You heard it hear first. For those of you who just joined us, Mono Touch is a simple clone of the Ableton Live template from Lemur, though without the Lemur’s multi-touch capability, hardware, physics, customizability, and essentially everything other than the look of the interface. My criticism of this effort — which gave no credit to the Lemur and charged money for the results — divided readers here on CDM. But evidently feedback from me and others got the attention of the creator, because he’s now removing the price tag and making the software free.

You can read DJ Grobe’s comments on the original story. Basically, he says he didn’t originally intend to make money off of it and has removed the price. He then goes on to make a very strange argument, that his interface is closer to Tetris than Lemur. That’s just silly; as others have pointed out the button-for-button layout of the Lemur template, down to the color of individual buttons, was translated into his design. You can see for yourself, side by side. But I am happy that he’s making this free.

Some readers responded negatively to my criticisms, I think because in some cases, intellectual property arguments have been applied unfairly, and that stops forward progress on ideas. But leave the legal arguments aside for a moment. If you pass off someone else’s work as your own, the word is plagiarism. It’s actually pretty cool that someone would create their own clone of something they can’t afford, but the intent changes when you sell the results online. That’s why I’m pleased to see that the creator is doing the right thing and removing the fee. I don’t agree that this looks like Tetris, though. That would actually be cool — a Tetris / Ableton Live mash-up. (Or, more likely, Breakout + Live.) But that’s the thing about copies: they only become original if there’s some unique twist.

I think we can all agree that the best step next would be for people to try their own designs, to do something different. I’m not all that crazy about the Lemur’s Live template; I hope someone does better. (And in this case, so do the makers of the Lemur, as the whole point of the interface was encouraging custom layouts.)

We’ve covered lots of DIY control surfaces here on CDM, and what’s exciting to me about them is that they’re all different — different from commercial products, and different from each other. Hardware and software alike are spawning new variety. So, I’ll be rooting for that side.

  • hello.

    I find your politics about this issue very strange. DJ Grobe is a bad guy because he ripped off Lemur's UI and charged $39 for it? But now he's a good guy because the software is free, even though it has the same ripped off UI?

    The argument for IP protection is usually that the innovator is harmed through loss of sales, because people are using a rip off instead of the real thing. But in this case,now even more people are likely to get the ripoff, because it doesn't cost anything…

  • The functionality of the Lemur is obvious and overpriced. It is not a novelty. As such the only thing that one can make a fuss about is the color shading, fader and knob layout? Yes, the monotouchlive is a rip off of the Lemur design. But I feel there are no grounds for a fuss here. We all have all seen the extensions to make a pc interface more like a mac. yes, rip off after rip off but it is part of the industry. And in this case, with the Lemur, it makes me happy to see someone turn something so expensive into something redundant.

    If Ableton were clever they would integrate monotonelive it into the next version. in the meantime I hope monotonelive adds a DONATE button to the site.

  • velocipede

    Lemur, know thy demand. Sloth, be the not!

  • groffhibbitz

    well I for one was mostly bothered that DJ Grobe refused to admit that his design was like the lemur's.

  • No, I'm not saying making it free makes it okay — but at least it's not quite *as bad*. Anyway, I seriously doubt that someone will get this in place of the Lemur, because 98% of the functionality of the Lemur is missing. I've been critical of certain aspects of the Lemur, and don't feel a need to own one myself, but that doesn't change the reality that this isn't a Lemur. That said, if you're ripping off a specific template, button for button, from Lemur, you ought to at least be able to admit it.

  • I think of this more along the lines of mashup albums. If "Dean Grey" tried to sell American Edit on their site or in stores they'd be a bit of a tool, if they tried to sell it and claimed that it was all their own original material they'd be utter tosswinkles, but because they just released it for free on the internets they are cultural visionaries and highly eligible young gents.

    No Green Day fan is going to download American Edit and decide "Well, I've heard this, so I don't need to buy American Idiot anymore".

  • mike

    The most ridiculous part of this whole thing is that the guy STILL won't admit he stole the design. Come on…

  • J Larsen
  • Lee Ching

    After read other article, i ivestigate a little:

    "it’s pretty obvious the creator of the Mono Touch software just worked on cloning the exact layout of the Ableton Live template on the Lemur"

    Not real, the layout showed in the picture, its riped from this monotouchlive pictures, and created on the lemur,……. from some bad guy!?….

    This file have all templates provided by jazzmutant, included live.

    Just download jazzeditor, open the ableton template provided by jazzmutant, and you can see the layout no have any relation to monotouchlive.

    More here:….

    Who rip who? : )

    That lemur picture its sended from some bad guy 🙂

    Here can see video with lemur and guys from jazzmutant runing another ableton template:


    Its very funny to see , how somebody rip the monotouchlive, create on lemur, and send this picture……..

  • Lee Ching

    Some guys not understand the layout showed on the lemur picture, its created, based on the monotouchlive layout…….. from user of lemur called axou.



    that is a complete and total copy of the lemur interface. They even copied the buttong a slider colors ans specific placement on the screen from the free ableton lemur template from their website.

    My final words about this article:

    This comparative really sucks and its malintentioned.

  • Danko Krashna

    kirn bugger.

  • Danko Krashna

    Sarmientos said: “The ideas are not killed”, “are copied”

  • spanky

    Ok so is that all his thing can do

    cause th lemur can make and shape I thought

    so no matter what kinda layout you make on a touch interface the lemur can reproduce it

  • spanky

    any* not and shape

  • Bruxxy

    I rarely post responses to articles. Every now and then you lot will get into arguments so annoying that I'm compelled to respond…

    The tool offered to us here is, despite still being in it's early stages, invaluable to a lot of us who use Live. Even if you have tens of thousands of dollars worth of kit in you studio or live rig, as I do, it's hard to justify spending the cash asked for with a Lemur. It's a computer. A computer! Frankly Jazzmutant should have come up with this alternative themselves, as it was a matter of time before touch screens were made more affordable, deeming their fun little toy obsolete. Someone's beaten them to it, and good for him.

    From a developer's standpoint, it's rather obvious that his UI was inspired by the one utilised in the Lemur. Surprised? Jazzmutant probably invested large sums of money into developing the most streamlined and efficient UI required for the application. So why not imitate it?

    Now let's say one does imitate the Lemur's UI. Is it really smart to admit that you've just copied said UI, and not only face the forced cessation of your rather benevolent attempt to make a similar system more accessible, but also hasten the legal repercussions that are no doubt inevitable.

    Fact, the MonotouchLive was inspired by the Lemur.

    Fact, the MonotouchLive imitates, but does not necessarily copy the Lemur.

    Fact, your need to nitpick and scour through others' projects and exercise little forethought, resulting in hasty criticism, and in turn careless tact in doing so, will end in the termination of this project. Then after waiting another year, having it release by Jazzmutant at a price-point much higher than free. Let's hope that Grobe at least gets paid for his ingenuity.

    Well done.

  • sid

    DJ-Grobe..U are a what the worlds need!!!!!The other people in here,screaming "He´s taken it from Lemur"dn´t know anything about science and scientist can make invitations!They are stupid folks,that says"the world ist not round,its a plate"

    I and many,many people hope,you stil work on this great software!!!