is a independent organization pursuing “copyright enforcement” for pirated software, targeting studios with sting operations and lawsuits. Recently, I challenged them to demonstrate that they have other developers onboard aside from Waves Audio. That seems reasonable, given their website claims they have been contracted by “many of the biggest names in the industry” and that they’re the “leading rights advocate for the audio software and digital content industry.”

Ross Johnson of PR firm Strick and Company contacted me this week to say BanPiracy had responded to my challenge and, presumably, various criticisms these tactics have attracted. (Paris Hilton and Halliburton have turned to his firm, which is known for defending companies in crisis.) Ross writes:

“As a big fan of the lively discussions on your user forums relating to BanPiracy, I have encouraged my client to respond to your challenge recently posted.”

The response is titled “BanPiracy Says Thanks to the Brave Ones on Its Anniversary!” and was sent to various media outlets. Now, I’m likewise a fan of lively debate, so I want to thank Ross for encouraging BanPiracy to join the discussion.

But the answer to my challenge, evidently, is no, they can’t demonstrate that they have any other developers onboard. They even acknowledge that the fact that they’re a for-profit endeavor might “be a tough sell.” They manage to copy and paste supportive comments from a trade group and an anti-piracy manufacturer, but take those quotes out of context (including, bizarrely, a comment left here on CDM by one of our own contributors — he has a few, ahem, words for BanPiracy in comments now that they’ve distorted what he said).

Here’s the full response, penned by Tomer Elbaz and Michael T. David, COO and CEO respectively. I’ll say this: couched in epic battle terminology, it isn’t PR speak:

It’s been a year since BanPiracy, a company devoted to stopping piracy in the audio software industry, was formed. This is our report card to you, our cohorts in an industry that we love, but one that is also in serious trouble.

Has it been lonely walking the walk as one of the only groups willing to enforce copyright protection for our clients? Absolutely. Do we wish we had more support from audio software developers who are getting their software “cracked” and are afraid to stand up for their rights as businessmen? Most definitely. Are we going to stay the course in our battle with pirates who abuse international copyright protections? Bet on it!

This past year has been one of lessons learned. We learned to accept the harsh reality that the way our company was structured — as a for-profit LLC which gets its operating income from the collection of fees from those who are unjustly enriching themselves by using unauthorized software – might be a tough sell to manufacturers accustomed to looking the other way when their copyrights were violated. We learned that those who’ve come to depend on “cracked” software see their illegal activity as an unalienable right to exploit the efforts of talented professionals who labored to author that software.

And we’ve learned that there are brave people that will not be cowed by the noise of the rabble who want to take what’s not legally theirs.

It is a tribute to our industry that it supports such ethical publications as Pro Sound News and its European counterpart, Pro Sound News Europe. Both publications in mid-November published extensively-researched stories about our enforcement efforts. The writers of these stories were not afraid to take their shots at what they perceived as our shortcomings, but they bent over backwards to get both sides of the story, and we at BanPiracy acknowledge their professionalism.

In a Pro Sound News story written by Christopher Walsh, Andrew Kirk of PACE Anti-Piracy Inc., the developer of the ILok and InterLok tools, noted the uneven history of audio software manufacturers fighting the pirates, and noted:

“BanPiracy has a noble goal,” and added that the audio software markets “do need some enforcement – think about a society in where there was no enforcement of law.”

Another of our counterparts in the anti-piracy campaign is Ray Williams, director of the International Music Software Trade Association. We salute Mr. Williams for his efforts, which were heralded in the Pro Sound News story. “Our whole reason for being,” Mr. Williams told PSN, “is to try to have musicians respect the work of the companies who supply their software tools the same way they respect the makers of their hardware tools.”

We at BanPiracy also welcome the voluminous opinions on Internet message boards about out campaign. One of the most interesting challenges to what we’re doing was posted on Peter Kirn’s Create Digital Music website. In referring to the only client we’ve been able to sign for BanPiracy, Waves Audio, Mr. Kirn wrote, “Waves, I put the challenge to you: either demonstrate you have other developers onboard with you, or stop trying to convince people this is an effort on behalf of the industry.”

Mr. Kirn’s theory is that until Waves Audio, the initial client of BanPiracy, is joined by other software developers, any effort by Waves Audio to promote its involvement in BanPiracy is NOT a legitimate effort on behalf of the audio software industry.

A note to Mr. Kirn: The clients of BanPiracy are not asking your permission, or anyone else’s, to stand up to audio software copyright infringers. BanPiracy hopes that others will join Waves Audio in this fight, but the fight will go on as long as there is one man or woman willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Adrian Anders, who posted the following in a user forum on Mr. Kirn’s website on November 14, 2007.

“I think the studio owners were being very irresponsible to their paying customers,” Mr. Anders wrote in response to the many proponents of “cracked” software who frequent Mr. Kirn’s website.

Mr. Anders then added:
“Cracked software often causes severe problems in DAW environments and may even contain trojans, viruses, and/or worms that could compromise the data of their clients. Beyond the moral obligation to buy the software they use, [the studio owners] violated the trust of their customers by having potentially damaging software on their machines.”

Count on this, Mr. Anders: You’re not alone in this fight.

By Tomer Elbaz, BanPiracy COO and Michael T. David, BanPiracy CEO, Nov. 20,2007

CDM Responds

Since the cards are out on the table, and this site is singled out several times in BanPiracy’s public statement, I think a brief response of my own is only appropriate.

First, let’s get one thing straight: criticizing a specific means of enforcement is not the same thing as advocating piracy. BanPiracy’s statement attempts to blur those lines, implying an “if you’re not with us, you’re with the pirates” mentality. That’s ridiculous. The real debate here is over BanPiracy’s enforcement tactics and their rhetoric, not whether piracy is a good idea. CDM has been an aggressive advocate of legitimate software use, including commercial software, freeware, and open source tools. BanPiracy is quick to mention “the many proponents of ‘cracked’ software who frequent Mr. Kirn’s website.” Let’s address that as what it is: an attempt to discredit this site. The comments are an open forum. People looking for legitimate software look to CDM; people looking for pirated software elsewhere. I’m happy to let cracked software advocates speak freely here because they are so quickly shot down by users who pay for what they use.

Also, I never said BanPiracy needed my “permission” to pursue legal action — as near as I can tell, this action is within the law and within their rights, as is the ability of the targeted studios to try to defend themselves. But BanPiracy claims in bold type on their website that they represent multiple clients — and yet they admit elsewhere that, in fact, Waves is their only client. Even in this statement, I see a mention of “clients” (plural) and “client” (Waves). The question is not whether BanPiracy can represent Waves’ interests. The question is why does BanPiracy continue to refer to multiple clients and the industry when they in fact represent only the interests of Waves?

