Free to Use Sounds is a deceptively named sound library. I kind of like their YouTube work, saw use for the sound of ‘crashing waves’ in one of my projects, and was looking forward to support fellow creators by licensing their work. Because it is not at all that ‘free to use’. Which was okay, as a $25 license fee is reasonable for an ‘All In One Bundle’.

…considering the following statements:

‘All our recordings are royalty-free and no credit is required! We created a license agreement that we promise fits your project’s needs without any strings attached.’

‘[…]a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use all or any of the sound[…]’

‘Licensee can use the licensed sound effects on an unlimited number of projects for the entirety of their lifetime.’


Only, the further the license reads, the less ‘free’ it gets and strings gets quite constrictive.

I had worked for hours and hours on a video and on incorporating their sound, as it was paid and licensed, into the video. I even contacted them to suggest future collaboration. Only to be rudely threatened with a copyright strike. I had to take down the video and stop paid ad campaigns and all promotional materials. Lots of time and money lost.

Sure enough, hidden inside all the text promising the license would fit my needs, was a sentence that made sure it would not fit my need.

All content creators should be paid for their work. But be upfront about the terms. Don’t call something free if it isn‘t, and don’t create and hide loopholes in small print after having promised ‘no strings attached’. It’s deceptive.

I normally license music from Pond5. A quick search revealed thousands of similar sounds of crashing waves within Pond5’s library, at a fraction of the cost.

Lesson learned: Do not use ‘’.

The final video, with the use of Pond5 licensed sound: