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Topic: Liscensing question

  1. #1

    Liscensing question

    With all the new sampler plugs coming out I\'ve been thinking. Is let\'s say \"Culture\" (or any software/sampler/samples plugin) - should it be consider a library of samples? or is it merely a piece of software? WIth software you can sell your right/liscense to use the software, with samples you can\'t. So what\'s the terms on something like Culture? If I buy battery from Native Instruments and choose to sell it WITH the samples that shiped with it, as far as I know I have that right, because all I\'ve done is sold my liscense to use the software. But if I choose to sell my collection of Garritan strings, I\'ve violated my agreement with Gary Garritan. This is because GOS is sold AS a sample library. And those samples are what\'s liscensed. But with Battery the samples come with the software - which also plays other samples.

    So what is the definition of software - that COULD transfer a liscense, and software - that COULD NOT transfer a user liscense?

    It seems with copy protection getting in place very effectively with such companies as Spectrasonics, East West etc., that their new sampler plugins, which are really just sample players, could in fact be seen as software, and NOT samples. Thus allowing a liscense to be transfered. Now I would NEVER want to get rid of my spectrasonics plug ins, and I don\'t see why anyone would if they\'re smart, but let\'s say someone were to buy atmosphere and find it totally unuseful. First of all they must not be a real musician if they find it useless, but after that fact, shouldn\'t they be able to consider that an asset and at least get SOMETHING for it? I know I purchased an EMU classic Keys module a few years back and hated it - 3 months later I sold it. Took a hit of about $100, but that\'s better then loosing $600! (actually I think it was more then that)

    So my point is - as sample libraries are developing into more then just data on a disk - and more then just platform specific, To be fair to the end user shouldn\'t the liscensing agreements be modified to reflect that of software? Now I COMPLETELY understand the argument of developers, and I have been VERY respectful and supportive of these people. I do not copy samples and do not allow my samples to be copied. But in defense of the customer, often times the $200-$500+ required to buy a library you may not REALLY be able to use is a pretty big risk. Sure the developer says in the agreements \"be SURE this is what you want before you open this\" but sometimes you CAN\'T be sure. It\'s like a good pair of shoes, sometimes you have to try them on to find out that \"oops\" i made a mistake.

    Okay, that\'s just some thoughts - any feedback?


  2. #2

    Re: Liscensing question


    While I believe that the licensing agreements should now be updated to be more specific in regards to the new sample-based VSTi\'s (a-la Atmosphere, etc.), I don\'t think that we\'ll get to the point where you will be allowed to sell them on. Even though they are software-based partially, they are still sample-based as well. Where it gets sticky for the developers I believe is in the sample-based part. Good part is that we pay a one-time licensing fee and never have to pay any royalties.

    Bottom line is that they are allowed to license it the way that they want. We are also able to make choices based on having this information at hand. I think that it needs to be made more clear (mostly for the newbie) that they need to be sure of what they are buying.

    In regards to not being able to accurately assess whether or not it would be useful to you, I believe that you can if you are able to go to a dealer and test it out for yourself. I was able to do exactly that with Trilogy and Atmosphere before buying them. IMHO, if you spend enough time at the store with such a product, you will know whether or not it is useful to you.

    Where I have a problem with this is that sometimes you are not able to demo it yourself and have to rely solely on mp3 demos from the web. Sometimes, you know that a title is going to be good and useful. Other times, you are not sure if it is what you need. The World Vocals thread is a good example. The person inquiring has a bunch of different libraries already but none fit the bill exactly. If he was searching for a particular sample, he could have bought all of those libraries only to find that it didn\'t have specifically what he wanted. Since it is unreturnable, he could have been out a bunch of money. In his case, I don\'t believe that that happened (I think he owned the libraries already) but it is an example.

    I think that there would be less of a problem with this if the purchaser could know more specifically what they were ordering.

    Just MHO,

  3. #3

    Re: Liscensing question

    And that\'s my point. MOST libraries/VSTi\'s are not available for a dealer to demo. My local store happens to carry all the Spectrasonics plugs, but none are available in store to demo. They do have the demo versions of Native Instrument\'s softwares installed, but they\'re just the demos, not fully functional. What I\'m getting at is even the dealer\'s can\'t accurately tell what they are selling. Most libraries however will never be available through a local dealer. Mark up is very low first of all, and 2ndly the sample companies don\'t usually have a bunch of local dealers. Don\'t know why but they don\'t.

    Now, let\'s go back to NI for a minute - My understanding is I COULD sell my liscense for my B4 organ emulator. In essence it does the exact same thing that say Atmostphere does. The difference is the B4 uses modeling and other forms of technology, Atmostphere is a synth module based on samples.

    Translated to hardware: B4, FM7, Pro-52 is to Specreasonics plugs what the DX7 is to a Roland JV-1080. The 1080\'s orchestra boards (and I think most of the technology) took samples, and manipulated them in the world of synthesis to create more realistic keyboard sounds. The DX7 is based on FM synthesis technology.

    My argument here is that the JV-1080 is (as Bruce Richardson would say) basically a Rom-pler. It plays sounds. At the heart those sounds are samples. Samples that Eric Persing still owns because he developed them. But he liscensed them to Roland to make a box that plays them.

