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> My Ideas On The Whole Thing..
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CS_TBL
post Sep 2 2008, 01:23 PM
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Hi, I just signed up to contribute some of my views on the matter.. smile.gif

First some background: Years ago I spent a bit of my time working for a software company as well, not 100% music-related (the graphics business actually), but of course there were similar issues and discussions going on. Furthermore I'm having my own company related to music for film, tv etc. regular media composer so to say. In addition to that I'm studying journalism (Bachelor degree) at the moment. Anyway, all minor snippets, let's head to my points:

In a way the whole software/crack debate is similar if not identical to debates regarding unofficial downloads of music and movies, but also speeding on the highway and violence in today's society. The official ones who have a word to say typically blame the simplest and easiest target, usually remaining silent about other factors.

To make a run through the list I just made:

music & movies
easy target: downloading/copying and related products (remember the release of the first-ever MP3 player?)
ignored: many people are like hamsters, they just download whatever they can get, even if they never listen or watch whatever they've downloaded. In many cases what they've downloaded ends up on a backup DVD, ending up in CD wallet, and it's probably never being looked upon again. You could say that the product is never used, it can't really be called a sales loss then, no? (After all the title of this website end on the word USE, which probably indicates that a DVD full of unused warez isn't subject of debate here)
ignored:Real fans buy the real thing, because they simply want the real thing, with booklet etc. Those who download are probably far from interested in a specific artist or movie anyway. As is often said in the media: 1 downloaded or copied movie or CD isn't the same as 1 sales loss.
ignored: Many people feel the quality of releases is going downhill, a result of formula-music made by greedy publishers and producers for a small niche audience, which -ironically- perfectly knows how internet works and usually have no money to buy things in the first place.
ignored: Many people don't like greedy publishers and producers, knowing they usually get the lion's share of sales while the actual artist could be close to starving. People are far more likely to support those artists by visiting concerts or buying independent releases.
ignored: Lack of money. One can spend a dollar only once. If a person has $20 a year to spend on CDs, then the person can buy exactly 1 full-price CD. Anything else the person downloads can't be regarded as a sales loss. Especially when an economy is shrinking (or when that person is suddenly unemployed), luxury articles like CDs and DVDs are the first ones to go. Naturally the music industry says: "if you can't buy it, then also don't download it", but what difference would it make to their income? None! 'Buy it later when you have more money" -> 'Later' there is already another CD or DVD you'd want to buy, it's not like you suddenly order the whole back catalog when you have money again.

speeding
easy target: speed
ignored: speed often is not a factor in the cause of an accident; alcohol, wrong moves, plain stupidity, drugs and testosterone are. The argument that a high speed makes the crash more fatal may be true, but then again, if you're allowed 35Mph and you hit a tree with that speed, then the accident would've been even less fatal when you'd been driving 10Mph. Shall we walk instead?
ignored: the traffic situation is often such that a slightly higher speed is really no problem, in many cases the speed limits completely don't fit the environment. And as people prefer to drive according to the environment, they legally drive too fast.. but whose fault is it that the environment doesn't match the speed limits? Probably the ones who made the rules who probably are the same ones gaining from those silly fines.

violence
easy target: TV, film, games as they show violence, either fiction or reality (news) and the audience is taking this for reality. As a result the TV/film/game industry usually gets the beating when some idiot shoots away random people after having played a violent videogame.
ignored: the person in question was simply an idiot. Period.
ignored: countless people can watch violence on TV or in film/games but remain to be as normal as you and me.
ignored: Sloppy schools and sloppy parents didn't teach their children the difference between fiction and reality.


Well then, so far a bit off topic perhaps, although some elements of the CD/DVD examples have a lot in common with the software market. A few specific thoughts on this whole software thing:

First, we should divide software into big and small. Big would be software like sequencers, small would be software like VST instruments. Big or small here being based on the amount of functionality.

Problems with big software:
- it contains a thousand features, people usually only use 10 features. However you pay for a thousand. Because the product is offered with a thousand features, the company will set a price based on these thousand features. For people who are only interested in 10 features, the price of such software is truly out of proportions. A solution can be to split-up software into parts and sell individual parts. Problem may be that a company isn't able to see how their software can be split-up. For instance: I compose my music with a VSTi (read: the notes and events are stored inside the VSTi itself), I don't compose with the usual native arranger section, score editor, piano roll, event list and whatnot, so I don't wish to pay for those sections. But do I have a choice?
- big software is very sensible to sooner or later include bloated code. After so many versions, the stupidity or sloppiness of the coders will implicate a complete rewrite of the software. This means new R&D, new programming time, and thus new costs, which the customer is going to pay. The customer is in this case paying for the sloppiness of coders who did a bad job on earlier versions. Question is however who should be rightfully paying for the development risk: the customer or the company itself? After all the company made a mess out of it, if they'd set up their code decently they'd only need to add or fix components, instead of rewriting the core from scratch.
- the price of big software is often not very compatible with the budget of amateurs (let alone the budget of young people) or even starting companies. I can tell you this: the production-music market is a sinking ship at this very moment, being close to modern slavery. Whether someone is a company or not, I can fully understand them not having the means to buy everything they're using even if they wish to! Do note, that I think the big production companies who make many ten-thousands a year should buy their software. The statistics about the soundcards are all nice, but face it: you're including 13 year-olds with no money who are producing simple dance loops for fun. How can you regard a loss of sale to such a person as a serious matter? It's totally obfuscating the statistics.