In addition to representing Waves, BanPiracy represents its own interests: by their own admission, they stand to make money here. The recent wave of 11 suits in the United States totals $1.7 million in damages, according to one of the Pro Sound News stories cited by BanPiracy. Those lawsuits are based entirely on Waves’ products. No other developer is mentioned. Updated: Pro Sound News Europe estimates damages at $4 million dollars and goes into greater detail on the US litigation.

The Music Software Industry

Now, maybe BanPiracy can claim to represent broader interests, even if they can only demonstrate one client. BanPiracy does manage to find supportive comments from a trade group and anti-piracy product maker, though they lift those comments from a Pro Sound News story from earlier this month. The headlines is “PACE, IMSTA Support BanPiracy.” Andrew Kirk of PACE Anti-Piracy, maker of the iLok and Interlok systems, in fact says some supportive things in that story. Here’s the quote you don’t see copied in the BanPiracy statement, however:

Kirk agrees that “Education will be key,” adding that lawsuits are not market friendly, nor do they fit well into a business model, yet “In some cases, the law is the last resort to flagrant piracy.” The anti-piracy movement is working, says Kirk, evidenced by the 123rd AES Convention. “I can tell you” he asserts, “if piracy rates were equal to the level of seven or more years ago, more than a handful of pro audio software companies and their products would simply not be at AES, nor would they even exist. Just about anyone would agree that this would be detrimental to the market.

So, lawsuits can be damaging to the market, often don’t make business sense, and may be a “last resort.” Oh, and other non-piracy efforts are actually working. That’s an argument I would’ve made, except PACE just made it for me.

BanPiracy also conveniently edits the International Music Software Trade Association quote. If you read the original Pro Sound News story, the group’s director Ray Williams is clear that — unlike the music industry’s RIAA — IMSTA focuses on education, not enforcement. Williams told PSN: “At IMSTA we are focused purely on education and making musicians think about piracy. We want musicians to buy the software they use.” In fact, when the IMSTA launched a recent anti-piracy education campaign, the emphasis was on positive communication with musicians, not litigation and scare tactics. So IMSTA may be “sympathetic”, but if at some point they do decide to openly support BanPiracy, in my view they’ll compromise the very positive image they had worked hard to build. (In fact, I’m disappointed Williams didn’t take this opportunity to more clearly distance what IMSTA is doing from what BanPiracy is doing.)

Cakewalk’s founder and CEO Greg Hendershott is on the Executive Board for the IMSTA. He spoke to us this summer about the cusomer relationship, among other issues. He talked about how piracy has hurt Cakewalk, but defended their decision not to use additional copy protection methods. Whether or not that particular decision is right for every developer, I think Greg speaks really eloquently about the customer relationship in a way that’s very appropriate to this conversation:

“But that doesn’t mean we like people to copy the software. It really comes down to the culture around intellectual property, and establishing your relationship with customers that is about more than just them buying the product, where they can get good support, there is a good community, a good forum for them to interact with you and other customers. So I think if people are buying into a long-term relationship, that’s part of the key to dealing with that issue. And I notice customers really tend to think that way.”

I’m not sure BanPiracy is aware when they quote Adrian Anders that Adrian regularly contributes to CDM, and does a series on free and inexpensive software. Adrian’s extensive knowledge is proof that saying you don’t have enough money is not an excuse for piracy: you can put together an entire software studio using free and affordable software. Adrian is quoted by BanPiracy as follows:

“Cracked software often causes severe problems in DAW environments and may even contain trojans, viruses, and/or worms that could compromise the data of their clients. Beyond the moral obligation to buy the software they use, [the studio owners] violated the trust of their customers by having potentially damaging software on their machines.”

Count on this, Mr. Anders: You’re not alone in this fight.

No, Adrian, you’re not alone — I agree with every word you say. But BanPiracy misappropriated the quote. Adrian wasn’t responding to any commenters at all. He was the first comment, criticizing (rightfully) a studio behaving unprofessionally. In fact, quite a few commenters criticized the studio in that very thread. Many other comments came from paying customers, some of them paying Waves customers — again, not pirates. Many paying customers explicitly said they would spend money on products that compete with Waves’ software. (note: NOT pirate Waves software, BUY someone else’s.) Most importantly, BanPiracy appropriated Adrian’s comment in a forum, distorted the context, changed his meaning, and then used it to support their cause without his permission. Then they sent that out as an “official statement”, evidently on the urging of their PR firm.

So, keeping score, BanPiracy has misrepresented which clients they represent, they’ve misrepresented what I said, and they misrepresented the readers and comments on this site.

I do hope we’ll talk more about finding solutions to piracy. But this really comes down to how to support making great software by legitimate means, whether that’s open source and free business models or commercial models. And that really starts with users and customers. It’s a conversation we’ll continue to have here, for those willing to read it. I hope readers will continue to agree and argue with what I say here; that’s the point. But it does mean you will have to actually read.

BanPiracy Puts Controversial Plans in Motion [Pro Sound News, 11/15]
PACE, IMSTA Support BanPiracy [Pro Sound News, 11/15]
Waves versus cracks: first writs issued in LA [Pro Sound News Europe, 11/14 – includes more details on the damages sought and funding]
BanPiracy Responds: Offical statement released to the forums [Sonic State, 11/21]

Note that the Pro Sound News Europe story suggests BanPiracy might find clients beyond Waves:

“We are in active discussion with a number of companies we met at the AES Convention,” [CEO Michael T.] David concludes, “including software developers.”

Assuming they haven’t been turned off by BanPiracy’s statements, I’m sure any future client would be able to look forward to the same positive reaction from their customer base Waves has gotten.

Studio Busted by Waves Anti-Piracy Police Shares Experience [CDM, 11/14]
Interview: Cakewalk Founder Greg Hendershott, 20 Years On [CDM, 11/12]

  • Adrian's quotes reappropriated by BanPiracy's PR firm – I find this surreal. You should take this guy's job and start a multi-million dollar PR firm.

  • This just goes to prove that if you have to lie to make your point, then you know that your argument is weak. And this is from a former paying Waves customer of over ten years. Their software is great, their business practices and upgrade policies suck. If they would go to a straight upgrade path instead of the ridiculous WUP I would pay it. I will not lease software which is in effect what the WUP is.

  • Adrian Anders

    Tomer & Mike, here's a quote for you two:

    "What a couple of douchebags"

    – Adrian Anders

    Put that on your front page assholes!

  • Thomas Cermak

    If they're using a PR firm to respond to such a simple question you should know that you're right to think what you do Peter. PR firms paid to spin – nothing else.

  • Dude, they pirated Adrian's quote!

