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Topic: A reluctant pirate?

  1. #1

    A reluctant pirate?

    A reluctant pirate?

    In my journey from Windows 3.1 through to Windows 7, I have gone from borrowed or cracked copies of Encore 3, Sibelius 1.1, Finale 2000, Logic 5.5, to paid versions of Sibelius 6.2, Finale 2003, GPO 4, MusicXml, PhotoScore 7, Synthfont and Reaper.

    Borrowed and cracked versions have enable me to try these programmes more thoroughly than "demo" versions, which are incomplete, or do not save etc.

    I used Exreme Sample Converter to convert the DLS samples from Virtual Music Synthesiser into Sf2's, as VSL in W2K upset my printers! Is it legal to recycle obsolete programmes in this way?

    Problem no.1:
    In my solo string libraries, (XSampler, and Kirk Hunter), I need to add several notes to the top of the ranges, so I need Kontakt.. but I really do not need their 43GB of libraries, even at 250€ crossgrade; So, I could either find a Kontakt crack, or, record the K-player output (in 15-minute sessions!), construct the high notes in Audacity, and create Sf2's for Synthfont, or Sfz's for Aria. Maybe legal for my own use, but less so for mp3's for my students?

    I "torrented", then erased, the K2 libraries to test the orchestral sounds: I prefer my GPO. Why can't I download Kontakt 5 without the libraries, for, say, 79€ ? It makes me want to use a crack, but I didn't say that!!

    Problem no.2:
    My colleagues use Finale 2008. I export fairly well from Sibelius to my Finale 2003 via MusicXml, and they can import the file into Finale 2008. They can do the reverse process (with 2 xml conversions!). Unlike sibelius, Finale does not save into an earlier version, which is stupid, as this encourages decent folk like me to use a cracked Finale 2008..(only for such exchanges, though).

    Problem no.3:
    I have (only) two places of teaching work: on both reserved computers I am sorely tempted to install a cracked Sibelius, to avoid carring my laptop everywhere; I would not be using these cracks at the same time as my two registered copies, and my colleagues don't touch these computers, so...

    Problem no.4:
    Unobtainable older software, or unobtainable registration, for older machines..

    Reactions, before they come to lock me up?


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Stoke on Trent, UK

    Re: A reluctant pirate?

    I think that most readers will have an element of sympathy for your problems.
    And to be fair, I think that 99% of the readers will have engaged in some form of pirating/copying/illegalities even in a small way at one time or another.

    However, I can't sympathise really. I have been offered and indeed given pirate copies in the past, all of which were refused or binned.

    I can see that a pirate version is potentially better than a demo IF and only IF you then get rid of the pirate and buy the real version straight away. But I don't agree with the illegality of it (and I'm not being aggressive in my reply, just commenting on the fly).

    Also, over the years, you must surely have realised that many of these cracks/pirates/torrents/whatever you want to call them, are "iffy" and introduce problems to the operating systems and so on. Folks have frequently told me that this is the case.

    Let's look at your problem number 1 - why add top notes to your string libraries? Was the original so badly written that, say, a violin section didn't have all the notes it was capable of reaching? Bad purchase then. The only other reason for doing this seems to be that you want to compose outside of the range of the real instrument - bad musicianship and no excuse for piracy. And what are you teaching your students?

    Problme number 2 - welcome to the wonderful world of music software! Versions change before you've exhausted the potential of your current version (even Eric Persing hasn't exhausted Omnisphere yet!). You get OS upgrades and incompatibilities, fairly cheap upgrades to version xx.xx, which in fact are bug fixes that you have to pay for.
    We all have to deal with that and sadly, soft synths may be cheaper than hardware but it's not a cheap "hobby" when you have to keep upgrading.
    Manufacturers play on people's (anorak's) desires to have an extra red button or big bell and in the end, we all get fleeced.

    However, in defence of the manufacturers - it's a market economy and everyone is after market share. If they are developing, and paying people to develop improvements, why should some get the benefits for free (pirates) and others have to pay?

    One particular set of synths I can remember were the Superwave Pro, Trance Pro etc. Lovely guy developed them and sold them. He was very helpful to me personally. Then the cracks appeared on the web and he stopped supporting or developing as far as I know. Surely you cannot agree with that because you can't afford them. You're prepared to rob someone else of their livelihood though.

    Same goes for your problem 4 - companies cannot continue to fully support older versions, especially when OS upgrades make those versions unuseable anyway.