Problems with small software, in this case I'll limit myself to VST instruments:
- it's simply not all good and blitz, and a lot of those instruments are identical to other instruments. Why bother buying 10 instruments all with the same sawtooth and filter?
- I've seen tons of software with a disastrous interface and a feature set which is simply 'too much'. I see hundreds of musicians on forums who state they like the simpleness of a Juno 106 over something extremely complex. In addition to that, part of the audience is shifting towards acoustic instruments, so when all these silly synths with their extreme flexibility and modularity and their slick vintage interfaces are only capable of producing silly tones, beeps and burps, then I can imagine them being less popular than the creators would like to be. As a result, they'll sell less. This argument is actually more related to the vintagesynth-bubble than to copying/downloading, I dunno about you, but I think this bubble is either splashing apart or has already done so.

How about theses points to think about regarding software in general (and it actually applies to all kinds of software) :

Copying and downloading is seen as the major problem in (music-)software sales, but I could mention four other aspects which are equally -if not more- problematic.

- freeware and opensource software. Companies like Steinberg may regard themself as the big leading yahoos of the industry, but just wait until a bedroom programmer apes Cubase and gives it away for free or otherwise for something as ridiculous as $30. Open Office does the same for Microsoft's Office. Mozilla does the same for browsers, ftp tools, email clients, newsreaders etc. Do Sybelius and Finale have a problem with this? Well, they do, at least towards Lilypond (www.lilypond.org) which claims to be of a better quality anyway. And face it, this is just the beginning. Things are going so fast that I can't even imagine where we are in 10 years from now. I actually believe that in 10 years (or sooner!) there really *are* freeware or opensource alternatives for big-name software packages. Why would a bedroom programmer spend his time on something as big as Cubase and give it away for free? I could mention three possible reasons: 1) The person may do it out of hobby, already having a totally different job. This means he doesn't require money from his programming efforts to stay alive, giving it away for free means he doesn't need a company and thus doesn't have costs. 2) He does it for fame and honor and feels software should be free anyway (this is often seen in the Linux culture). 3) He applies a different business model than conventional companies. The software he makes is free, instead the supportive website is full with banners and google-ads. If he has free quality-software then he can expect a large vivid community, which is good for advertisement income. Frequently it's being said that conventional companies work according to outdated business models and blame the audience when that business model doesn't work anymore. The reality if of course that anno 2008 the audience is one step ahead of traditional companies, the companies need to adapt to that audience or otherwise pack their bags.

- Another problem for software is the software itself. Face it, you don't need the latest of the latest. An Office Word from 1997 can be just as effective as the very latest Office version. Especially in these days of instrument plug-ins, the core functionality of sequencers doesn't really need to grow (much). And sure, the latest software will look more shiny or glassy, may have a better skin or a slightly different interface, but the mentioned '10 functions out of 1000' rule still applies. Would people consider it worthy to spend their money on the same product again when only so many functions are different or added -but it does look all glassy now, whohey!-.

- How about free modular synthesizers? When something is truly modular then you can create about any possible synths imaginable. You only need a few people who make such things for fun and spread them for free, and there goes the market.

- I'm a little bit in doubt about what to say about sampling libraries of acoustic instruments. I've the slight feeling that in 10 years from now physical modeling has advanced so well that we don't need the current acoustic sample libs anymore. Even if I have to spend my whole CPU on 1 outstandingly realistic violin, I'd gladly do so, 14 times, and thus create/layer my own low-CPU sample-based ensemble library of violins, with all the velocity layers, note-to-note transitions, articulations etc. And if not for me, then some geeky community will arise doing so.

What the industry fails to realize is the sheer power the "little people" have these days thanks to the internet. A community of developers can be more effective than a company. A community can break a company apart, not because of warez, but because of free alternatives! And maybe they won't yet reach the older people in today's society, they will certainly reach the younger people who naturally have the future. The big music publishers with their combined billions of money haven't succeeded in fighting the downloaders so far. The only thing they managed to do is create even more angry reactions from the audience when some granny was prosecuted because her grandchild downloaded some into a shared directory. They tried to keep their monopoly on producing and publishing albums, however the internet with its easy means of distribution and close contacts with their fanbase is quite a bit spoiling the business model of these classic institutes. It's not much different for software, I rather support a free product in which I have a reasonable word to say by means of a good relationship with the programmer (feature requests, bug reports etc.) than some payed product with a lousy forum where the admins don't react and feature requests probably go unread and unimplemented.

