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  1. #1


    After having made the transition to a completely "virtual" studio within the last year, I find myself spending a ridiculous amount of time dealing with software updates, upgrades, registrations, etc., and as a result it feels like I spend more time getting ready to make music than actually making music these days. There are two major areas in which software companies could make all of our lives a little easier: registration/copy protection and staying current (version updates).

    Here's a real-life example. Among dozens of other products, I own Native Instruments' Komplete bundle and most of East West's line, all of which use Native Instruments playback engines. For every one of those plugins, I've had to go to their website before I even install anything to make sure I have the most recent version (install discs are rarely up to date). That's a given with any company. However, just try finding an obvious "Updates" link on their homepage; this should be one of the main tabs on any software site, yet it's a small text link halfway down the page. Then of course you have to log in, and then you get something about protected updates vs. unprotected updates, and so on. Why all the hassle - if you don't own the software, what good is a "protected" update going to do? I don't mean to pick on N.I., but this is just an obvious example of things being much more complicated than necessary.

    In most cases, it's like jumping through hoops to find the most recent version of something; web sites are often poorly organized. It should be as simple as having one web page with a list of all current products, clearly showing the current version (and date posted!) of each.

    Here's an even easier approach, yet it's rarely done: a plugin window should have its version number plainly visible somewhere - maybe in a corner. You shouldn't have to click on some "magic spot" or go digging for it. Then, there should be a button (or at least a menu item) that says "check for updates." Clicking on this should connect to the company's web site, look for a more recent version and download it automatically if available.

    As of now I have to go to my computer's plugin folder and look for each plug's version number manually. Often it's not even listed there, so how am I supposed to know if it's current? Then it's off to the web site for each plugin, try to find the current version, log in with my password and serial number to download it (now where did I put that "passwords" database I created)... and so on.

    Back to the example. I own several computers in my studio, and I also administer several computers for some of my clients. Now multiply the headache of staying up-to-date by each computer I have to deal with, and it becomes a full-time job. Then imagine I replace a machine with a newer model, or that I have to do an OS re-install. I have to jump through all those hoops again: install, register, check for updates, etc. - for every plugin on every computer! It could be so much simpler if companies simply adopt some common-sense ideas like the one I described above (everything should be done directly from the plugin itself).

    As for copy protection, it's been addressed before, yet companies still punish legitimate users by using time-consuming, inconvenient or just plain bizarre methods while pirates still find ways to use the software for free. I know that companies need to protect their products, but for the sake of our time and sanity, try to find a balance between the need to protect and the need to be transparent. It really is a major hassle, not to mention unfair, for legitimate users to deal with some of the methods employed.

    Here's hoping! In the meantime, I hope to be making music sometime soon...

    Jim Daneker
    Music Production & Programming
    Thompsons Station, TN (USA)

  2. #2


    Jim, I agree. In fact I've been considering sending a similar letter to Keyboard and/or EQ regarding these very issues. It's absolutely CRAZY. I actually own some softwares I never use because it's too much trouble to get the authorizations updated, or to get the updates off the web. Why in the world do companies make life so difficult?

    And as for copy protection... I know this horse has been shot many times, but I fear it may never die. Honestly I'm more than sick and tired of it. Just last week for no less than the 4th or 5th time I ran into a software authorization issue with a software I 100% own. (In fact I own all my software and I drive everyone else crazy preaching to them about honesty). The guys in the studio with me started haggling me because My HONEST version doesn't work and their cracked versions do. Now how the HECK can a company expect people like me to compete with that? The hacks work but the honest copies don't? It's stupid is what it is. Honest people are being punished for being honest, and dishonest people will continue to be dishonest. I'm fed up with it and it's to the point where in my spirit I want to tell my hacker friends to give me a copy of everything I own so I can have WORKING COPY! Now how does that make any sense?

    I love software because it makes my creativity soar to new levels. I hate the managment behind the companies who thinks making life miserable for their users will translate into more money. What will eventually happen is they will still go out of business... and probably still from copy infringement, but infringement from honest users who finally gave up. People who couldn't update to the most current AU version because of some screwed up copy protection CGI script that the browser wouldn't recognize...

    I really feel it's time honest users speak up and let the world know we don't deserve to be treated this way either. We're all suffering because of dishonest people but treating us like criminals is no way to make it right. And that's how I feel. I'm actually scared to call some companies (Who will go nameless at this time) and try to get my authorization worked out because I've been treated poorly. Everytime I call I get treated like I'm trying to steal. I'm scared to reinstall my system OS. in fact I NEED to do this on my main machine, it's got a bunch of crap I need to get rid of, but I'm afraid I'll never get it running right again. This is the craziness that copy protection has led to.

    And it's fueld by in my opinion greed and paranoia. Greed because the developers think they will make more money if all the people using their products paid, and paranoia because they all think the whole world is bad.

    Let me say There are some companies who have been wonderful to work with. Some companies don't have any protection and it's never a problem for me to use the tools I purchased. Some companies like Spectrasonics have made it pretty easy (in my opinion) to use their software. But there's some companies who have made it so difficult that I've actually said to myself "I'll never buy anything from them again". But then I think "BUt I want to use their tools". So where does that reasoning lead? Piracy. They piss us off, but then they make tools we want. So it leads to stealing because you get the best of both worlds... you get the tools you want and you don't give them money when they're acting like butts.....

    Now again I repeat I am THE BIGGEST proponent of paying for your tools. I have people make fun of me for my persistence in honesty..... but I'll be honest when I say my patience is worn as thin as it can get. If I had a full working crack of every software I OWN I'd wipe my machine tomorrow and have a new OS installed... and I bet my machine would be working better.

    This is truly an issue that needs to be addressed on a large scale, where developers and users alike can have a voice. A legitimate voice.

  3. #3


    personally all this registration stuff is killing me too...i am running 3 pc's next to each other and my main DAW i try to keep away from networking and the internet so have to transfer these registration files with gig sticks !! a real pain !!

    i would prefer a usb patch bay say with 10 usb slots and every one running on a dongle and that's it

    if you have 10 programs you have 10 dongles and its plug and work...this would be the easiest i think !!

    yes some users hate dongles but its realy better than re registering everything again and again and again

  4. #4


    yeah-but sometimes dongles can be a pain too.
    I have several of those and lately Steinberg forced me to download an update for Halion Player and Apple wanted me to update the firmware on my XS key.
    And then there are the poor souls who are suffering from issues related to ilok.......


  5. #5


    No Dongles suck too. Certainly for software instruments. I have at least 2 and sometimes 3 computers running to get all my samples up and going. Dongles mean I have to duplicate everything, which is really not cool. I really appreciate the fact that Spectrasonics will let me install the software I PAID FOR on multiple machines. This enables me to keep working. I can work on my laptop without a dongle. I can work at home, I can switch between the two.

    Even Logic I hate because of the dongle. I bought Logic Express just so I could comp vocals on an airplane and it still doesn't work right. It's stupid. I have to drag my key everywhere to use logic but frankly the keys and dongles take away from the convienience of working on my laptop. I have this thing hanging out. more than once I've just about ripped my USB Port out of my laptop.

    Sibelius - I've practically quite using notation programs because I can't have sibelius authorized on both my computers at once. If I'm sitting at a coffee shop and have inspiration (which occurs more often then one might think) I have to write out by hand, because I didn't leave the house with the license transferred to my laptop.

    Simply put, CP has made it so difficult that when inspiration hits, often the tools aren't available. I've had sessions completly shut down because of CP. I had a whole band set up and ready to go once. My G4 died. I pulled in my laptop, put Pro Tools on it and was all ready to go, except I couldn't find my installation manual with my Serial number. COME ON! I can't run Pro Tools without the hardware anyway, why the heck do I need a serial number to authorize it!

    Here's the bottom line. it's stupid it's stupid it's stupid. And it's time the users who ARE legit quit allowing ourselves to be bullied by the software companies who can't figure out how to make people honest.

    Now, I'll also add that legit users who know of illegal users need to also help by making people feel like crap if they're illegal. But honestly, 4 years ago I had people telling me "I just download the software because they're making so much money it doesn't matter"

    I have great arguments for that. I can make a person feel like a complete dick with that argument. And 4 years ago about twice a month I ran into someone with that argument.

    NOW Almost every day I deal with someone who's argument is "Well I quit buying software because I can't ever get it to authorize right. I just download it because it works". And I can verify these people USE to be legit users. How can I argue for a development company when they make it so hard to use?

