We asked to hear from some actual studios targeted by plug-in maker Waves’ anti-piracy police (aka “banpiracy.com”). Here’s one report from Nick Buxton, via comments:

I haven’t read all the comments but wanted to add our experience; all our recording software is legal, we use uad plugs but wanted to see how waves worked; couldn’t get a demo version, so tried out a “copy” on personal projects; decided what we already had was better so decided not to buy; but didn’t erase the “copy”; stupid; now maybe we were denounced, although since we didn’t use it on any commercial projects, this is not likely; whoever is behind this, got a court order by claiming that we advertised wavelab on our website, which was true, and that wavelab belonged to Waves, which is not; result, visit from a court officer, examination of our computer, legal proceedings; now we could fight this; false information for a court order, no proof we used the software, we are a tiny company; etc etc… but this costs legal fees, time, stress; so we are considering taking up the offered “solution”, ie buy the plugs, probably have to pay some legal fees, but end of story; i am making no excuses; we were wrong; but this does not seem to me the best way to sell your product

WaveLab is, of course, developed by Steinberg, not Waves, though both have the word “wave” in it.

And we have heard from countless readers that people really do evaluate copies before purchasing. That’s why smart developers offer legit demo versions — and many, many do. They not only cut down on piracy, but reduce the number of people who skip a product completely because they can’t try before they buy. Of course, even those who don’t aren’t regularly in the habit of sending people unannounced to your studio. (Though that would be an interesting idea for tech support, one users might welcome. “Hi, just here to spray for bugs.”)

Updated: Waves really do have plug-in demos, so either this person was misinformed, or this isn’t the whole story, or both. (see comments)

Before we launch another piracy debate, I’ve been having plenty of informal conversations with major music developers since this came out. They’ve been pretty unanimous in my unscientific surveys. They all feel their business is getting hurt by piracy, by people who can afford to pay but don’t. But they do also value their relationship with their paying customers. And so far I haven’t found a single developer who thinks Waves’ banpiracy effort is a good idea. That’s little surprise, though, as so far there seems to be no evidence that banpiracy represents anyone other than Waves. (Now, as I said, this was unscientific, so if you’re a developer and you think banpiracy.com is a good idea, feel free to share.)

I think the issue of who is onboard and which products are being targeted is a relevant one, though. Let’s assume for a moment Waves’ tactics here are defensible. 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.