This is a global thing, by the way. The traditional payed software vs the free alternatives is comparable with traditional expensive labor vs outsourcing to India: work goes from expensive societies to people in developing countries. There are countless more little people than that there are monolithic companies. In nature an elephant flees from an army of ants.

So, what choice do they have other than giving the easy answer? "it's all due the internet and warez" They have no other alternative answer, they're loosing their traditional influence because they *are* traditional. The days of the old traditions have gone, and that's really the summary of this whole -slightly large- post.. smile.gif


So, ok, I'm now waiting on your beating with the stick.. biggrin.gif I'd appreciate it if you'd spend some time in the separate issues I've mentioned (rather than a "we don't agree" ), I did spend some time on this myself, as you can see!
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Chris Martins
post Oct 2 2008, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE
but just wait until a bedroom programmer apes Cubase and gives it away for free or otherwise for something as ridiculous as $30


www.reaper.fm

Works every bit as good as cubase ( better in my opinion ), and costs 50$...
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DontCrack
post Oct 8 2008, 01:50 PM
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Hi CS-TBL,

Your post sure must have taken some time to write. blink.gif

All I can say here is thanks for your contribution and the detailed point of view (good food for the mind)... Yes some people do download all day long and never use the software they downloaded. Yes some editors are only in it for the money and launch expensive updates that doesn't always meet the users demand and yes some VST freeware can match "some" commercial products...

Yes lobbies in the film, music or software industry blame the smalls for their loss of sales while not admitting the terrible management they inflicted to their own market and not looking ahead the dramatic changes the internet brought up...

But as an active partner of the IMSTA organization, I really do think it is important to educate people and particularly the young generation about the ravages caused by the abusive use of illegal software. Stealing is stealing even if it is done virtualy...

From what I see on the very specialized audio market, yes piracy is a real problem. Programmers spend a lot (to much) time and money protecting their software. That doesn't make their products better and it make their customers angry when they encounter issues due to the protection tools. From what I see here at DontCrac[k], 80% of the customer support is related to the authorization process... On the other hand, when they don't protect their software, they loose a lot of money or they simply go out of business.

Concerning the quality of audio software, I don't think we can limit this conversation to small VSTi synths. Project and pro studios do use high quality plugins and effects that can't be found in our freeware section. Some users do try to find cracked audio software if that can save them a few hundred bucks and that is where the robbery starts... Our partners at Nomad Factory, Wavearts, Sonalksis, PSP, etc, all do see their products used by people that could have purchased them but preferred to save their money. That is direct losses of income for these small companies that work hard to create amazing plugins that are not designed for the mass market...

But once again, I do agree with many things you said and I invite all protagonists to bring their contribution, ideas, or what ever experience they might want to mention to this constructive conversation.

All the best - Eric


QUOTE (Chris Martins @ Oct 2 2008, 06:06 PM) *
www.reaper.fm

Works every bit as good as cubase ( better in my opinion ), and costs 50$...


Hi Chris,

You sure didn't bring much to this conversation and I don't think this is the right place to promote your or other devs products. wink.gif

Please edit your post with something in topic.

Thanks - Eric


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CS_TBL
post Oct 8 2008, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE (DontCrack @ Oct 8 2008, 02:50 PM) *
But as an active partner of the IMSTA organization, I really do think it is important to educate people and particularly the young generation about the ravages caused by the abusive use of illegal software. Stealing is stealing even if it is done virtualy...


Sure, but that's besides the point anyway. My point of view is that if you use software really regulary, almost like daily, and you can easily afford it, then buy it. With 'easily afford it' I mean that it shouldn't make you go broke. If you have 1000 euros in your pocket for everything, including living, then buying software worth 1000 euro is economically not a healthy thing to do. What imho shouldn't be done however is telling young people that everything is worth money just because their creators say so. Because this is really the problem here: the big companies lack self reflection and think they should simply be payed just 'cause. What people should be taught is: "quality is worth money, crap is worth nothing". The first teaches people to buy stuff, the latter teaches companies to cut the endless crap and adjust their business model or stop their business whatsoever. This is actually simply the economy in which we're living. Supply & Demand.

QUOTE
On the other hand, when they don't protect their software, they loose a lot of money or they simply go out of business.


Would that imply that protected software doesn't loose money? You can start up any p2p tool, search for the relevant software and you will find cracks, cracked versions and serials. Conclusion: copy protection doesn't work, it has never worked in the past, and it will never work in the future. (**) It will probably go 100% against the thinking pattern of those companies, but leaving out any copy protection won't make a sales difference I think. At best the performance may increase when run-time checks are being left out. Do the people at Steinberg actually realize that warez-people are simply laughing at them about their dongle?