    Seriously: Solution to piracy?

    It's not terrorism. It's not us vs. them. It's a company trying to make a living, and people wanting to use tools. If a company puts out good product that people value, then people pay. If that product is freely accessible (such as a copiable digital product), a larger audience will try it, perhaps even regularly use it. That's a gain, never a loss.

    We need to turn down the freakout on free distribution of products, copyrighted or not. Most of those people "pirating" wouldn't have touched the product with a 10 foot pole unless it was freely available. Thanks to the near costless ability to try a copy of it they have a chance to discover value in it, and perhaps even someday pay for it, assuming they find value in the company and the product.

    Criminalizing this situation is plain pathetic. Waves must simply be failing from a business standpoint to act so desperately, following the RIAA's desperate attempts to choke change and scare their customer base. Get Real. How about they wake up, refactor their business practices, continue to make good product, and join reality again.

    As for…They don't deserve to make it into another blog article. They are parasites that need to be ignored, not blown up with free publicity.

  • Peter

    "First, let’s get one thing straight: criticizing a specific means of enforcement is not the same thing as advocating piracy."

    The old "if you're not with us, you're against" tactic. The number one accusation of politicians in the 21st century! Polarize everything! The world is black and white!

    "We learned to accept the harsh reality that the way our company was structured — as a for-profit LLC which gets its operating income from the collection of fees from those who are unjustly enriching themselves by using unauthorized software"

    I find it reprehensible to profit at the expense of others, whether or not you or your customers are in the right. That's just evil.

  • velocipede

    Whatever legitimate justifications BanPiracy and Waves may have, they are certainly doing a good job at making themselves and their efforts highly unlikable.

  • ArcaneParadox

    This year I have spent over $13,000.00 dollars on software and hardware (the majority, software for my new mac). After seeing this I took stock on how much of an effect I have on the industry, actually how much of an effect WE (CDM's loyal readers) have on the industry. It would definately be a piece of the pie chart I would want. Now think how most of us started. I am not ashamed that my first software was a cracked version of fruity loops. I am also not ashamed that I cracked KOMPLETE 4. If it were not for those two instances my interest may have never peaked for this. Since then I have purchased everything that Native Instruments puts out. I also have since invested large amounts of time into user based forums to better the software. If it were not for the ability to download demos when available or a "teaser" of some new hot software there would be no industry

  • Damon

    "I am not ashamed I stole that Toyota, for If I had not, I would not have later purchased a brand new Toyota."

  • te2rx

    Don't troll with that idiotic car/software analogy.

  • samu

    Elbaz and David give me that Michael Moore feeling. You know, when someone's such an arsehole you really wished they were on the other side of the argument?

    These guys are dangerous. In the argument against music piracy, the industry's heavy-handed actions have allowed it to become cast as the bad guy, the tyrant; consequently, stealing music has become very widely acceptable. The music software industry, as its wiser and less myopic members seem well aware, would be far less able to ride out an equivalent reaction.

    This worries me, because I care about the development of our tools. That's why I've always paid for them, even at times when that was really, really hard. I desperately hope that building a sense of community and loyalty between developers and users wins out over crude bullying as an approach to the piracy problem. The alternatives are not bright.

  • Peter,

    It is not clear to me what you're against exactly.

    1.) Is it Waves' decision to sue studios using its software unlawfully?

    2.) Or is it the particular organization BanPiracy?

    In other words: would an organization dedicated to suing studios using the software illegally be acceptable in your view on ANY terms?


  • some years ago I bought some (great) plug-ins from Waves: I should still have the original dongle somewhere… but now I stopped to use it, because of changes to operative systems … and it is too expensive for me to upgrade just for my actual business…

    at the moment they are useless.

    Now I'm suggesting to my friends and students other product, maybe free or low cost (as MAX/MSP).

    End of the story.

  • maxamillian

    Assaf – for me personally, it's mostly (2) but (1) is very disappointing as well. It's an underhand tactic that will not reflect well on your company. Does anyone from your company ever read the Gearslutz forum for example? Let's just say new customers are not exactly encouraged to buy Waves – there are cheaper, higher quallity alternatives that don't shaft you with support fees and won't use your money to pay organizations such as is clearly a very lame protection-racket type business, trying to suggest that companies should be ashamed for not 'supporting their fight' (read: 'paying them considerable money for lawyers'). There have been other such companies (Copyright Control Services) and they have always failed badly and died. Here's to going the same way.

    FYI – I work for a software developer, and although we suffer from piracy like any other developer, we have no intention whatsoever in alienating potential customers like Waves choose to do. There is no mileage in supporting protection rackets like, ilok and synchrosoft.

    I don't say this because I support piracy – not by any means. The fact is that it is hard enough to survive as a software developer… the reality is that such guerilla tactics only alienate the potential customer further and impact on future legitimate sales. Not everyone is in a position to risk their future on these kinds of scare tactics.

  • im live in israel where WAVES int. headquaters and development center.

    a guy from banpiracy called me on the phone and told me to give them the money (buy the software at an double the online stores price + 1000$ for their lawyer fee).

    he called me from a number which is really similer to WAVES phone number.

    banpiracy number = +972-3-6084134

    WAVES audio int. = +972-3-6084000

    WHAT The chances that an int.

    company like banpiracy and WAVES,

    will have the same phone number and be located in the same floor, in the same businness tower, in the same city, both in israel???

    I also told the guy from banpiracy that i will come to his office to talk to him, but he immidiatly refused and said he doesn`t has the time for it… i wander way…:)

    i guess to keep WAVES BIGGEST secret safe.

    banpiracy was created by waves, because waves lawyers told waves to create banpiracy, so banpiracy could threaten people and keep waves and her lawyer names intact.

    NOW EVERYBODY KNOW BANPIRACY = WAVES !! you can try and call them on the number to check its real

    though they will probebly change it after this comment (their people read this stuff)

  • Thomas Cermak

    "1.) Is it Waves’ decision to sue studios using its software unlawfully?

    2.) Or is it the particular organization BanPiracy?"

    I'm not speaking for Peter but will respond having examined Peter's statements. No where do I see evidence that Peter is entirely against either of these organizations or their positions. In fact, one of them (BanPiracy) has hired a PR firm that has essentially attacked both Peter and CDM readers, essentially stating, that we are a culture of pirates. So, if you read and comment at CDM then you are included in this.

    From Peter's previous post "Studio Busted…" it appears that Peter is simply acting journalistically. He is trying to uncover the truth from an organization that is making a very controversial move within the music industry. Does this move represent a larger following?

    You see, there are alternatives to making huge lawsuits. Which is just the typical decision for a corporate culture of business practice.

    My own personal response to BanPiracy's move to sue recording studio's, that are illegally using Waves software, is that the situation can be compared to the pirating of other things, such as music itself. In Canada, on a CBC radio show called "Search Engine", they decided to talk about the study just released that suggests:

    "When assessing the P2P downloading population, there was "a strong positive relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file sharing increases CD purchases." The study estimates that 12 additional P2P downloads per month increases music purchasing by 0.44 CDs per year." (

    Now, in the forums the host and professor Michael Geist were rightly attacked for making their on the basis of one study – even though they that's not what they were trying to do but only what it sounded like. But, as Russel McOrmond pointed out in the forums, "the recent Industry Canada financed study needs to be coupled with some of the findings of the Statistics Canada report." He continues:

    "For instance, while revenue to the major foreign labels from Canadians has decreased, the revenue to Canadian labels, independents and unsigned has increased.

    This matches my own purchasing habits. In 2000 I started a personal boycott of the major labels and studios, which expanded to include not purchasing the products of those promoting or using DRM. As an independent software author there is nothing that threatens my ability to make a living from software more than DRM."

    Now I'll just end this (already long) post by putting the original question from SearchEngine's forums to the reader's of CDM (which I'll take to the forums):

    "Do artists need protection from file-sharing listeners? Do listeners need protection from exploitative artists? Or do both need protection from antiquated laws designed to protect obsolete business models?"

  • Has it never crossed anyone's mind that, years and years after the publication of "The Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling (here is a [legal] free download: from the Project Gutenberg) that if the type of intellectual property which can be digitized for distribution cannot possibly be protected from piracy that mayhap the profit-oriented should look elsewhere for ways of vast amounts of money?

    There's an entire subculture of cheap software developers who manage to exist in this grey area and they are even LESS able to prevent piracy and yet continue to churn out amazing developements faster than all of the large corporations combined, much as many posited would happen quite some time ago.

    One could theoretically profit off of the air if one could create a scarcity of it and control access to it, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    After price-gouging for decades I don't really understand how these companies are getting on a moral high-horse complaining about "lost profits" – are they seriously trying to claim that software piracy suddenly arose AFTER they put together their business plans? I don't see 1/4" tape manufacturers creating a jackbooted stormtrooper strikeforce to stop the evil digital storage medium maniacs from ruining their profit margins. I do see that in the case of the major label music industry (which, notably, has completely screwed every musician it could get it's hands on since it's inception, from Noble Sissle to Robert Johnson to today). These are not small business owners innocently attempting to ply their trade and put food on their plates (like the shareware developers, like the "content suppliers") but cartels attempting to foist monopolistic practices onto an industry already not noted for it's fiscal-mindedness. Chasing after musicians to wring MORE money from their already unsteady lives? Amazing.

    And the fact of the matter is, it WILL work. The music "industry" is trend-driven (because they still control most of the mass media means of disseminating the music) and in the current arms-race of polished end-products we've been conditioned to expect those with access to the expensive studio tools are likely to be the ones who gain the ears of listeners. Visual artists think they have it bad!

    The silver lining: these expensive software tools are becoming less and less "necessary" every year due to the diligent efforts of charitable geniuses who freely share their coding arts with an anonymous world on the internet.

  • Thomas,

    "Do artists need protection from file-sharing listeners?"

    If everything were so rosy and perfect and all that needed to be done was to put our trust in the good will of the users, then why are there iLoks? Why are there dongles? Why are there serial numbers and convoluted authentication procedures? It seems to me reality is not as kind as the utopic vision most of the people here seem to subscribe to.

    I'm also not sure you can equate music piracy to software piracy in the lawsuits filed. After all, we're talking about studios using products to make money (commercially), in complete contrast to "regular music downloads", which are for personal pleasure.

  • Gorbon

    @ Assaf:

    "why are there iLoks? Why are there dongles? Why are there serial numbers and convoluted authentication procedures?"

    Yes, dongles / iLoks / serial numbers proved to be great protection against piracy. Or?

    Practically every protection gets cracked, sooner or later, and those in search of pirated software will find their illegal copies one way or the other. Actually the harder the protection, the more prestige cracking group gets for cracking it, so they are motivated to crack it sooner than some other app. All those dongle protection schemes only make nuisance for legal users.

  • Nick

    Digidesign, TC and Line6 have solved their piracy problem a long time ago: they sell you specialized software embedded in chinese-made hardware. Native Instrument has started doing this as well and I think this is a growing trend.

    If you are a developper and you are not willing to go through that kind of additional expense, then, yes you will be pirated.

    The Cakewalk guy totally got this.

    – Nick –

  • ctx


    The only large corporations in the audio software industry are Apple, Yamaha, and to a lesser extent Avid, all of whom are involved in other industries and purchased smaller companies that were dedicated solely to audio.

    There are hardly "vast amounts of money" flying around. Ableton is a large company for the industry and only generates a bit over $10 million US in revenue, and it wouldn't be into 8 digits except for the crap dollar these days. Even the largest companies in this industry are medium sized at best.

    1/4" tape manufacturers are not really a good example seeing as how (1) 1/4" tape is very expensive these days, which seems to be one of your prime complaints and (2) they all went out of business at one point. Is there even more than one of them anymore? Also, since you cannot pirate 1/4" tape, the fact that they do not require any anti-piracy efforts is meaningless.

    As far as your assertion that piracy should be permitted and the companies should look for other ways to make money, I'm curious as to what else you think they should sell. You'd prefer they all quit making software and hardware units instead, with the associated and probably drastic increases in price? Hobbyists will get to use all the free software they want since they won't be able to afford anything else? 🙂

    I don't know, your whole post is really too ridiculous and removed from reality to respond to in a coherent fashion.

    As far as the press release goes, it may be even more ridiculous than that. 🙂 Despite their snooty attitude, I still don't see the problem with their general methodology and I still haven't seen anyone offer any suggestions as far as how else they should go about it (aside from "let people pirate it all they want").

  • Nick

    @banpiracy = WAVES !!!!!!!!

    Wow! This is awesome! Similar phone number in the same building?

    So this is their plan:

    1) Create a software licensing scheme (WUP) designed to generate steady yearly income even when sotware doesn't change or improve. For the sake of simplicity, I'll call this a "financial trap".

    2) Create an international "collection agency" organization designed to legally enforce the above-mentionned financial trap.

    3) When under attack, hire a PR firm to spin this into some kind of pirate conspiracy headed by CDM.

    4) Monitor the reaction and hope that that everyone believe that these two BanPiracy representatives a) exists and b) are not in fact Waves employees.

    The great part about this plan is that if this turns bad, the "collection agency" can close down and Waves can claim that they whad no idea.

    The Wave guys must have had a credit card company in the past 😉

    – Nick –

  • @ctx: First of all, I never stated nor even infered that piracy should be allowed.

    Second of all the point is not to recommend to them what they should sell, but that they needn't come crying to us because they can't figure it out. It's not a new problem, it's a problem with no foreseeable solution whatsoever, so coming to the crossroads of creating a quite shady investigative agency that, not being privy to the tools that law enforcement could use, could only be assuming guilt and then spying on a studio based on that assumption. Which means, obviously, that for whatever amount of pirating studios they're catching they're also spying on *totally innocent* studios, too. I don't own, nor do I want to own, a studio but I can certainly see that there's a lot of concerns with this tactic.

    I have no complaint about the cost of 1/4" tape; I've never bought any. I guess, given your dishonest way of making assumptions and then misquoting, that I should clear the air by openly asserting that I've never pirated nor stolen and 1/4" tape, either. Now go learn how to engage in an argument before you start one and then act dismissive after acting the fool.

  • Thomas Cermak


    “Do artists need protection from sampling artists?”

  • ctx

    I don't think "they came crying to us" in the case of Waves, in fact they took matters into their own hands (or some agent's hands) and a number of people are quite upset about it.

    I think you did infer, and that is precisely the right word, that piracy should be permitted. You do not like Waves' tactics for reducing piracy and offer no alternative solution except that they produce products that cannot be pirated. From a practical perspective, this is no less impossible than completely eliminating piracy. If that's not "permitting piracy" then your definition is different from mine. To be clear, I was not trying to make any implication as to whether you agree with piracy or pirate anything yourself.

    I didn't mean to imply that you pirated or stole or were even concerned about the price of 1/4" tape, and admittedly that was a very poorly written part of my response. Immediately after complaining about price gouging, you made a comparison of software companies/media organizations/whoever you were talking about with 1/4" tape companies, saying that 1/4" tape manufacturers don't employ "jackbooted stoomtroopers" to protect their business. I was trying to say that this comparison does not make any sense because firstly, 1/4" tape prices are very expensive (I don't believe Waves or tape manufacturers are price gouging but it is tough to argue that one is and the other isn't, they are both premium products with a premium pricetag), secondly, 1/4" tape manufacturers already went out of business a few years back and had to be resurrected to keep it going at all (they didn't do a good job of protecting their business), and thirdly the comparison does not even make any sense because 1/4" tape manufacturers sell a physical product that cannot be pirated (and therefore do not have the same business complications in the sense of vast numbers of people using your product without paying for it).

    Whether it was worth dedicating a paragraph to, well, probably not, but hopefully that makes more clear what I was trying to get across. 😉

    If you don't want a snippy reply then don't make half-baked assertions about a cartel of gigantic audio software companies that has their boot on the neck of the common man.

  • Peter


    I think the analog tape analogy was referring to the early 80's when tape was ursurped by CDs. Back in the middle ages, analog tape was cheap and ubiquitous and the industry was stomped into the ground by the bit barons of the digital age. Not much they could do about it, so they bowed out gracefully.

    That has nothing to do with software, however, others have been talking about the state of the music industry in this thread, and it's analogous to the physical media of the compact disc being replaced by the internet and newer digital formats such as mp3, thereby rendering the massive major label infrastructure totally irrelevant.

    Most industries don't seem to whine too much when they are overrun by technological advances.

    The music industry won't shut the hell up about it.

    Assaf :

    "why are there iLoks? Why are there dongles? Why are there serial numbers and convoluted authentication procedures?"

    A dongle says to me "You just paid us for this, but we still think you're going to steal it."

    Apple no longer use dongles for Logic, probably because they are a giant time/money/energy/support sinkhole. Companies like Audio Damage, Sonalkis and countless others use simple serials, easy methods of transferring licences and countless other customer-friendly schemes based on mutual respect and trust.

    They seem to be able to make a living just fine.

    Those who are quick to blame piracy for so called "lost sales" need to admit that poor product design, marketing, support and business practices probably had something to do with it.

    I've never purchased, nor used Waves plugins, however, I've heard about their WUP system and it is one of the most convoluted and cockameme schemes I've ever heard of. Waves are clearly being outrun by smaller, more nimble opponents. Common sense would dictate they change their tactics or perish.

  • This is actually getting pretty bizarre, and a great example of the dynamic nature of the internet in representing the thoughts and opinions of a solid demographic of "good people". I would say from knowing many of these "good people" that they do in fact predominantly buy their software and respond with an obvious indignation to organizations such as BanPiracy who make the mistake of believing their rhetoric (or even their singular business model) will emerge unchallenged. Its seriously bizarre that they thought to launch an organization on the apex of such a contentious issue and dare to do it without full honest disclosure of their parentage, methodology and revenue model. I really hope the bright young minds who will eventually solve the challenges of distribution, revenue and piracy are watching this carefully and taking notes for the future. Here's a hint for those that are, it doesn't involve dongles or DRM. It probably involves positive engagement of your demographic.

    I'm not sure what happens next. Do Waves announce that they make their plugins out of people, Soylent Green style? Are they going to announce Peter Kirn is the dark lord of the Sith? Does BanPiracy know what you did last summer? I really am going to go make some popcorn. IRL. Ciao.

  • Damon


    "Don’t troll with that idiotic car/software analogy."


    te3rx, this is not trolling. This is a metaphor that helps one put the below comment in perspective.


    "Now think how most of us started. I am not ashamed that my first software was a cracked version of fruity loops. I am also not ashamed that I cracked KOMPLETE 4. If it were not for those two instances my interest may have never peaked for this. Since then I have purchased everything that Native Instruments puts out. I also have since invested large amounts of time into user based forums to better the software. If it were not for the ability to download demos when available or a “teaser” of some new hot software there would be no industry"



    “I am not ashamed I stole that Toyota, for If I had not, I would not have later purchased a brand new Toyota.”


    You see, this way I can make a point without pointing out individuals who say really stupid stuff in order to defend really stupid excuses. That is how metaphor works. You see, arguing that stealing software is good for software companies, is like arguing that stealing cars is good for car sales. I regard such equations of psychology as absurd if not really embarrassing. So, feel free to respond back to this here defense of my "idiotic car/software metaphor,' but don't be surprised if you wind up the butt of a brand new and exciting metaphor, where YOU ALONE get to be the object of great and profound ignorance.

