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Old 16th July 2005
You can find material that's safely in the public domain at Internet Archive, ( -- in audio and/or video format. Do check any IP rights reservations on non-p.d. stuff you find there (a lot of people release limited-free-use stuff at Internet Archive, too, using Creative Commons or other copyright alternatives to delineate the rights they're granting as well as those they're withholding. (They have a sister site called that you'll want to take a look at, too.)

You can probably fly under the radar on news soundbites if you only grab bites that are publicly available.

That is, while you're not technically permitted to lift audio out of a copyrighted newscast without permission, if you, say, grab the president or other national figures at a publicly available speech or a press conference, no one will probably a) notice or b) care.

OTOH, if you try appropriating the president in a one on one exclusive interview, it will be obvious where it came from and, of course, the IP owners have cause for action if they do stumble on it.


PS... to take your question literally -- the answer is yes. You have the right to sample (record) incoming information (under the general auspices of the "VCR Doctrine") -- but only for personal use. (And you never have the right to defeat digital rights management software without autho.) But as soon as your new mix/remix/whatever leaves your house or car, you're an outlaw, baby.