    Newer versions ultimately are for the end user. I have a very good 27 gear mountain bike. Would I want to go back to the old days of 3-speed Sturmey Archer? No thanks. Would a cycle manufacturer do well in the market place with a 5 gear bike when everyone else had advanced to 30 speed? I think not.

    Basically, if you can't afford the hobby, take up something else.

    Problem 3 - and this basically encompasses all your other problems too.
    You mention you have 2 places of work and would like to pirate or clone software to each place.
    How do you get to these places? Do you steal a car every day and then dump it in the same way you treat Kontakt Libraries (oh you remove the engine though and trash the rest don't you)?

    Do you have an old banger but steal the petrol to drive to these places?
    Do you have road tax, insurance, a driving licence?

    There is no difference to tangible, visible crime and software piracy over the ether.
    Sorry, I can sympathise to some extent, but you have to find your own affordable workarounds.

    Oh, and by the way, as a teacher, what sort of example are you giving to your students?
    How long before you offer them cracked copies for their homework?

    How are you helping to teach them the other aspects of life - like respect for other people's properties, businesses et al?

    And the type of reply you were expecting was.............. ?????????
    Neil B
    Pentium 4 PC Windows XP Home 32 bit 3.6 Ghz, Omnisphere, Stylus RMX, Trilian, Kontakt 3, GPO 3, EWQLSC, Scope Pulsar II, Cubase 4.5

  3. #3

    Re: A reluctant pirate?

    NeilB, thanks for the kind of reply I was expecting! May I try to raise an iota more sympathy?!

    With my students, (and colleagues), I am very strict about copyrights and licenses with scores and software.

    But, my wish to extend copies of Sibelius may be illegal, but morally no different from using my own dongle on several installations of Cubase. I have willingly paid to use this great programme. Also, I borrow a violin, but bring my own viola, and I don't see the stolen car analogy: I would not be depriving Sibelius of any revenue, just lightening my bag! No-one at home uses Sibelius when I am not there. (I am allowed two installations, in my case desktop & laptop). I recommend MuseScore (freeware) to students wanting to try score editing ; we can use MusicXml to exchange with Sibelius (which they do not use.)

    Sibelius 6 can save in versions 5, 4, 3, & 2 formats; Finale 2011 only in 2011 format - where is the respsect for the customer?.....
    I still use, and repair, (reverse engineering?!) my old 3-speed bike, and even lend it!
    My fiddles are over 100 years old! They are repaired with old wood and hide glue..

    Neither of my (paid!) string libraries have as many notes as my violin & viola students and I play. There was absolutely no way of knowing this before buying the libraries, (or not that I know of). They are superb libraries, and I am in contact with their authors for workarounds. (GPO4 has full, or extendable, ranges but the solo strings are less convincing.

    I have only used cracks for discovery, or workarounds, always paying for the progammes I choose, just as I buy books or Cd's when available.
    Incidently, out-of-print scores can be photocopied with paid permission from the publishers - perhaps software publishers could do the same..

    I pay for, or donate to, software from "small", independent developers; it is difficult to have the same respect for conglomarates who swallow them up and spit them out! (I'm thinking of Giga, and I worry about MisicXml and Garritan being bought out MakeMusic, as well as the future of Sibelius..)


  4. #4

    Re: A reluctant pirate?

    A technical question:
    While it is illegal to complete the range of my violin samples with a cracked full Kontakt, am I allowed to take them to a friends house and use his paid Kontakt, then bring them home to use in Free K-player in 15-minute sessions? After all,Wwile I am doing this, my friend cannot use his computer, just I cannot read the book I lent him.

    Moral questions:
    Using more than 2 copies of my registered Sibelius is nothing like stealing an anorak or a car, (where the owner is deprived of his possesions), but rather more akin to borrowing a friend's car and "forgetting" to refill the tank. Abuse rather than theft?

    Copying my own violin teacher's publications would be illegal, but should I be paying royalties on the non-written wisdom she imparted to me?

    I have two excellent USB soundcards which work fine on (pre-installed) XP, but not in Win7. No new drivers will be available.
    I am quite prepared to pay Microsoft for a new XP licence to install in multiboot or in a virtual disc, but they refuse. (Their virtual Xp available for Win7 has an insufficient virtual sound card, and won't accept my USB cards). Respect for the customer again?

    If Citroën no longer make parts for my 2CV, there is no law preventing me from using substitute components. Or is there?..


  5. #5

    Re: A reluctant pirate?