    Thanks, te2rx, for "protestething too much…"

  • I think I've probably said more than enough about this already, but to clarify further — I'm not going to sit here and say, ALL legal actions in regards to piracy are unwarranted. It's not my place to make that decision; it's up to the developer to decide what's appropriate. The issue here is, we've gone far beyond that. We have not just one or two studios being targeted, but a widespread crackdown on studios in multiple countries. When it's one developer doing that, and you buy products from that developer (or competing products), it is your place to make whatever evaluation you want as far as the money you spend. I personally still have respect for Waves' product line, but it is clear that this has damaged their customer relationship. And then we have BanPiracy making sweeping statements about piracy in general and the music software industry in general, not just Waves — sweeping statements that now specifically target this site and abuse quotes from myself and readers. I think I'm reasonably clear about why I have a big problem with that.

    ctx, I hear what you're saying. But I don't think I have to make up an alternative to what Waves and BanPiracy are doing, because the entire music software industry has been pursuing other alternatives for years, many of them very effectively. There are plenty of other angles at which to look at this issue other than "the only solution is to sue a bunch of studios." What's unfortunate to me is that BanPiracy seems to me to what to say anyone not on their side is pro-piracy. There are plenty of other ways to approach this. Microsoft recently shifted from policy in Asia focused on enforcement to improving local relations, localizing pricing, and employing more local developers — and improved their bottom line as a result. Now, they didn't do that to be nice (this is Microsoft, after all) — they did it because that proved to be more effective. For the developers, this is a business, not a war. So, I think if you present alternatives like that and they generate revenue, that's a pretty compelling argument. But first, we have to be able to have an open discussion.

    And, incidentally, I think the reason some of the above comments are getting a little circular is that you can have more productive concrete discussions than philosophical ones. We don't actually need an analogy to stolen guitars or jacked automobiles, because at the end of the day, what matters to users is that they get their music made and what matters to developers is they get their software made and stay in business. Now, how to do that — that's a debate.

  • te2rx

    Damon, if you seriously want a discussion on the whole "car" analogy, just search for "car" in the comments of this previous Waves/BanPiracy article:
    Of course you already know of that one seeing that you participated in it, which furthers my point that…

    digital downloads to theft of a material product is such a tired old argument that the only reason anyone would bring it up is just to troll — as in, send everyone on another spin of the merry-go-round of why it's a totally inadequate description… For the millionth time in the history of the internet.

  • arcaneparadox

    te2rx & Damon —

    Sorry for fueling the fire on the car/software thing. I feel what I said was misunderstood. Basically when I downloaded a cracked version of software it was in place of a demo. With not all companies putting out decent functioning demos or demos at all in some instances I searched for something tangible before throwing over a thousand dollars into software. Was this wrong? Would I steal a car for a test drive? I mean those are common sensical answers but I feel that throwing someone into a legal battle because they are interested in your product to be a pretty weak marketing strategy. I think there is a difference in college students wanting to demo and a commercial facility charging people for use. I guess what I am getting at would be is it worse to steal the car or charge people for rides in it.

  • Interesting point te2rx. What better way to muzzle the interesting and incisive responses here then to engage in a trolling exercise and attempt to pull the thread into emotive mud slinging, ripe for misquoting and the odd "seed" post to paint CDM in colours the PR team can use in the next press release.

    What i love about CDM is so clearly on display here. The CDM team itself ARE actually good people. Most if not all have their own "product" on the market in some fashion so are part of the same copyright and sales/distribution challenge themselves. They are "good people", they buy stuff and talk about and use it in a very visible way. They gain respect being honest about gear, even when Jaymis tears clunky VJ tools to bits, its honest feedback that makes the product better. This isn't a Russian torrent site, its a group of cutting edge geeks who know a thing or two. CDM isn't criticizing Ban Piracy for its goal of attempting to help the industry (which is their #1 goal according to them) but challenging them to establish some honesty about their existence and methodology and to drop the tired rhetoric.

    To date, that still hasn't happened. Waves customers should think about how they feel that the price they are paying for their software is funding not only BanPiracy but that organization's lawyers and now a PR team as well. As i said in my last post, this is very, very bizarre. I forsee the PR agency getting a lot more billable hours out of Waves/BanPiract.

  • Thomas:

    “Do artists need protection from sampling artists?”

    Most definitely. And our legislative system was wise enough to create such protection.

    Peter (Kirn):

    "The issue here is, we’ve gone far beyond that. We have not just one or two studios being targeted, but a widespread crackdown on studios in multiple countries."

    I don't see why you stick to this apocalyptic vision. It sounds as if we've crossed the red line that shouldn't have been crossed.

    The way I see it, this line should've been crossed a long, long time ago, having seen exactly the magnitude of piracy in several countries around the world, US included.

    Note that all targets have been commercial studios which made money. Nothing has been targeted towards the "little guy" who just explores new software, tries it out and educates himself/herself. This is very very fair in my view – a bit too fair – but the fact is, you can download illegally ANY product today and test it out on your home computer without ever being caught or sued.

    Furthermore, unlike say Microsoft, Waves is not a cartel and it doesn't dominate the market. There are plenty of alternatives, some even completely free. So Waves' insistence on their basic right to get paid for their hard work doesn't harm "the market".

  • Assaf: "Furthermore, unlike say Microsoft, Waves is not a cartel and it doesn’t dominate the market. There are plenty of alternatives, some even completely free. So Waves’ insistence on their basic right to get paid for their hard work doesn’t harm “the market”."

    I agree compleatly.

    it doesn't harm the market at all. IT ONLY HARMS WAVES. that's why you don't see any other company joining banpiracy. all the MI software companies are happy that waves is doing what they have dreamed of doing for years, but knew that the damage to thier own brand would make such actions counter productive to thier own goals.

  • nooga

    "The recent wave of 11 suits in the United States totals $1.7 million in damages"

    That just makes me sick. There are independent audio developers that would never see that amount of revenue for an entire product line…

    I believe many studios will stop using Waves in general, they'd probably stop listing Waves products on their Studio Tools lists as well. Who has the time for phony sketchball clients, asking for your Waves recpiets. There are many other solutions out there today, and who wants to live in fear of being sued…

  • Brutal. Waves make some of the most expensive audio processing s/w on the market. They've been around for years and have probably helped set the quality bar more than most of their competitive set. Without being intimately familiar with their pricing and sales practices, a quick review of the WUP system a month ago investigating GTR3 on their site completely turned my stomach. The KO however is definitely this BanPiracy fiasco. It's just so disheartening to see a leader turn to such poor methodologies to protect its interests. Have the lessons of the RIAA vs the music purchasing public not been learned yet? Trapping or vilifying customers and prospects – surely this can't be a sustainable business practice. How can they not know this?

  • Karen

    This is a great forum for what's going on in the recording industry. I think the Ban piracy people were correct in picking it to lay some issues on the table. I think their methods are out of whack, but the issue needs to be addressed.