** I'm not sure what to believe about DRM in hardware, like mainboards that prevent cracks to technically run. I don't think this is relevant today, not sure about the future though, especially since a certain amount of future will be opensource/free.

QUOTE
Our partners at Nomad Factory, Wavearts, Sonalksis, PSP, etc, all do see their products used by people that could have purchased them but preferred to save their money. That is direct losses of income for these small companies that work hard to create amazing plugins that are not designed for the mass market...


I hadn't heard of these companies and their products yet, note however that I'm not keeping up with these things anyway. Anyway, after a quick glance on their websites, most of the products I see there are things like equalizers, compressors, reverbs and such.
1) How do these companies know people are illegally using these products? I for one may be able to identify a certain reasonably isolated instrumental sample in a piece of music, but I certainly wouldn't be able to identify the result of an EQ, compressor, reverb etc. in a piece of music.
2) If you ask me, the market is drowning in EQ's, compressors, reverbs and such. It's certainly not something that appeals to me (and many others for that matter), compared to the already available (some even for free!) basic DSP effects which are good enough for me. I wonder whether these companies know they're actually partly trying to sell sand to Egyptians, no matter the quality of it (which I'm sure is very good).

Have a go at these links:

Epic's ideas about piracy: http://www.totalvideogames.com/articles/Ge...ki_QA_13820.htm

Stardock's ideas about piracy: http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming

Which one do you agree on?

This post has been edited by CS_TBL: Oct 8 2008, 05:49 PM
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DontCrack
post Oct 8 2008, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE
QUOTE(DontCrack @ Oct 8 2008, 02:50 PM)

But as an active partner of the IMSTA organization, I really do think it is important to educate people and particularly the young generation about the ravages caused by the abusive use of illegal software. Stealing is stealing even if it is done virtualy...

Sure, but that's besides the point anyway. My point of view is that if you use software really regulary, almost like daily, and you can easily afford it, then buy it. With 'easily afford it' I mean that it shouldn't make you go broke. If you have 1000 euros in your pocket for everything, including living, then buying software worth 1000 euro is economically not a healthy thing to do.


Well yeah, so if I'm broke I can steal a pair of Nike shoes instead of buying the Wall Mart model at $10? That sure is economically preferable wink.gif Once again, I am mainly focusing on users that can afford plugins but prefer to save money to buy other goods that are not easy to rip off and that is not fare to people that work hard to create great virtual tools...

QUOTE
What imho shouldn't be done however is telling young people that everything is worth money just because their creators say so. Because this is really the problem here: the big companies lack self reflection and think they should simply be payed just 'cause.


That's just the world we live in. Parents and teachers in school should learn children the science of "criticism" but that's an other story. We could here enter a huge sociology debate. What is a price?

QUOTE
Would that imply that protected software doesn't loose money? You can start up any p2p tool, search for the relevant software and you will find cracks, cracked versions and serials. Conclusion: copy protection doesn't work, it has never worked in the past, and it will never work in the future.


That is perhaps true on the PC but not on the Mac platform. Most professional products protected via ilok can't be found on P2P sites...

QUOTE
How do these companies know people are illegally using these products? I for one may be able to identify a certain reasonably isolated instrumental sample in a piece of music, but I certainly wouldn't be able to identify the result of an EQ, compressor, reverb etc. in a piece of music.


That's because we are in a micro market and the relation with end users is very close. Just go to your friends studio or worst, a "commercial" studio in your home town and you might just find too many cracked plugins in their computers, though they make a living out of using them wink.gif

QUOTE
If you ask me, the market is drowning in EQ's, compressors, reverbs and such. It's certainly not something that appeals to me (and many others for that matter), compared to the already available (some even for free!) basic DSP effects which are good enough for me. I wonder whether these companies know they're actually partly trying to sell sand to Egyptians, no matter the quality of it (which I'm sure is very good).


If freeware are good enough for your needs, that's great and we host most of them on our site for that matter but I don't think freeware can compete with hi end products when it comes to delivering a decent mix.

I like your ideas but think you bring things to your personal case only. We support audio devs as we strongly believe their work is worth the usually reasonable price their products are sold at.

QUOTE
Have a go at these links:

Epic's ideas about piracy: http://www.totalvideogames.com/articles/Ge...ki_QA_13820.htm
Stardock's ideas about piracy: http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming


Both have very interesting point of view but here we're speaking of mass market products which have nothing to do with the relatively small quantities of products audio developers can expect to sell...

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate your point of views even though I don't support all of them. Isn't that what we call "democracy" laugh.gif

I'd love to hear what others have to say...

