you use creative commons (cc) licensed content, you need to give attribution to the creator (BY). Aside from that, there are some other requirements that may or may not apply:
- Non-commercial (NC): you cannot use their content to make money. For educational purposes, you can use any NC content.
- No Derivatives (ND): you cannot make any changes to the content. This is most often a deal breaker for use in a podcast: you can't use only a section of a ND song, you can't use ND audio in the background, you can't have any other audio playing while the ND audio is playing, etc.
- Share alike (SA): you need to give your content the same license as the content you're using. For example, if you use a sound clip of waves crashing on the shore which has a BY SA license, you will need to give your podcast a BY SA license (meaning that other people can use your podcast content as long as they give you attribution and give their content a BY SA license).
These requirements can be layered to set the criteria that the creator is comfortable with. It can get confusing and you can learn more at the Creative Commons site, but here are examples of cc licenses you may come across and how to interpret them for your podcast:
- CC BY -- you have to give the creator attribution. This is the most flexible option. For example: you can use just a short clip or play it backwards or add an echo effect; you can charge people to listen to your podcast; and you can copyright your podcast so that no one can use your content without express written permission.
- CC BY-SA -- you have to give the creator attribution and you need to give your project a CC BY-SA license.
- CC BY-ND -- you need to give the creator attribution, but you can't make any changes to the content. If it's a song, it has to be played in it's entirety with no other audio over it. Note: with any music under copyright, you can use short snippets without too much worry of violating copyright. Keep this to a minimum (e.g. if you're sampling for music, you are more likely to get in trouble; if you play a 5 second clip of a 5 minute song once, you are likely fine, especially if you are not making money off of your podcast).
- CC BY-NC -- you have to give the creator attribution and you can't make any money off of your podcast.
- CC BY-NC-SA -- you need to give the creator attribution, you can't make any money off of your project, and you have to give your project a CC BY-NC-SA license.
- CC BY-NC-ND -- you have to give the creator attribution, you can't make any money off of your podcast, and you can't make any changes to the content you're using.