    What also needs to be addressed is the juvenile attitude of some of the posters on this forum. We all know that there have been two previous threads devoted to taking on Ban piracy and Waves and whatever they're calling themselves. So these guys fired back, and now all the fanboys have their panties in a bunch. It's like what I see at studios every day. A lot of tough talk, but when someone pushes back, everybody is running for a rule book or a human resources manual.

    These guys are serious, apparently. Deal with it. Man up, grow a pair, or crawl back in your holes.

  • this has kept me entertained all day.

    Waves are making complete fools of themselves and to be honest, it seems that the more they speak, the more they look ridiculous.

    If a studio is using waves software then I'm sure they'll stop advertising so as not to get some suit coming in an peering into their business.

  • seems to me like we have a new Lars Ulrich on our hands.

  • Ralted to piracy but not to this case :

    It's up to everyone to make their own choices but i think pirating software does not just hurt the publisher but hurts the growth of free software. If someone writes, let's say, a cubase clone but everyone pirates cubase, the free software will have less momentum and attract less developpers.

    There's just so many free apps out there nowadays. There's also several affordable softwares. Just with renoise, one can do a lot. Just with logic express, one can do a lot.

    One can compose songs in schism tracker and export wav files and import them in ardour and run it all under linux. Total cost of software : 0$.

  • Karen, I hear the occasional fanboy … but we also have a significant number of people who have spent thousands of dollars on plug-ins — far more than I have, in fact! — who are pretty unhappy.

    (Side note: I expect when we re-launch CDM's own forums, we'll moderate more heavily, but consider this unmoderated chatter in comments.)

  • PS — @xonox, I agree absolutely. And this argument has been, unfortunately, really lost. Open source software, even, is rooted in copyright law. To me, it enriches what intellectual property means when you share that property and control. Likewise, there are independent developers who depend on people's investment. There's Renoise, there's Image Line with their free upgrade policy, there's Energy XT. We've seen independent software developers go out of business because of piracy, literally. I'd very much like to see us fight piracy in a way that helps these developers, as well. (I know that the people who work for the larger developers do care about these smaller devs, too, because many of them use their products — they're users like us, too.)

    I'm not at all convinced that the Waves crackdown does help them, though — I think, as even PACE and IMSTA argue, better education is a big part of it. And I think community is a big part of it, and I hope we can do as much as possible here on CDM and elsewhere in the Interwebs.

  • Hi Ho!

    It's good to debate.

    I hold strong that one cannot "fight" piracy. The point is, software is copyable for 0 cost, people know that, and people want it for free, and therefore people will get it for free. It is the same point which invalidates comparisons to "pirating" a car – an instance of a car is not free, though an instance of a song or a piece of software is most certainly.

    Companies that go out of business due to piracy must be pretty out of touch with their customer base and/or simply unprepared to deal with how the software business works. Sure, they might make a good plugin, but they (obviously) can't handle the market and the politics that go with it. Waves is an example of a company failing to keep up. They arrogantly think they can change what is unchangeable (perceptions of a community,

    I come off as being "pro-pirate," but I feel simply realistic. I pay for stuff that I care about, and that is the only point companies need to worry about. Make me care about, make me need the software, listen to me, create software for me, and you get paid no problem. Of course, for each paying customer, maybe there exists 5 unpaying customers. But it is a waste of time to sit around pretending to "do something about it" – these are not potential customers, they are simply people trying out your software because they can, or because they can't afford the true product itself. Don't waste your time on them, you will not get anywhere -spend your time making a great product and getting it out there to the people who have the money to spend and who value and desire it.

    There are many way to develop great relations with customers, and even to lure 'pirates' into becoming paying customers. Providing support (a huge huge part of the software business), extras (owning the actual DVDs/Books in hand makes a difference), pride of ownership….these are valid reasons to buy instead of try.

    I'm going to stick around this blog, despite having different ideals than Peter (it's good to be different!) – this subject is extremely important to me. After all, I'm a musician in a copyright-obsessed and desperate industry. A nobody, perhaps. I don't make a single dollar with music. But hey, I'll never blame those evil pirates. In fact, I'll give my music away happily, because making music is important to me.

    And that is the way the world works these days. Complain, grow up, cry, fight, or simply just watch in awe, amazement, and thankfulness that we have done something as amazing as to be able to distribute wonderful creations for next to no cost or effort. Next step? Getting creative on how to keep these musicians and software writers employed!

  • "Companies that go out of business due to piracy must be pretty out of touch with their customer base and/or simply unprepared to deal with how the software business works."

    Yep, the companies should learn to whip out their KY jelly and spread 'em in preparation for their customer base.

  • maxamillian

    Assaf – there's absolutely nothing inherently wrong with what you have been saying, in terms of logic. Yes, piracy is theft and logically the offenders should be prosecuted.

    However in many ways the world and reality is not logical. Pursuing this policy might make sense in the short term, but in the long term as Nooga said, Waves is going to lose sales because studios will simply start neglecting to list Waves on their product lists to avoid such nonsense. In other words, Waves will lose their air of 'ubiquity', which IMHO is the only thing they have going for them anymore – personally in terms of DSP quality I think they're severely lacking in comparison to Duende, Sonnox and others but obviously this is a subjective view.

  • maxamillian,

    I understand completely what you're saying. However I feel a bit lost in this discussion, because I'm defending a principle (not very successfully, perhaps), while most people here are referring to a particular case (and, by the way, as far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on whether Waves is "good" or "bad" – I've also heard many good things about them. Never dealt with them myself).

    It's just like having a police officer look the other way when a bunch of people are beating up some obnoxious guy nobody likes – and for the sake of argument let's say Waves is a bunch of sons-of-bitches (once again, I don't subscribe to this P.O.V). Sure, there's some sense of satisfaction in seeing the obnoxious kid get paid back for years of being obnoxious, but are we really willing to look the other way while he gets beat up? Do you really want to live in such a society where people can exercise their own idea of personal justice? I don't. Waves have the RIGHT to sue the socks of anyone who plagiarizes them – and does so quite blatantly, while making money off the goods he has pirated.

    The above policeman example serves to illustrate a point: reality is what we make it. If we look the other way, then going down hard on pirates will have no effect. But if we voice our support for the RIGHT of waves to defend their property, we will be paving the road to a better future. Even if you think "Waves isn't worth it, they're obnoxious, I won't back them up" – think again. It's not Waves you're backing up, but your own moral and social integrity.

  • Mel Lambert

    I would refer interested participants within this forum to an article I wrote for "Pro Sound News-Europe,” which includes additional information.

  • Bats


    So, let's see, Waves is the obnoxious kid, and we're the police officer..or the people beating up the obnoxious kid? Who's BanPiracy then? The thug that's hired by the obnoxious kid to whack the cop for looking the other way? Confusing.

