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Topic: Can I give music software away for free?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2002
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    Los Angeles CA
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    Can I give music software away for free?

    Hi,

    I know the fine print on most music software negates me from reselling it. However, I have some software that I don't use anymore that I'm sure someone could benefit from... mainly Giga samples and guitar loops.

    Can I give it away... maybe on ebay?

    Thanks,
    Jon

  2. #2

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWB
    Hi,

    I know the fine print on most music software negates me from reselling it. However, I have some software that I don't use anymore that I'm sure someone could benefit from... mainly Giga samples and guitar loops.

    Can I give it away... maybe on ebay?

    Thanks,
    Jon
    It really negates you from giving them away as well. However, many manufacturers will authorize a license transfer (usually for free - and if a nominal fee is involved, the receiver would of course pay it), so you could contact each of them and ask.

    And, I don't think ebay is the way to do it. In fact, you can just send me all your giga samples if you'd like... I'd be glad to have them.

  3. #3

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    I will be happy with any giga trumpets brass myself.

  4. #4

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWB
    Hi,

    I know the fine print on most music software negates me from reselling it. However, I have some software that I don't use anymore that I'm sure someone could benefit from... mainly Giga samples and guitar loops.

    Can I give it away... maybe on ebay?

    Thanks,
    Jon
    No. The license agreements on most software and certainly music sample libraries are written as such that you do not own the software to do with whatever you please. They are license agreements which mean that you as an individual paid the company a fee which will give you the license to use their product in your work. The discs and such are just a delivery method for getting their software to you.

    Any new person who you might even give it to does not have a license to use that software in their work and as such would have to pay for that right with the software company.

    As mentioned, some companies will allow you to transfer the license to another individual...usually for a nominal fee and this would be the legal way to do it.

    But...such is the BIG difference between owning a tangible product like a car or a house and acquiring a license to use a product, which is what computer software does pretty much across the board.
    Regards,
    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
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    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    The license agreements on most software and certainly music sample libraries are written as such that you do not own the software to do with whatever you please.
    Just because it's written down doesn't make it so.

    JWB: post the licenses. If you want to be sure, ask a lawyer friend. There is no way to answer the question in general.

  6. #6

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Berg
    Just because it's written down doesn't make it so.

    JWB: post the licenses. If you want to be sure, ask a lawyer friend. There is no way to answer the question in general.
    Richard - are you saying that the conditions of sale re the license agreements arent watertight, legally speaking? Have you seen this successfully challenged?

    Thanks.

  7. #7

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gesticulator01
    Richard - are you saying that the conditions of sale re the license agreements arent watertight, legally speaking? Have you seen this successfully challenged?
    I think it largely depends on where it's being challenged. Particular license terms written by a US company may conflict with EU consumer laws, e.g., and could voided by a judge in the case of an "illegal transfer"....

    Come on, there are some lawyers floating around these parts... what say ye?

  8. #8

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Should we examine the case from an ethical point of view?

    2 points I can see

    1. He wants to give them away
    2. The library are still one sale (are they actually?)

    If 2 stands true then this could make losses in the company, and thus it could be a bad idea. If 2 stands false, then I would say that there shouldn't be much of a problem...

    Other than that, someone is offering something. I don't personally need it, but I can only say bravo to him!

  9. #9

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    Here's a recent case where a court found a 'click-thru' license invalid, in spite of the customer accepting it. It's not music-related, but it is relevant as case law is built.

    http://bnablog.bna.com/techlaw/2007/...ation_cla.html

    I think you'll find that *no* software company wants to go to court over their terms of use agreement, because they're scared to death that the decision will come down against them.

  10. #10

    Re: Can I give music software away for free?

    The reason the Second Life thing is in contention is because part of the contract was considered unconscionable. This means that while the rest of the agreement might have been sound, that particular part was considered ethically wrong.

    That is NOT the case here with music software. Music software and samples are copyrighted intellectual property. The creators have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute it however they please. That copyright is not transferred to you when you buy the software. You simply receive a non-exclusive, limited license to use the software for a specific set of purposes. The company - being the owner of the copyright - dictates exactly how that works.

    This concept of licensing intellectual property in a non-exclusive, limited manner has existed for decades and is basically accepted on a worldwide basis. It's not unconscionable, it's not unethical. Composers and musicians rely on such laws regularly to ensure that they are properly compensated for their work. Without a system like this, if you licensed a song for use on a TV show, someone could simply take your song and use it in other TV shows, video games, films, etc. without your consent and without paying you, because they'd OWN the copyright. The publishing industry would fall apart.

    If 2 stands true then this could make losses in the company, and thus it could be a bad idea. If 2 stands false, then I would say that there shouldn't be much of a problem...
    This isn't really relevant, at least as far as the law is concerned. Whether or not there is commercial interest does not impact whether or not you have the right to usurp someone else's copyright. If I am selling a musical album, I run out of copies, and decide not to print any for three years, I do not give up my right to reproduce/distribute and sell the album, and no one is allowed to copy or download it at will.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

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