    Hey everyone! This is my first post in the forum. I have been reading and was a member for a while but I decided to dip my toe now. This topic seems to be a great start since I also have been thinking about these issues Adrian has opened up for debate.

    I believe, there are 3 important problems that cause piracy and copyright infringement :

    1) The publishers (or developers, or companies) resist to acknowledge that the digital medium is different than the physical one, and insist on imposing the values associated with using physical products.

    2) The companies deal with piracy at the expense of giving the paying customers serious headaches.

    3) The companies treat all of their customers as if they have the same conditions.

    The first and the second problems are echoed in the metaphor above that compares installing Sibelius to another machine with stealing cars. Unfortunately, it is difficult for some people (I believe, for the third reason as will describe in a minute) to understand that piracy is not exactly as the same thing as stealing a physical object (a car, in this instance). But even before discussing this, it is quite necessary to ask the question "why am I not allowed to install the software I own to as many machines as I want?". It is not exactly logical to answer that "it doesn't matter if you are the only user for it, you must purchase a licence for all computers you intend to install it to." In your case, Adrian, it might just be a matter of convenience. But what I really suspect is that, this machine limitation is probably a measure to prevent piracy; if you can only install the software you own to a two machines, you will probably not give away your second chance to someone else. Or, worse, that company is trying to make a profit causing you inconvenience. In other words, if there were no piracy, the machine limitation won't exist. So my question is, isn't there a way to prevent piracy without hurting the customers that have already paid?

    Secondly, it IS a digital product. This means the means of production are incomparably different than a physical one. Which means the means of profit can dramatically change (I used too many "means"!). Most discussions of piracy come down to this now clichee question "so you think stealing the software is OK, but did you steal the computer you use?". The answer is almost always, "no". But isn't there a difference between selling a computer and selling software? Most certainly, the software does not need constant production in a factory after the unit has been designed, assembly line work, transporting, carrying, storing, displaying in a store, etc.; at least not anymore. So, why does this not affect the prices?

    Actually, if we look at Apple's App Store, we can see that it has been successful for the reasons above. They don't trouble their customers with piracy issues, and they sell software comparably cheaper (of course, Apple does not decide on the prices). Everyone's happy. The customer pays $10 insted of $100 and the developer sells to 10 insted of 1 (or maybe even more). One might say "oh, but these are just everyday software that no one profits using them so they CAN be cheaper, whereas developers that make professional software must keep the prices higher", and this would bring me to my third point:

    Not everyone starts profiting from these software right away. Or even, not everyone wants to profit anyway. But it seems that professional software is being priced with the highest earning customer in mind. Since someone might be earning a six figure amount from a project that might use the X sample library, the price should be kept high. But what about the new customers that just want to learn about the software, or the market, or want to improve their skills and talents? The typical answer is that "these are top notch software, so you shouldn't use them unless you are in that professinonal level anyway". But how to get to that level, then, without learning to use them along the way. Also, I don't think that this can be similar to hardware or computers as most hardware behave similarly in any price range (from a user's point of view) whereas the usage of software changes drastically.

    Now, this does not mean that I support piracy. On the contrary, it should be eliminated as soon as possible for the good of everyone. But I don't think that most of the developers approach this in the correct way. Actually, I believe that what I proposed above can make developers earn even more lowering their prices, or thinking about other kinds of payments for licencing. Just take a look at the computer games industry, where piracy is the easiest and was the most common. Now, they profit much more than professional software developers lowering their prices when necessary, switching to the subscription systems when possible, attracting new customers allowing them to use their complete products for free (for a while) and not bothering them with machine limitations (at least, as far as I know, Steam does not care about that).

    Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to present my views about what the developers can do to stop piracy in a user friendly way. I hope I won't be misunderstood.

    Oh, and the way, I cannot agree more about Kontakt 5 and the library! And I also had the same problem about carrying a laptop to work where I teach. I solved it making the institution buy me another a copy of sibelius for my computer in the school.


  6. #6

    Re: A reluctant pirate?

    OK, if I buy sheet music, or a book, I own the paper support, plus the permission to access the contents, which remain the intellectual property of the author. It is normal that he/she should be paid for his time.

    If I write my own book including the acquired wisdom, or a musical work inspired the music of others, I can cite my sources, with very limited direct quotes.

    I can copyright my composition, or my novel, or my treatise, but I cannot copyright a C# minor scale, or the future perfect tense, (though I think Microsoft would love to do just that!)

    I find that some licences are to protect intellectual proerty, others are abusive.

    I can remove the rear seat of my car, or install a new radio, can't I ?

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