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