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Topic: Temporary licenses

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  1. #1

    Temporary licenses

    Now that there seem to be quite a few large libraries coming out with a matching price tag, many of you will find themselves in the same position as I am: you want to be able to use them, but you simply cannot afford to, nor will you be able to afford them in the near future (unless lady luck is smiling your way). So, I was thinking: in another thread Michiel Post mentioned the possibility of using demos of libraries that become unusable after a fixed period of time. That way you can get a good impression of the library, so that you know what you will be paying for.
    Now, if you take this one step further, you can introduce the same idea for temporary licenses. It would be liking hiring musicians for a recording session, only instead of musicians you get to use the sample library for a fixed period, e.g. a year. This would open the possibility for budget composers to work with a top class library without having to take a second mortgage on their house (if they are so lucky to own one). And for developers it would mean that their product is used for one year, and if the composer wants to use it again, well, you might offer him to buy the library against a lower fee (because of the money paid for the temporary license), or he would have the option to rent it for another year.
    What do you think of this idea?
    Of course, it can only work if such a protection mechanism of the license really is possible, and I do not have the knowledge to comment on that.

  2. #2

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Hi Jan,

    That\'s a very interesting concept, and perhaps we will see something similar coming up in the future.

    There\'s a few problems to this approach, though. The concept of a time limited license, as it applies to the software implementation, is really tricky.And, it opens the possibility of any such library being pirated, even further.

    Hiring a library is not the same as hiring an instrument. You hire a piano, and after the hiring period, you just take it back. There\'s no way around that. The physical instrument goes back to the company that rented it to you. With software things get murkier. Copies are made, hard drives are backed up, code is reverse engineered. For example, imagine that you back up your whole hard drive/s right after authorizing the library. And, you keep your temporary or project files on a different drive. The library asks for authorization again after a month. Just back up the original drive image. TADAAA!

    To be honest, with all the huge investments that have been made to produce these libraries, I am sure that great care will be taken by the developers to maximize profit and protect their intellectual property. But we\'ll see.

    We\'re talking here about high priced, professional libraries. Perhaps you and me, the occassional hobbyist, are not part of their target market. Why be so surprised about this? I might like to play the violin, but I don\'t go around demmanding to have a Stradivarius for a bargain sale price either.

    It would be nice though, wouldn\'t it? [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Ruben

  3. #3

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Yes, it would be easy to use an image over and over again, thereby circumventing the expiration date of your license.
    But, the protection of one\'s intellectual property has always been a problem, and software is no exception to that. I bet that as soon as any of the new major libraries will appear, you will see pirated versions on the internet. There still is not 100% safe way, and I don’t think that there will be a truly safe protection around soon (if ever). It has to do with honour and integrity, and to some people those words are without meaning. Still, if I were a developer of libraries, I would want to make it as hard for pirates as possible, and I definitely would implement a copy protection scheme. But, this is another issue already being discussed in the thread Bruce started about the new copy protection in GS version 3.
    What then would be an effective copyright protection so that temporary licenses become a viable option?
    How about license activation keys you can get through connecting to the license server? Drawback is that the user must have his GS machine connected to the internet, and there always is the possible problem of the license server being down. And this would probably mean that this feature would have to be implemented in the GS software, and this discussion is already going on in the thread I mentioned earlier. Not an easy topic, it offers many advantages, yet also disadvantages...
    Still, the idea of temporary licenses, being able to rent a library just like you would rent an instrument, is a very appealing thought.

  4. #4

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Rather than a time-based license, I have been thinking of the merits of a usage-based license. Music libraries have been doing it for years with large success (just ask BMI/Killer Tracks).

    It seems a bit unfair that if I score the local news bumper, I have to pay as much for the samples as the guy who\'s doing the next Lord of the Rings with it!

    I think a pricing structure that is based on end usage for the libraries might be the solution we\'ve all been waiting for to curb down pirates and encourage legitimate purchasing.

    Sure, the naysayers will imply that there is no way to police that. Well, that is not true, this would be policed the same way that current sample libraries are being policed, by monitoring usage and verifying legitimate ownership.

    I have always thought that there are lots of similiarities between library music and sample libraries.

    What do you guys think?

  5. #5

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Hello,

    I\'m with you guys that temporary licenses (or licenses based by use, like you said, midphase), are very attractive from the user\'s point of view.

    However, consider that everytime a library is sold to someone, that is a possible source of pirating (copying). The more you open the licensing structure to increase licensees (The more copies you sell), the more exposed you are to have the library pirated. And, the harder it is to keep track of who\'s using the library doing what, just because there\'s more people using it.

