What Content Can Be Used In A Demo?

Hey, there!

Copyrights are sacrosanct to me. The theft of intellectual property has become the norm with people who download movies, music and software without paying for them.

But your commercial demo (or any other demo, for that matter) doesn’t fall under that category.

In fact, you get special treatment.

A question that’s often asked when producing a client’s demo is about the material I pick. It’s always slightly adjusted material from television and radio commercials. And every so often, a client will be concerned that the material is copyrighted, and therefore, is a crime to use in a demo.

(Where was that line of thinking when I was fighting against Napster and Kazaa??)

Yes, the material is copyrighted.

No, it’s not a crime to use it in a demo.

The copyright laws of the US (and most other countries that are a party to the Berne Convention) protect anything created from the moment it’s affixed to a medium: written down, voiced, filmed, recorded.

But also built into the section of the US Code that lays out the copyright protections is a concept called “fair use.”

Fair use dictates that as long as you’re not replacing the sale of something, using the entire length of something, adding to the public discourse and not competing in the same marketplace, you are free to use anything you like, and specifically, to demonstrate your abilities via…a demo.

And why wouldn’t you want to show your potential clients exactly how you’d sound voicing the most professional, highly evolved material used in advertising? Can you imagine what our demos would sound like with products like Acme, Inc, Widgets International and YourNameGoesHere Laundry detergent?

Rest assured that when I pick copy for you to perform for your demo, that copy will be designed to show exactly what you can do with the most famous brands in the world – so that someday, you actually will. And the use of that copy is protected speech, designed not to compete with those products and services, but rather to show the world your mad skillz.

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

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