    NOW, Eric has his own company and they Liscense sounds directly to end users - through their own ROM-pler. It\'s just like a keyboard, only different.

    Why is this such an important issue? I think it\'s something that must be addressed because of the amount of money that has to be invested in such libraries. As libraries get bigger, so do their prices. I bought my first full orchestra library (AO) for around $1200. Now I have to spend a grand just for strings. The average library a few years ago was $150-$200. Some really good ones were $299. Now almost every plugin\' rom-pler - that you can\'t tweak like we could cheaper libraries, are starting at $299 and going on up - and up - and up -.

    Why does this matter? Well let\'s think about it. Our studios HAVE to be worth somthing don\'t they? I have a few racks of gear, 15-20 pieces. A couple mixers, some verbs, a few sound modules Etc. If I want to put these on Ebay tomorrow, I can. Whatever I get is what I get. But that\'s the current \"Value\" of my studio. Now what good is a studio in terms of \"Value\" if everything is worthless? This is the case with the liscensing agreements by sample libraries. In fact the entire virtual studio world presents this problem. sure you can do more for less, but eventually you\'ve still invested $100k or more. But now instead of \"investing\" you\'ve merely thrown the money away. Typically in an economy money is traded for an object of value. And that object retains value over time. Some objects like a house have greater value over time, some objects don\'t. But once you open a sample library, it looses 100% of it\'s value. Now how is THAT a good investment? It\'s a gamble.

    There\'s some libraries I\'ve bought because the demos sound great! I love the patch list. Everything is suppose to be perfect, and I have taken the gamble and dropped $500 for it - Now I have the rights to use it. And I\'m proud to have those rights. BUT, I can\'t REALLY use it because it\'s not as usable as it should be. WhenI bring up the short comings on this forum, the developer gets VERY defensive. I didn\'t even ask anything to be refunded or fixed, just asked for further development on future libraries.

    Now, to me that seems like the developers are completely controlling the market. A good economy is both SUPPLY and DEMAND driven, not just supply driven. As users I think we should deserve more rights as far as return policy, or at least resell rights for softwares we don\'t use. I UNDERSTAND the libraries that can\'t be copy protected not having the right to sell. There\'s no way to know who\'s copying and who\'s not. BUT, for these new Rom-pler libraries, and software synths - I think something should be looked at.

    Now let me say again - I don\'t have a SOLUTION, just want to talk about the problem and maybe the group as a whole can think of an appropriate way to solve the problem so it is both fair to the developer AND the user.


  4. #4

    Re: Liscensing question

    Hi J,

    You compare hardware to sample-based instruments in your points. There has been much debate on this and I don\'t think that it is a valid comparison IMHO. I won\'t say anymore on that.

    You also brought up when you\'ve spent $500 or more only to find a library that is unusable. Yes, many developers may get defensive about criticisms of their product. However, there are some that take it to heart and provide updated versions to fix some of the problems. Didn\'t Nick Phoenix do that with VOTA? There are others who provide many updates as well such as Gary Garritan. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    The other thing you mentioned is investment. Here is where I disagree with you to a certain extent but I guess it depends on your perspective.

    If you view your investment as one where you use the sample library as a tool to produce music that you make income from, then a decision must be made prior to buying if you will get a good return on your investment. Ie, you would not have been able to do the job if you did not have the sample library and you will make more money than the cost of the samples + your time.

    It seems to me that you\'re viewing your investment as something that, once sold, will either increase your ROI, or make your ROI appear more feasible and worthwhile.

    I view every sample library purchase as an investment in tools that will give me what I need to perform a particular job to a certain level. I justify it based on whether or not I will make my money back and then some. Especially if I can make multiple use out of that library, it will pay for itself many times over and I will receive income that I otherwise would not be able to. If I have to view something as \"how much can I sell it for eventually?\" then I usually say to myself that it is not what I need.

    I don\'t have a problem whatsoever in being able to sell or transfer the license for these samples. I\'m thankful that I do not need to pay out any extra licensing fees when I use it in my music. I would, however, prefer to be able to go to my local music store and demo this prior to laying down a bunch of money.

    Having said that, I have to admit that I\'ve been pretty successful/lucky in buying sample-based products without prior demos. I have not bought many duds. Then again, I have stuck to products that either a) have had a lot of raves from many users (the internet has really helped this) b) buy from quality companies both big and small (EastWest, Ilio, etc.) c) buy cheap clearance items where I don\'t mind it if it is a dud from time to time (ie $29.95-49.95 price range).

    Oh well, this is just MHO but I thought that I\'d pass on what I do to try to limit the crap that I buy and keep quality investments. It works for me and that\'s enough.


    p.s. - I believe that most sample developers want happy customers. If you are truly unhappy with a product, by speaking with them, they may provide other options for you that may be reasonable. I don\'t think that they\'re the evil fat cats trying to soak us for all we\'re worth. Then I again, I believe most people are good.

    p.p.s. - sorry this is so long. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Re: Liscensing question

    It wasn\'t a question so much as what is allowed for Culture, that\'s just an example. My question is more on the behalf of the end user. The ones who innocently buy a library they didn\'t mean to buy and loose a bunch of money in the process. Now that technology is changing it seems as though some of the copyright issues should also be changing.


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