    I've QUIT! I've officially quit making people feel bad when they steal software because the companies made it easier to steal then to be honest. I simply say "I understand, I feel bad stealing so I can't do it but I understand and I don't blame you".

    Now I haven't stooped to the level of stealing, but it's time software companies quit treating HONEST users like criminals and start working with us. WE ARE THEIR FRIENDS! WE WANT TO HELP.

    Some time ago Garritan did a survey and made it pretty clear on NS that from their reports CP doesn't add that much $$$ to sells. People who couldn't buy still don't buy, and people who wanted to buy still bought. Maybe a few people stole less, but those people wouldn't have bought anyway. And several people who would have stolen, didn't get the software to play with and never bought. However many people who initially stole the software eventually turned into honest users. Mostly because of support, and the reality that most people who make money with something truly want to be honest about it.

    I'd be interested to know what Gary's follow up is on those posts. I think it was about a year ago.


  6. #6


    These are great points and you guys are expressing them very well.

    It's a serious issue for users and developers have to respond with solutions that make sense.

    One thing we're thinking about doing at Spectrasonics is improving our system even further, by making it possible to quickly authorize all your Spectrasonics instruments in one go. That way, when your setting up a new computer or a fresh hard drive, the process of visiting our site for your new authorizations can be a short as possible. It'll take a little time for us to implement this, but it's something we think will help with the whole business of reinstalls and getting going faster....after all, you want to get back to creating music as fast as possible.

    One way that I think we'll start thinking about this is like a reinstall is like a pit stop in a Formula 500 race....the faster you can get it done...the better!


    PS. I know end-users would prefer to think that copy protection makes no difference to sales for developer, but I see continuing evidence every week that it does make a huge difference. We know many professional users that use pirated copies of our unprotected sample libraries, but PAY for the protected instruments...and the evidence is ongoing and massive. I would never go back to totally unprotected products, but at the same time, I strongly believe it is our duty to make the process as fast and as generous as we possibly can. So far, the response from our users has been really good, but I know we can do it even better...so there's always ways to improve the system and make it more convenient while still keep the primary goals of limiting casual copying.

  7. #7


    Thanks Eric for taking part in this discussion. I did mention that your companies authorization is among the easiest. I think your policy is actually great because I've been able to authorize all my machines and use them every time I want. One exception was when some file got coruptted but your tech guy walked me straight through it and we got it working in no time. A far cry from some other companies who, like I said, treat EVERYONE like a criminal.

    The feeling I have often recieved is "you're a criminal until proven liscensed" which makes no sense honestly. I think I can speak for all honest users in saying an honest fair discussion between users and developers would go a long way in making everyone happy. We all need each other, so there's no reason to make the other's mad. Let's just work together.

  8. #8


    Lots of great points made here. I would only add;

    - always keep old update patches, make a folder on a hard drive, or burn a cd. Sometimes new updates cause more problems.

    - Recently many of my updating woes were curtailed by buying Kontakt 2. I dont have to worry about updating Storm Drum, RA, Gold, Kompakt, Intakt players cause they can all play out of K2. I also dont have to worry about a gazillion DFD patches anymore. Phew!

    These suggestions dont fix the problem at hand, I agree that its ridiculous. Spectrasonics are definetely the most painless in terms of authorisation. No silly two-machine deal either.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  9. #9
    Senior Member Patthoven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Chicago, Illinois


    Hi Guys

    Let me distract your justified anger for a moment......... walk down the street and look at gas prices today!!!!!! Sorry for the OT diversion, but man,.....its no wonder everyone is feeling pinched!!!!!

    OK back to the argument.............

  10. #10


    I would also like to support the cause of this thread. It really is quite rediculous what most companies require. I am also in agreement that I think Spectrasonics strikes a great balance. Especially if they add the new master authorization system Eric mentioned. That would be a great feature!

    One thing that would be even better (although probably not practical) would be to have the industry create an organization to handle authorizations across companies. If we could have one place to go to authorize all of our pro audio products all in one shot using a setup like Eric mentioned, but for all products, that would take away much of the pain that users complain about. Not really practical for obvious reasons without major collaboration by highly competitive companies, but still would be I think ideal for users...


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