All the best - Eric


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chalanti
post Oct 22 2008, 10:23 PM
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Nice conversation! Here my opinions to it:

1. I hate paying for a program that i can't try out.
In a world with so much to choose from i find it essential to be able to see what you're getting. I mean, who wants to order a super expensive Armani dress when you see it only on a photo and you don't know how it fits your body shape? And maybe it's perfect for a model (read super producer, mastering engineer, graphics designer) but not for you. Or maybe not for your computer. I have so many times payed for software just to find out it was messing with my system, with other software or my phone or was slowing everything ridiculously down, so that i just deinstalled it again!

2. Where do you start
when you have to spend all your money on software everybody has cracked and you want to be able to compete? Of course in times of recession you focus only on the substantial expenses, but in order to be competitive you have to be able to present this blabla effect even if you would never ever make use of it if it was for your own personal taste.

3. I love paying for software
which does my job and helps me on my everyday work. Focussing on "everyday" here. Software that is cool, easy, not too complicated and makes my life easier. You can download tons of software, which is just getting dust on some drive because it just doesn't make your day. People often download for the sake of downloading, just to say they have it. By the time they get to use it, it's already dated, or better software does the job faster and nicer or they just forgot what the software was about. And would actually never ever pay for those programs. Plus there is so much software that you would only use once a year max and you definitely don't make money with it.

4. When i was living in Germany i could go to a record shop and listen to the cd's i was interested in for as long as i wanted. Moving from Germany to a country where pre-listening is not an option at all at record stores. Guess where i bought most of my cd's....

5. Owning something makes it special.
Supporting your favorite artist makes you feel special.
Supporting your favorite software makes you feel special.
You feel like appreciating the creators for their work and their time, but I can't be supportive of something that's not for me, that's not enriching my life in any way. How will i find out , if i can't try out??

6. Software that gives me the option to fully try it before i decide to buy is working for me. It gives me the feeling that the developer values my opinion and doesn't see me as money income only.

7. Maybe i could make a proposal for the cracking-protecting conversation:

- What if all software was unprotected so developers can focus on the program and not on the protection?
Wouldn't all programs be lighter and faster and more stable?

- What if all software was fully functional, too, so that users can try it out freely or let's say for a max number of tries (not days, coz that never really helps, you won't be trying out constantly)?
Wouldn't more people try out software out of interest and wouldn't more people consider buying it because they see it works for them? People who work with cracked software mostly don't have the money to buy it now, but still it makes them potential buyers, if you like it or not!

- What if all users that actually buy the software would then not get a stupid serial number, but all future upgrades (and major ones with a little extra fee) and extra software functions that maybe only of use for a professional? Or even a reduced price offer for bundled software packets from other developers?
Wouldn't that ensure that the pros get actually the super extra features that would anyways be used only by them?

- What if all software and plug-ins would be much much cheaper?
Wouldn't more people be willing to buy it than get into hassle with crack codes and unstable cracked software? Wouldn't the ones who buy it actually not feel so ripped off comparing to now? I know that some plug-ins are for super pro use and there is a lot of development time spent behind them, but honestly...how much money do you make nowadays out of music production? And if my sequencer that i use everyday costs 800 bucks, why does a plug-in that i will use rarely cost 500?

- What if anyone can download your music for free?
Wouldn't more people get to know you and love your music. Wouldn't then more people come to concerts and support you by buying t-shirts off your site or just visiting it or donating for your music? Wouldn't this fan base be much more honest and loyal than the one of the hyped major label crap, where they forget about you by next year?


I mean it feels nice if people are appreciating YOUR work, but it doesn't mean that you never work for free. I have worked for free so many other times i just can't count. Should i charge now everybody?
With every work i do for others i get richer myself in experience, so i'm just like a software program: When i'm experienced enough and what i do is actually helping and enriching others, yes, then i can start to charge from the ones that actually NEED this very experience and GLADLY PAY for it.
People who like me (being able to buy me or not) will support me by telling others and i will have more potential 'fans/buyers'. Others who will 'use me for free' will not get my best part and so miss out for themselves. If i'm not helping at all or make the things more difficult than they should be, no, then i'm not ready to be part of people's life. Software or artist or whatever else.

Thanx for reading.
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Mud
post Dec 16 2008, 12:24 AM
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QUOTE ("DontCrack")
"That is perhaps true on the PC but not on the Mac platform. Most professional products protected via ilok can't be found on P2P sites..."


That's a function of market share, the same reason Macs have fewer viruses. Crackers go for the big audiences. On the PC, virtually all major software is cracked.

However, this is a moot. We're discussing pirated software, which by definition is already cracked.

The bottom line is that pirates never see copy protection schemes. They hear the horror stories of paying customers, but it doesn't affect them. Their version doesn't require a watchdog system service, a physical disk, a hardware dongle, etc. -- it just works.

