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Topic: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

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  1. #1

    User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    N8 said to Bruce (some time ago) regarding the transfer of a user license:

    You said that no matter how you slice it a license gets granted to a person who hasn\'t paid the author for it. That my friend is nonsense. The author has already been paid for that liscense. The previous owner has been relieved of his license to use it which is now transfered to the new owner. You see? The license should be treated as physical property. You are right the property is not yours to sell, but the license to use it is. You OWN that license. YOU paid for it. You are not selling multiple licenses, just the one you bought. The author is in NO WAY getting ripped off.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I think this sums things up pretty good. What you buy, you can sell. Don\'t get confused by the ownership of the contents, it\'s never sold. Buy a music CD or a book, same thing. You\'re buying a license to listen and read, not the rights to the contents. When you\'re tired of listening or reading you can sell the right to someone else.

    Music CDs and books can not be freely quoted directly in your work as samples can, there\'s a difference. An issue could be what should happen to music you may have recorded in the past that contains these samples. Should you lose the right to use those songs as well? Should you have to make new mixes of your songs without those samples as you no longer have the right to use them? Or is just listening to those samples in a song context not to be regarded as use under the license? Perhaps only producing music with the samples should be regarded as use, as this is what they were intended for, they were never intended for listening to as is. In my opinion the latter seems more fair. After all, if you buy a Steinway grand piano, record a piano concerto and then sell the Steinway, you can still listen to and sell the music you made with it, right?

    Most software licenses can be transferred. The use of software is very similar to the use of sample CDs.

    Some developers claim they don\'t make money. That may be so, but it\'s really not related information. The reason they are not making money is primarily that their products are being illegally copied and distributed over the Internet to downloaders that can be counted in hundreds and even thousands. Another reason may be that the market is small. But none of these reasons have anything to do what is discussed here, it\'s just obscuring things to bring them in.

    And if we are talking about money; for a sample CD containing let\'s say a multisampled Steinway grand piano that sells for $99, how many copies would you have to sell to break even? I\'m only guessing here, but I would think that you are at least beginning to make profit after selling 100 copies. For a drum loop CD where every sound and loop is made from scratch the situation could of course be different, but that should in my opinion be reflected in the price, not in strange terms in the user license. And by the way, how much money are the sample CD company paying Steinway to use their sounds?

    Also, sample CD developers are commonly diminishing your user licence as well. If you own a studio you may not be allowed to let your recording artists use the samples. According to the analogy with the Steinway above that would be the same thing as if Steinway said nobody but the studio owner could play it. Or if Fender said nobody but the studio owner could use the Blues Junior amp he bought for the studio, or any other studio gear for that matter - you notice the absurdity in this situation, right? Of course you can\'t easily clone a Steinway and use it in several studio rooms at the same time and that should of course not be allowed for sample CDs either, but else you should have the right to use it as any other equipment you bought for your studio.

    Another issue is that many sample CDs contain samples of legacy instruments like Hammond organs, Fender Rhodes, Mellotrons etc, or even hardware synths and drum machines. Sometimes the sounds are copyrighted and bought by the company that sells the sample collection but in many cases they are making money out of sounds that was someone elses invention and who isn\'t making a dime from them bein re-used in this manner.

    If you want to drive a hard bargain, I guess you could say the sample CD companies are ripping someone off when they sample an instrument, be it a Steinway grand piano, a Fender Stratocaster or a Pearl drum kit. First of all they use the instrument in a way the manufacturer didn\'t intend, they make money on it\'s reputation and good sound. Secondly they are undermining the market for those manufacturers. Many studios go for a good sampled Steinway instead of the real thing. In what way is Steinway compensated for this by the sample CD companies?

    Let me tell you a little story: One famous guy in the business (I\'m sure you can figure out who) noticed that the old Roland drum machine sounds were being re-popularized by poor black guys from the streets. He then proceeded to buy the rights to these sounds so he could profit from this phenomenon. The result is he doesn\'t only own the rights to his own sample collections of those sounds, but he can also prosecute anyone who attempts to sample these Roland drum machines from scratch. Well the moral is that it was the poor man from the street that re-popularized the sounds from hardware that had long ago earned their fair share of money for Roland. Today those machine sounds ought to be regarded as public domain property. It\'s ugly when businessmen make bucks on stuff they didn\'t invent or popularize, just because they have the money to do so.

    You can of couse always argue that if you don\'t like the terms, don\'t buy it. But that\'s kind of a thin defense in my opinion, and you can still discuss the fairness of it all as you can with any commercial business methods.

    I hope at least someone managed to read this, even though there has been lengthy debates on this matter before.

    /Mats D

  2. #2

    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    Are you mentally attempting to define them as bad guys so you can establish moral grounds for pirating their content, and otherwise ignore the terms of their license agreements?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">That was a very cheap one indeed. I don\'t even care to comment further on it as there is nothing in my posting that suggests what you\'re implying.

    /Mats D

  3. #3
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    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    Awwgorrdd....

    I\'m not gonna post anything

  4. #4

    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    OK, here we go.

    I am strongly against all forms of software piracy, illegal filesharing of mp3 files of copyrighted music and anything else in this line that means you take something that you are supposed to pay for and that others honestly pay for. I fully support the sample CD vendors and other peoples efforts to put an end to this.

    But that doesn\'t stop me from criticizing the sample CD vendors when they punish the honest customers with unreasonable license terms. And it don\'t stop me from questioning the moral in sample vendors making money on other peoples efforts and inventions. I\'m just flipping the coin to get some perspective. A crook is a crook whether he is a teenage downloader of copyrighted software, music or movies, or whether he runs a company with questionable methods. I\'m suggesting, more specifically, that there may be more people around that ought to get paid for the content of some sample CDs. The vendors argue that they would like to be paid, right? Well, doesn\'t this apply to everyone? Why shouldn\'t Steinway, Fender or Pearl get paid if a sample CD vendor samples their instruments?

    And isn\'t it a cheap and questionable way to make money; to buy the rights to sounds from legacy drum machines that were lying forgotten in the closets worth next to nothing until some black guys thought they were cool to use for rap backgrounds, probably initially because they didn\'t cost much. Hell, if the air was for sale, I bet some company would buy it all and then charge people for breathing.

    Sample CD vendors are rather small crooks in the music business though, compared to the big record companies. Those guys really know how to rip artists and musicians off. I suppose you are aware of the now thankfully withdrawn legislation about regarding musicians work as \"work for hire\" that was initiated by the RIAA.

    I\'m in no way trying to justify piracy, regardless of who the pirate is.

    Satisfied?

    /Mats D

  5. #5
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    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    In fact, we\'re very fortunate: any recordings made with copyrighted samples is really a derivative work and could attract royalties for the sample copyright owner. Luckily they have relinquished that right in that same license agreement that everyone rants about.

  6. #6

    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    I\'m not saying there should be no terms at all for renting an apartment or for using the samples on a sample CD. I\'m just saying the terms should be just.

    If you rent an apartment it may be reasonable to exclude the possibility for the tenant to build trucks in the bathroom or having 14 people live there, using it as a bordello and a lot of other things. It could on the other hand be unfair to deprive him of the right to have his girlfriend live there or saying he can\'t have a dog in the apartment.

    I can\'t understand why it is necessary for sample CD vendors to make up terms for use of their products that differs from everyone else. What is the fundamental difference in buying a physical piano to your studio and letting all recording artists use it compared to buying a computer, a mother keyboard and a decent piano sample library and let all the recording artists use it exactly the same way?

    And I don\'t think sample CD vendors would favour from getting into royalty discussions, at least not if we are talking about sampled real life instruments like those I mentioned. I bet the manufacturers of those instruments would then also like a good share of those royalties. It also seems strange to speak of royalties for using a sampled piano the same way you would a physical piano. Or perhaps you also think that Steinway should start claiming royalties from everyone who bought their instruments everytime they use them in public?

    If you\'re a bona fide all american free enterprize hailing conservative son of a gun, you can claim that anyone can sell anything on any terms, but if you\'re just a little more liberal you recognize the necessity of some rules for the market economy to exist under and if you do, questions like those I raise about consumer rights are very valid. They may not be the most important ones in the big scheme of things, but they are still valid.

    /Mats D

  7. #7
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    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    In this world there are two kinds of products on the market: those that stand on their own legs and those that need a crutch to make them available at a fair price.