    Plus, look at the profit margin (if any) of pirates. I\'ve seen in news archives at deja.com people selling library cds like you would sell oranges (50 cds for $400, etc). With that kind of profit margin, I doubt anyone is going to buy a $10,000 in order to pirate it and make a profit out of it. And, the mental barrier against sharing that expensive instrument with others is higher for legitimate users. Like I imagine myself lending my tambourine to a friend, but I wouldn\'t lend my Stradivarius (If I had one, that is!)as easily.

    So, from a developers perspective, I doubt very much that these licensing options will materialize in the near future, unless the market goes wild with competition and everyone is desperate to get a piece of the cake.

    Midphase,
    Regarding the fact that you mention about it being unfair for a high priced composer to be able to afford one of these superlibraries, while you have to stick to more basic choices for the news bumper like you say, I do really think that has been always an issue merely imposed by the dynamics of offer/demmand. There will always be more sophisticated, and expensive tools that only a few can afford (This was much more evident before the age of software though), and I think that\'s not bad in itself. What would be bad would be lack of options, just getting stuck with a couple of libraries in your price range. But now, the market is much more open than a few years ago.And, I\'d really love to have a Ferrari to go to work too, but I can\'t afford it. So, I have learnt to love my crappy car and enjoy driving it.

    Ruben

  6. #6

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Heh... give me a library like that, and I\'ll pirate a full version in just a few hours.

    My point is that it\'s too easy.

  7. #7

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Originally posted by Six Black Roses:
    Heh... give me a library like that, and I\'ll pirate a full version in just a few hours.

    My point is that it\'s too easy.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">From your comment, it sounds like you have some experience pirating software?
    Either that, or you\'re being too optimistic.

    Ruben

  8. #8
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
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    Re: Temporary licenses

    The more you open the licensing structure to increase licensees (The more copies you sell), the more exposed you are to have the library pirated.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">No offense, but that\'s the silliest objection I\'ve ever heard. If you don\'t want a library pirated, don\'t release it, period.

    There will always be more sophisticated, and expensive tools that only a few can afford (This was much more evident before the age of software though), and I think that\'s not bad in itself.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I do, and I doubt I\'m alone. The distribution of creative tools to as many people as is economically possible is provably good for the sample developer, the recipient musicians, anyone who hears the musicians\' work and takes pleasure from it, anyone who is inspired by the musicians\' work to write their own...

    The requisite car analogy fails, as always, because it conflates fixed costs with marginal costs. A digital computer can do for the latter what would require Star Trek replicators in the Ferrari\'s case -- flip the economic supply model to be entirely dependent on R&D.

    In the simplest of demonstrations: if you found acceptable terms under which to license VSL to me for $500, that\'s about $480 of gross profit you won\'t get from me any other way (barring the proverbial Lottery ticket). The underlying principle is true whether the price you come up with is $5 or $50k.

  9. #9

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Ruben,

    I think you raise some valid points, but you are applying a certain logic that I do not necessarily agree with.

    On the subject that more purchases of a title leads to more pirated copies, I think you are misunderstanding my point of allowing less and less people to feel like pirating is their only choice. A lot of my friends pirate titles. To be quite hones with you, I don\'t really blame them. For the most part they have jobs that allow them to pay their bills with not much else left over. At the end of the day, they write some music as a form of relaxation and to feel special and happy. That music will never see the light of day outside of their close friends. They will never ever get paid for that music and will not make a career out of it. I understand that for them, paying $200-500 of their hard earned money for what basically boils down as a furm of recreation is just too much! I think they would prefer to be honest, but not at such high cost.

    I make a living writing music, for me it\'s different. I can afford to purchase some of the libraries out there as I need them (and can afford them). On my level, I feel that I can spend in the $200-1000 range for a library that will allow me to gather a wider clientele and further my career. It\'s a tax write off, it\'s a business expense, it\'s a necessity to stay competitive and working.

    Now, you are telling me that the value of those sounds should be the same for my friends as hobbists as it is for me as a professional? The law answers with a resounding yes, but in practice I would prefer that we didn\'t look at things so black and white.

    I think it comes down to the usual scenario....is it better for a developer to sell 100 copies at $200/piece or 1000 at $50/piece?

    The analogy of the Ferrari doesn\'t really stand due to the fact that in some cases, the Chevy isn\'t available at all. There is very little choice in these libraries, you either pay the prime rate or you\'re out of luck! Even the \"cheap\" libraries generally hover around $200. Where is the cheap car equivalent in this analogy?
    If I can\'t afford Pro Tools, I\'ll get an M-Audio card, but if I can\'t afford VOTA, where is my alternative? SOV? That\'s just as expensive!

    My point is, make the libraries affordable for those casual users, and piracy will diminish. We have to believe that the majority of humans would prefer to be honest!

