Welcome to the Endangered Sounds Project

Endangered Sounds, this project questions the legitimacy of privatizing and protecting sounds that are released at random in public spaces. If I own a multi-million dollar penthouse in a city, and work nigh shifts, I have no recourse against the loud Harley Davidson or Australian Football League (AFL) siren (both protected sounds) that wakes me from my precious sleep - both sounds are privately protected, making their recording, reproduction and broadcast illegal. Who has responsibility for these disturbances - surely a level of corporate responsibility should come with the mechanisms of private protection for financial gain afforded by the soundmarks?

This project sets out to list and then collect evidence of the presence of these protected sounds in public and private space.


IMAGES of Endangered Sounds world premiere exhibition at BEAP, Perth September 2004

Catalogue for Sonic Difference exhibition

Video Recording of Paper given at BEAP

definitions Trademark Definitions

listings Soundmark listings

Sources Sources

Sources Online Databases

Nice Classifications Trademark Classes

Nice Classifications Volunteer to Collect

I have issued a call for volunteer to collect internationally, samples of the sounds listed bellow as patented or trademarked. The collection will be facilitated by me sending you the volunteer a test tube with label, cork and wax seal - the volunteer will be asked to collect the sound by placing the test tube close to the source (thereby capturing air through which the sound traveled) and then complete the label, documenting the time, place and nature of the sound (including a volume level).

These test tubes will be collected and displayed in chemistry racks in the gallery, illustrating the frequency and diversity of the environment into which these 'private', protected sounds have been released. The means of exhibition plays with the scientific requirements of the patent application, the scientific method for analysis and quantification, and the farce of collecting a sound in a test tube even though the label on the sample does document the presence of the sound and it's locale in the world.

4 large glass vacuum desiccators, containing a loud speaker and solar powered audio playback - Patented sounds will be played into these vessels, in theory breaking the legal protection of the patent, but being inaudible due to the vacuum, questioning the conditions under which the patent has validity.

A third stage of this project is the creation of a grave yard for 'dead' sounds, raising aural awareness in line with the other sections of the work of the ever changing nature of our sonic environment.


Lists of the Soundmarks registered in Australia and the USA are here


 Supported by the Victoria Government through Arts Victoria - Department of premier and Cabinet

Updated April 2004
garth paine