The current example is to generate an audio file with spoken text using a speech synthesizer and a voice, which both are licensed under a proprietary or open source license.

Assuming the license does not explicitly state about the license of the generated artifacts, which legal status will the artifacts have?


Your output (audio recording of spoken text) is obviously a derived work of the unspoken text. With current high-quality voices, using samples recorded by a human speaker and not just algorithms, your output also most likely contains large parts of the voice itself, and would therefore be a derived work. In that case, you would need a license to create the derived work (the spoken text), and a license to make copies of the derived work (distributing the spoken text).

If the voice synthesizer is plainly algorithmic, you wouldn't need a license. If there is a debate and things go to court, you would probably need some expert witnesses to testify whether the spoken test is indeed a derived work or not, because it might not be obvious.

So you'd want a license permitting your use to be on the safe side. Especially if you think your spoken text could be a derived work of the voice.


The software

The licence on the software has no impact on the output. Even if you are using the software illegally, that doesn’t affect the output - if you write a novel using an illegal Microsoft Word, you own the copyright.

The input

However, your rights to the output are affected by the status of the input.

If there is no creativity in the operation, that is, the output is always the same for the same input, then the output is the input as far as the copyright is concerned - it’s just a change of format like translating from a jpeg to a bmp.

However, if there is some creative input, for example, if the output changes by changing parameters, then the output is a derivative work with its own copyright.

In both cases, however, you have to have permission to make copies - because you own the copyright, have a licence or it’s fair use/dealing.

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