By ensuring that pirates get a better experience than paying customers, copy protection schemes encourage piracy. It's madness.

This is very similar to when the record company dinosaurs spent millions fighting a futile battle to stop people from downloading MP3s, rather than trying to make legitimate purchases more desirable (like iTunes). There's a valuable lesson there. Given that you cannot stop piracy, you need to figure out how to make legitimate purchase the more desirable option. In this respect, copy protection is actually counter productive.

One way to do this is with after-market services. For instance, if you make an effort to foster a high quality online community for your product, which is only accessible to registered customers, this offers a strong incentive to pay. Things like great customer support or access to forums which contain tips, scripts, downloadable extras, etc. can encourage people to pay.

One other thing that's often not discuss in these piracy discussions: piracy can actually help the major vendors, at the expense of the little guys. For instance, when a student/hobbyist uses a pirated copy of Photoshop rather than buying a more affordable alternative, they hurt Adobe's competition and help perpetuate Photoshop as a de facto standard. Really, it's the vendors of the low cost alternatives who are hurt the worst by piracy.
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Nakama
post Jan 31 2009, 02:16 AM
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I find this debate to be rather interesting. In the end I am forced to side with CS TBL and Mud. Let us look at this realistically. If said product is 700 dollars, and little Johnny's across the world are pirating it left and right, it would stand to reason that if its price were a mere 50 dollars a pop that, on top of everyone under the sun owning it, they would make a hell of a lot more money than what is made from thier "niche" market. If you take into consideration that, as said earlier, most of this music isn't being made for commercial purposes you get an awful lot of windfall sales. Also the business model is most definately outdated. In fact the only company that I can think of that is rather realistic is Image-Line. You buy the core program once and are heretofore able to receive lifetime updates. If you want to buy all of the bells and whistles they are are their for you to purchase. This is how it should be as opposed to shelling out half of the cost of an overpriced software for an upgrade which is nothing more than new skins (they have whole communities dedicated to this type of freeware) and bugfixes from the previous versions. As for Don't Crack...your opinion is coming from a staked out position but its premise is false. We can use that Nike analogy of yours. When I was a kid (I am 31 now) and Nike Jordan's hit the street kids were getting hit over the head for a pair of 150 dollar shoes. Did Nike reduce the price? NO! That would have been too much like right, but, just this December past they reissued those and a few of the other Jordans for, you guessed it, the same price. Were there any upgrades? NO! It was the same shoe except they have a few new colors. This is nothing more than the rules of scarcity at work. And just like you said the freeware does not do what the Proware does. So when someone wants you to make a track for him and he wants "that effect that Lil' Wayne used" what is person to do. I get what you have to stand for but your buddies charge too much. This is why they make no money. It is not accessible and therefore a viable target.
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D46J0l72
post Feb 12 2010, 05:28 AM
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I'd like to share my personal story, which I KNOW is shared amongst many.

For a few years, starting out diving into my world of music production, I pirated software.
What was I to do? I had no experience in the business. Free software was difficult, if not impossible, for a relative newcomer to use effectively. Professional software is much more 'invested' into things such as usability. Reason happened to be a GREAT starting point. What was the cost? $400. It wasn't worth it to someone who was just beginning to grasp the concept of a Synthesizer. None of the companies seemed to have any free introductory products, there was little alternative other than to pirate. I, even now, often encourage newcomers to music production to pirate a good piece of software.

Later on, I did progress to using free software such as Buzz, various other free trackers, and the odd non-tracker freeware software. Now that I was able to grasp many of the concepts, I was able to employ the features. I quickly outgrew these products, desiring more professional capability.

At this point, I considered it a worthwhile investment to look into the cheapest software capable of professional results out there. As far as I know, there were about two options - FL and Renoise. Both offered fairly usable demos. Renoise seemed about perfect for me, and I purchased it. At $60, it surely is worth the value. The ~$100 FL was a viable alternative, but didn't suit my preferences.

I've been using Renoise up to this point, and am considering upgrading to an even more 'professional capable' product. I am again hitting a Value vs. Worth wall. Many products are beyond my price range, and as a hobbyist it just isn't worth it for me to shell out $500 for a capable product suiting my needs. I've discovered the model that the producers of Reaper use - a cheap price for the hobbyist and a full price for those wishing to make money off of their music. I'd be more than happy to purchase a full-featured Ableton Live at a reduced price for non-commercial use, and once I do get to the point of selling my work, to purchase/upgrade to a commercial version. Ableton's 'Lite' version fails to offer what I need at a reasonable price for what I wish to do.

I know MANY artists who have gone through the same path.

A few suggestions to reduce pirating:

Introduce Pro-quality products to the Hobbyist.

