Can I use speech samples in my release?

We all have dreams, but sampling Martin Luther King is a no-go.

Recordings of speech follow the same rules as recordings of any other audio. They remain the property of whoever’s speaking, unless they’ve either been put into the public domain by the creator, the copyright has expired, or copyright never initially applied to them.

We often see releases uploaded through RouteNote with speech samples in them from celebrities or politicians, taken from TV programmes, films, or social media; these aren’t necessarily free for anyone to use and will require permission from the original creator, just like a recording of music.

If you want to use a speech sample in your release, please check the copyright status. If it doesn’t explicitly say it’s okay to use it in commercial releases, you’ll need permission from whoever made it first.

If you have the appropriate permission and we refer the release back to you because of the sample, you’ll need to send it in to us. The best way to do this is to get whoever owns the original work to email us directly at In the email, please include:

  • the UPC of your release
  • your username

If we ask you about a speech sample that you’ve recorded yourself, just let us know that it’s original and send in:

  • the unedited audio of the speech on its own
  • your username
  • the UPC of the release

This should let us clear it and get your release approved. No problemo!

Have you heard of RouteNote Create?
Our sample subscription service, RouteNote Create, allows you to access individual samples or full packs which are guaranteed to be completely original. Subscriptions start at only $2.99 a month, and using samples from Create makes it even easier to clear moderation. Each purchase comes with a unique licence ID – if you pop that through to us at along with your username and the UPC of the release, then we’ll be able to clear the samples for you.

Check out the full RouteNote Style Guide here!

See more:
Can I sample a copyright exempt recording?
Can I use direct samples from other people’s tracks in my release?

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