  • maxamillian

    Mel – good article which shows that things are not always as cut and dried as seen from the eyes of a lawyer. I hope these studios get a fair hearing at the trials.

    Assaf – once again, what you say is correct. But if you actually ask people who work at the kind of facilities that are being targeted, whether they use pirated software or not, most would say that the methods being used are devious and underhand. Therefore, a serious amount of damage has been done to customer-vendor good-will. Whether or not this is right or wrong is irrelevant – changing the way people think requires a lot more than brute-force use of the law. You need to look at society and the way that exploitation and legitimized corporate robbery work, and how they affect peoples' perceptions. Of course there is no way that this is going to happen soon. But resorting to blinkered policing is not going to help either.

    People know that audio software is fundamentally not the same as audio hardware. With hardware do you get new features/OS upgrades etc for free? Maybe sometimes, but it's relatively rare. However, does hardware stop working if you update your computer OS or sequencer? Very unlikely. If someone has a serious business using your software, the chances are they will buy it for the benefits of good support, updates, bug-fixes with new versions of OS/sequencers and so on. If they don't, they generally spend more time chasing cracked updates and making them work on their system, than actually working with the tools. I think that intelligent users always tend to make the right choice. There are 2 things you always have to remember about stupid users: 1 – you cannot account for their existence and 2 – there are a hell of a lot of them in the world.

    If you can keep developing the product well for legitimate users, the good-will adds up to more sales (and, sure, more piracy). IMHO this is what a software company needs to do to survive.

    Piracy has always been and will always be a cost to factor in to the budget – just like material/component supply problems, electrical safety ratings etc are cost factors for a hardware manufacturer.

    Waves and their WUP and strategies are alienating present and future customers. You always have to remember that software is a transitory, almost intangible tool to most users. If something about a program or vendor annoys you, these days there is so much software out there (and so many programmers) that you can try out an alternative that's often free (freeware/open-source etc) and abandon what you were using before very easily.

    Personally I can see very markedly the effect that piracy has had on the market. In general, big commercially released plugins tend to be very 'safe' and unprogressive, so that there's the maximum chance of a decent return. In fact, I think freeware arguably does as much harm to the lack of progressiveness of audio software – there are huge amounts of very good, free, experimental tools out there, so the chances of selling something built on a commercial budget are very slim when people are prepared to use 5 or 6 free tools that can do similar things when used together in a certain way.

    What it all comes down to is that people are just very broke right now. The ruthlessness of the global economy is hitting very very hard at the moment. It's not even possible to make much money out of making music. It's pretty sad, but it is still possible to survive if you do business in the right way.

  • maux

    I think the answer is simple.

    let's just stop to use WAVES I did long time ago…plenty of exellent alternatives out there…ERASE THEM from any backup.

    to be honest I am a pirate…sure I am…

    I try to buy what I can afford and what I need more…but still plenty of kracks in my HD…and I am not ashamed…at all..I struggle to survive as music producer…I think that software piracy did also a big lot of good things for the global music community…and I always liked pirate stories when I was a kid :).

    When I decided to invest some money in a good "mixing tools" bundle…I decided to buy a UAD instead of Waves…and mainly because I don't like WAVES attitude…I didn't like Digidesign attitude long time ago…so I sold happily my ProTools and finally I had nothing to do with their customer care services.

    and I love to give my money to developers as AUDIO DAMAGE for example.

    let BAN+WAVES spend money on that…they will be forgotten soon…and possibly they will open a credit card company later on…(I don't have/want a credit card neither…so I will not need their services even then).

  • OoG

    with regards to dongles making you feel that the company you just bought from thinks you are going to steal the product, what about this:

    Native instruments makes Traktor Scratch, a digital vinyl-controlled system which requires you to have (a) control vinyl and (b) a special audio interface to use it.

    Now this same company also requires you to authorize that software online, otherwise it remains a crippled demo. What gives? I think it's indicative of an arrogance which will eventually come back to bite them on the backside. After all, their major competition, Serato which realizes that you need hardware components to use it, offers the software for free, has regular upgrades (also free) and is kicking waves, sorry NI's derriere in this area.

    Oh and i forgot, NI( also has the gall to charge for upgrades for .x versions…

  • LastEmperador

    This is simultaneously annoying and interesting. On one side, piracy is certainly wrong at some level. In the last four weeks, iLok was cracked, leaving all of those expensive best of market plugins available for simple download. I have met some of these developers at AES and NAMM, and I always feel a little guilty thinking of the pirated copy on my computer. Here is a little color to the debate… The guys from Waves are talented, inspired and huge assholes. The have awful business policies and are complete snakes. They have done the shakedown on at least three studios I know of. This is yet another nail into the coffin of the public recording studio business. Now that dongles are cracked, there is really nothing left. The car/software analogy is silly, however the car/music analogy isn't. Approximately 80% of all music that is downloaded is illegally acquired. I'm sure the statistics for software are similar. A record in the early 90's that went gold was in feat of being physically pirated. There were tape copies to fear, and sales were still strong. As soon as duplication is FREE (unlike cars), as in digital distribution, this goes out the window. As internet speeds increased and sources widened, more and more music was downloaded. This certainly is bad for the big traditional music industry. People aren't responsible for their downloaded content, and aren't suddenly going to all stand up and do the "right thing". This is the state of affairs, and it will only continue moving in this highly distributable direction.

    We still need plugins, and we will still want new technology. R&D costs money. 10 illegal downloads for each legitimate is rough for the bottom line. So, now companies need to adapt their business practices to be profitable. Massey plugins for example, charges only $59 a plugin and free never dying demos, for very high quality product. Waves charges 10k+ for their bundles. Which is better? Since they are private companies, it's tough to tell. Back to record analogy, Radiohead having a pay-as-you-wish model is better bottom line than selling a select few $10,000 records to a dwindling market.

    Like most people, I buy some software and pirate others. I have hundreds of plugins, many that I don't even use very often. I like to try before I buy and if the price is right, and my budget is right, I do. It's not a perfectly ethical system, but I do buy thousands of dollars of software and thousands of dollars of hardware. Waves makes great software but I could certainly get along without it. If I pirate their stuff (all of waves 7 is easily attainable for PC and Mac now) I wouldn't feel much guilt. I do feel bad for the very small companies who really lose in these scenarios. Last time back to the record analogy, bands now make their money from licensing, merch and live shows. I have heard many stories of 5000 record selling bands that play soldout shows in medium sized venues across the US. For software, CDM and the like make good traffic ad revenues. These are the sources of income that might back new software development. That's the type of thinking that they will need to adapt.