Why should a hobbyist not be able to create wonderful, unlimited pieces of art? Hobbyists are constrained much more of a budget than a pro - who can at least make some returns in sales of their own product. Again, this is where Reaper's model comes in. Make a like product for Commercial use vs. Private/Hobby use. Many hobbyists would be more enticed to buy a $100 dollar version of the same features than to downright pirate. No "light" versions. They don't offer what we need (Ableton Lite offers only up to 8 instruments! I can't work with that!). With this model, they may even be able to increase the "commercial version" price. I wouldn't mind spending $800 on Live if I was making money off of it. It's not just pros working in full studios who have the money using your products anymore, industry. The day-to-day Average Joe is interested in this field now, too.

Introduce Entry-Level products

Hell, you can even educate them via software. Sony has done this, with Acid Express software (One of the first pieces of software I used). It should either be Free or at a very low price. It can even work to act as a promotion tool for their flagship/other products and create brand loyalty (I am considering buying Acid software to compliment my work in trackers). The newbie who wants to mess around doesn't need to pirate anymore because he can get what he wants to do reasonably. This is where you're going to be cutting features out - the newbie just simply doesn't need them.

Offer full featured demos

Most companies seem to get this right, but there's still a few out there who don't. What music store doesn't offer a demo synthesizer to allow you to play and check out it's capabilities before buying, to make sure it's right for you?

I've had more, but can't think of them right now. I'll add them later. smile.gif
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unionpro
post Feb 14 2010, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE (CS_TBL @ Oct 8 2008, 05:48 PM) *
telling young people that everything is worth money just because their creators say so.


hold it, cha-cha - - - something is worth only what people are willing to pay for it. Would you pay $10 to see your favorite band play live? How about $750? .....too much?
if it wasn't so expensive, companies would sell more of their product.

If you think it costs too much, stop buying it! The consumer controls the price point - NOT the retailer.
m2c
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Pupamems
post Mar 16 2010, 12:07 PM
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The thing is, you dont NEED a hot pickup to play heavy rock, with your amp you should be able to tune in great hard rock tones with any good-sounding pickup. So its more important to think about what tonal qualities you want, and what you wanna avoid. Do you want low-mid range chunk, do you want high-mid bite, do you want a strong punchy bass or a sparkly high end?
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d3drocks
post Mar 29 2010, 07:42 PM
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SOFTWARE COMPANIES NEED TO STOP TREATING THEIR CUSTOMERS LIKE PIRATES!

this is irritating as hell. if I buy some audio software, I do not want to be treated like shit, for paying my hard earned money. challenge and response bullshit, such as that created by ableton, IK Multimedia, Native Instruments, etc is NOT CUSTOMER FRIENDLY! it is so incredibly restrictive on what you can do, its discusting. I actually avoid these companies right now, because of their moronic solutions, and absolute lies that they are devoted to their customers (IK. musicians first... YEAH RIGHT!). you pay through the teeth for some software, to only be able to install it 2 or 3 times. un-fucking-fair. this is customer abuse people! sure, piracy may be wrong, but robbing your customers is just as bad! if your customers have paid for your software, cant you assume they are most likely not intending to abuse it? I buy all my software, because i think its only fair to the developers. when the developers stab me in the back, I get pissed. if you have paid for software, and the anti-piracy restrictions are causing you issues, I say install a crack. you did pay, afterall.

these companies wonder why there are so many cracked users... ITS ACTUALLY EASIER TO USE THE CRACKED VERSIONS THEN THE PAID VERSIONS FOR MOST SOFTWARE THESE DAYS.

the only DECENT copy protection I have seen to date is the ilok and syncrosoft dongle, and even these arent perfict. at least I can be trusted to install paid software when I want, and where I want in these situations.

I invite everyone to follow, and submit ideas to this great website: http://www.defectivebydesign.org/ , which covers Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). it is a great resource.
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3kale
post Apr 15 2010, 01:10 PM
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I agree on the most part, I'm happy that there is lots of freeware that are very good, especially softsynths. And I hope that in future I can use more free software. Not because I don't have money to buy, but because I have to google search and search companys webpages about what kind of authorization shit the software uses and what kind of problems people have with that, before I can even think of buying.

I'm still new in producing music with pc. Couple of months ago I bought Line 6 ux1 that comes with Podfarm software + 1 expansion for it, now I found out that I can't use the software without the ux1 connected to computer, or I would need iLok ( by the way, the webstore, nor the Line 6 ux1 page told me about this ). Its not a issue right now, because the ux1 is working as my soundcard. But when I need a soundcard with midi in, the problem will start.