    One last thing, let\'s not imply that knowledge about piracy is related to being a pirate oneself. Six Black Roses\' comments were right on the money as far as being very easy to find a pirated library. But that knowledge does not make him a pirate, nor does that make him guilty until proven innocent.

    I have a very low tolerance for those individuals who seem to prone to judge others\' sins so readily. I think that it would be very difficult to find even one single individual on these boards who has never used a piece of software that he wasn\'t supposed to, including the developers themselves.

    Let\'s all be cool and respect other\'s choices and individuality (whether we approve of it or not).

  10. #10

    Re: Temporary licenses

    Originally posted by midphase:
    Ruben,

    I think you raise some valid points, but you are applying a certain logic that I do not necessarily agree with.

    On the subject that more purchases of a title leads to more pirated copies, I think you are misunderstanding my point of allowing less and less people to feel like pirating is their only choice. A lot of my friends pirate titles. To be quite hones with you, I don\'t really blame them. For the most part they have jobs that allow them to pay their bills with not much else left over. At the end of the day, they write some music as a form of relaxation and to feel special and happy. That music will never see the light of day outside of their close friends. They will never ever get paid for that music and will not make a career out of it. I understand that for them, paying $200-500 of their hard earned money for what basically boils down as a furm of recreation is just too much! I think they would prefer to be honest, but not at such high cost.

    I make a living writing music, for me it\'s different. I can afford to purchase some of the libraries out there as I need them (and can afford them). On my level, I feel that I can spend in the $200-1000 range for a library that will allow me to gather a wider clientele and further my career. It\'s a tax write off, it\'s a business expense, it\'s a necessity to stay competitive and working.

    Now, you are telling me that the value of those sounds should be the same for my friends as hobbists as it is for me as a professional? The law answers with a resounding yes, but in practice I would prefer that we didn\'t look at things so black and white.

    I think it comes down to the usual scenario....is it better for a developer to sell 100 copies at $200/piece or 1000 at $50/piece?

    The analogy of the Ferrari doesn\'t really stand due to the fact that in some cases, the Chevy isn\'t available at all. There is very little choice in these libraries, you either pay the prime rate or you\'re out of luck! Even the \"cheap\" libraries generally hover around $200. Where is the cheap car equivalent in this analogy?
    If I can\'t afford Pro Tools, I\'ll get an M-Audio card, but if I can\'t afford VOTA, where is my alternative? SOV? That\'s just as expensive!

    My point is, make the libraries affordable for those casual users, and piracy will diminish. We have to believe that the majority of humans would prefer to be honest!

    One last thing, let\'s not imply that knowledge about piracy is related to being a pirate oneself. Six Black Roses\' comments were right on the money as far as being very easy to find a pirated library. But that knowledge does not make him a pirate, nor does that make him guilty until proven innocent.

    I have a very low tolerance for those individuals who seem to prone to judge others\' sins so readily. I think that it would be very difficult to find even one single individual on these boards who has never used a piece of software that he wasn\'t supposed to, including the developers themselves.

    Let\'s all be cool and respect other\'s choices and individuality (whether we approve of it or not).
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi Midphase,

    I hear your comments about the relative value versus immovable price of libraries for different people. You\'re very right. I, myself, have been many times pissed off by that...should we say \"poetic injustice\". After all, if I\'m not going to be able to afford a very expensive library, the developer is not making any money, so why not sell it to me for as much as I can afford?

    I think that temporary licenses, or maybe license cost scaling based on profit like you are suggesting(whoever makes more money with it, pays more for it), is a very good ideal, and very revolutionary thinking. Even more, wouldn\'t that be more fair than the blind cost , one-price-for-all approach?

    I however think that it\'s not feasible from the developer\'s point of view. When we live in an ideal world, or there\'s a way to enforce that, maybe...(Hey, maybe the much maligned GS 3.0 will afford such a possibility!) [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    You\'re right about upcoming libraries supposing a \"Quantum Leap\" (pun intended) with respect to older libraries, specially for professional composers like you. But still, if you pros have gotten around for such a long time with the old stuff, why say it\'s of no value now?

    Regarding my comment to Six Black Roses, I was really being sarchastic. I asked if he had some experience pirating, or if he was being optimistic, how did I judge him? (Sorry if it didn\'t come out that way, maybe I should have said \"cracking\" as in breaking code, as opposed to \"pirating\", as in profiting from other people\'s work by engaging in commerce of the \"cracked\" or copied code). I really think that pirating these libraries, specially if new encrypted distributions linked to GS are enforced, won\'t be such a piece of cake. That was my point, I\'m sorry to have offended you, but still.

    So, I apologize again to you and Six Black Roses, even though it wasn\'t my intention to be Judge Ruben [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] . Believe me, I\'m more crooked than I sound like [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Take care,

    Ruben

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