    Pianos sell at a price dictated by market forces, where a one off retail price, which the consumer is willing to pay, makes manufacture profitable, without the need for any protection. Other products need protective devices to provide an economic incentive for their development, such as patents, copyright and licence terms.

    New inventions need intial protection from patents to make the research and development worthwhile. Without patent there would be no technological advancement: no lightbulbs, no motorcar, no computer.

    Copyright protection exists to provide economic viability for the creation of copyable products.

    Licencing terms of sample libraries, prohibiting the resale of the library, are a way of supporting the economic viability of the development of the libraries. Without this fewer potential developers would risk their time and money, and those that did would ask much higher prices and probably have a monopoly.

    It is pointless comparing sampled pianos with real pianos and with music CDs or other software. The only question worth asking is: how can this particular product be made economically viable?

    Over time a particular status quo evolves in a Darwinian fashion: only the systems that work survive. The only mutation that would not be in the interest of the consumer is the appearance of a monopoly. The more developers the better. Protect them and they will compete to your benefit.

  8. #8

    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    Originally posted by MatsD:


    Let me tell you a little story: One famous guy in the business (I\'m sure you can figure out who) noticed that the old Roland drum machine sounds were being re-popularized by poor black guys from the streets. He then proceeded to buy the rights to these sounds so he could profit from this phenomenon. The result is he doesn\'t only own the rights to his own sample collections of those sounds, but he can also prosecute anyone who attempts to sample these Roland drum machines from scratch. Well the moral is that it was the poor man from the street that re-popularized the sounds from hardware that had long ago earned their fair share of money for Roland. Today those machine sounds ought to be regarded as public domain property. It\'s ugly when businessmen make bucks on stuff they didn\'t invent or popularize, just because they have the money to do so.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Huh?

    Because of my Roland connection, I have a strong feeling that this is supposed to be about me, so I want to set the record straight and stop an \"urban legend\" from growing (even if it was intended to be knocking someone else). This story couldn\'t be further from the truth. Your info is totally wrong, and your assumptions about our motivations are also WAY off.the mark.

    First of all, Roland Corp Japan is the owner of any legal rights to the classic drum machines you are referring to like the TR-808/606/CR-78, etc. Since these are not sample-based, they have some legal rights to the trademarks and some protection under something called \"soundmarks\", which is like a \"sonic trademark\" (a whole other topic in itself). Of course, I don\'t own any of these rights....they are 100% Roland\'s.

    Where this story may have it origins is that Spectrasonics has licensed many of our own samples to Roland for use in their sample-based drum machines and hardware instruments like the R-8 and the V-Drums, MC-909 and many other keyboards and sound modules. Where there becomes a huge problem for us, is when a competitor in the sampling business re-samples our copyrighted sounds from Roland instruments, and then sells them as their own sampling CD product (which consists of our samples!) Obviously this is a problem, because we licensed those sounds only to Roland (and it\'s users who are creating music with their instruments)...NOT to anyone wanting to make a quick buck off of reselling my sounds. This abuse has happened literally hundreds of times, with people trying to make a some easy money off of our hard work. (BTW, \"Sampling\" a drum sound off of a drum machine takes little to no effort at all, creating the original sound is an entirely different thing). So of course, when this happens, we make sure to stop this kind of activity of illegally distributing our samples.

    There\'s a vast moral difference in protecting my hard work from unscrupulous competitors trying to profit from my work, and your story of \"taking advantage of poor black guys on the street\". I\'m not trying to profit off of anything but my own sweat and hard work.....period.

    If you are going to make such claims against people in this business, you should really get your facts straight.

    Hope that clears things up.

    Eric Persing
    Creative Director, Spectrasonics
    Chief Sound Designer, Roland Corp

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    These discussions have a fatal flaw--the \"us versus them\" fallacy. It is simple, ugly prejudice.

  10. #10

    Re: User licenses revistited (oh no, not again!!)

    Changing the subject, a friend\'s client brought a drum sample CD to one of his (my friend\'s) sessions. The first thing on it was a kaiped sample of a drum sound my friend had created a decade earlier (from the Robert Palmer \'Addicted to Love\" intro). It\'s a very recognizable sound - delay on the BD, etc.

    His comment was: \"Yeah, that record came with a free drum sample!\" He has more of a sense of humor than I\'d have had.

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