I have 4 usb slots in back of computer: tv card, keyboard ( which uses 2 usb cords but 1 is disconnected ), mouse, soundcard. Front panel of pc has 2: usb hub and midi keyboard. I cant even plug in my external HD at the moment without disconnecting midi keyboard and hub. I can't plug any of my current devices to usb hub ( even though I've already compromised and connected game controller to it, it sometimes jams though). I want to buy Akais LPD 8 and Korgs nanokontrol, I've mailed akai asking if the LPD 8 can be connected to usb hub, so far without any response (1-2 weeks). Is that telling me that I can't connect it to hub? Lets assume I can do that and have LPD8 and nanokontrol in hub, in total I have 10 usb ports, and 9 in use, and software company wants me to buy some usb stick (30 euros) and put that to my last usb slot.

Other authorization method I've seen is some online checking, have to have open internet connection during use ( or saving ). That is a bit problematic also. People have ( especially in Finland ) more and more wireless internets. The area where I live has constant cable connection downtimes at winter, maybe because of -30 C degree isn't that rare around this area.

I've never had problems with legally purchased games, or pirated audio software. But I've had problems with pirated games and would have problems with legally purchased audio software. Good that I've learned my lessons from that line 6 device / software bundle.

Would it be ok to purchase audio software, put the un-opened box to closet and keep using cracked version?

I bet that the companies who make these amazing programs lose more money because of the way their products must be authorized than because of piratism. That shit is putting me off, someone who wants to buy the products he finds useful. Native Instruments, Ableton, I'm talking to you. I've had my eyes on Ableton live and Komplete 6. Your software has been cracked, yet, I haven't downloaded them, why?, because I know by googling that I wouldn' buy shit like that. I've been trying to look for alternative for Ableton live but don't seem to find, so I don't have other choice than to wait for something to come up.

http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/fo...splay.php?f=156

Thumbs up to cockos and Propellerhead with Reason. If Reason 5 uses some shit authorization, you can count it as 500 lost sales from me.

I will never use software with those authorization shits, everytime I want to buy software and notice it has this crap, you can count is as lost sales.
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ruslan.st
post May 13 2010, 07:18 AM
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QUOTE (3kale @ Apr 15 2010, 03:10 PM) *
Would it be ok to purchase audio software, put the un-opened box to closet and keep using cracked version?



Very good point. Cracked versions of Native Instruments stuff do not require weird activations and this spyware programming masterpiece like "Service Center" (it is better to call it "Police Center").
I am thinking to buy some NI products, but first what I am checking is not their official site, but variuos p2p resources for cracked version availability. Because after reading this

QUOTE (3kale @ Apr 15 2010, 03:10 PM) *


i know that only crackers can be my real "Service Center" in case of activation issues.
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d3drocks
post Aug 27 2010, 03:21 AM
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QUOTE (DontCrack @ Oct 8 2008, 01:50 PM) *
But as an active partner of the IMSTA organization, I really do think it is important to educate people and particularly the young generation about the ravages caused by the abusive use of illegal software. Stealing is stealing even if it is done virtualy...



software developers should stop making it easier to steal then to be honest and buy the software. as I see it, alot of companies use incredibly immoral Digital Restrictions Management that only hurt the end user, while pirates will ALWAYS find a way around it. no software can avoid being cracked. its only a matter of time. in that sense, treating your customers like pirates (as ableton sometimes does, adobe does all the time, as well as almost every other company that uses challenge and response systems [which are designed to screw over the end user]). I realise you and your team are out to help companies dealing with piracy. I'm all for that. if someone makes a product, they have the right to be able to sell it fairly(goes both ways).
the problem is that THEY arent using it fairly. here is a nice example:
ableton live lets you install a given amount of times. it does not check to see if the same hardware is used, and it has no deactivation system. now, I, and people like me, do a format on their machines once every few months. this is to ensure optimal performance. why should ableton have the right to punish me, by not allowing me to install the software I (would have. i boycottt their products and invite everyone else to) paid for? if for any reason I have to request the right to install software i paid my hard earned cash for, there is something incredibly wrong. this gives the company the ability to say "no, your a pirate", "no, you've used the software more then your fair share". this is incredibly immoral, and in fact does make the route of piracy much easier. other companies, such as IK multimedia expect you to shell out money, for more activations later on, though they have hardware based DRM, so it isnt quite as evil (but it is still immoral).

"musicians first" my ass.

in alot of cases, these companies charge extortionate amounts of money for bug fixes to broken and bloated software, that costed hundreds of dollars in the first place. how is this even remotely fair?
the whole current trend in audio software is to do as much harm to the end user, by squeezing them for every last penny, and then cancel their ability to use their hard earned programs. you cannot deny this.
people pirating software are just as bad as the companies implimenting systems to screw the end users... its just that the people pirating are considered criminals, and everyone going the fair and honest way is expected to put up with the restrictions imposed on them.

as is currently, I only buy products from steinberg, and Image-Line software. both of these companies have copy protection systems which can easily be deemed fair to the end user.
unfortunately, very few others are like them.


http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=116633 <-

This post has been edited by d3drocks: Aug 27 2010, 03:24 AM
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