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Crackdown On The Cracks

Waves get heavy with unauthorised users of their plug-ins 09-Aug-07

 

 

 

 

If you have already listened to this weeks Sonic Talk podcast youll know about this one Waves has instigated a series of investigations aimed at discovering unauthorised users of its software and collecting payment from them.

 

Our friends at Pro Sound News Europe have an exclusive story on this one. They tell us that Waves has employed undercover agents posing as musicians trying to book time at various UK and US studios and, in the process, gathering evidence of the use of unlicenced or cracked copies of Waves software. Secret video footage has been gathered and several users of the software have received an official letter from Wavess collection agents offering them the chance to pay Waves the cost of the original plug-ins, plus a substantial extra sum on top, or face legal action.

 

 

At least six well known London studios and an educational establishment are known to be involved with visits from the Waves agents taking place earlier this year followed up by solicitors letters. Waves have confirmed that the investigations have taken place as part of BanPiracy, a continuing global campaign.

 

 

This is story that is going to run on over the next few weeks. We will be keeping abreast of developments but you can check out the Pro Sound News Europe website for the full story and hear their Editor, Dave Robinson, discussing the matter in todays Sonic Talk 055 podcast.

 

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I don't know if it applies here to Waves but some programs "phone home " and they can tell if you are running a cracked copy. Most often what will happen is they will just deactivate the cracked serial numbers out there so I suppose your copy will cease to function.

 

Programs like Little Snitch will foil that usually but maybe that is how they are nailing people. How would they know who has cracks of their stuff?

 

I say right on...not to be a hypocrite...been there, copied that....but I developed a conscience about it. I get offered cracked stuff all the time and I don't go for it. Bad kharma!

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Yeah... and strange. From what you posted, it sounds as if they never thought of having something like an activation code. They could have saved themselves all that cloak and dagger stuff.

 

They had all that call and response stuff, and at the urging of myself and some others, they went to a dongle. But the cracks existed with the call and response versions, too.

 

I'm still running the last call and response version, because of the announced yearly fee for having the later versions. I don't know if they ever really did this or not, but I wasn't up for it.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I have a USB dongle on my Digidesign plug ins. My computer has enough USB ports that I can leave mine plugged in all the time. So far I have not had an issue in fact it was quite easy when I did a big upgrade I just went to iLok and everything was there...biggest problem was remembering my username and password LOL!

 

I have heard horror stories though of lost or damaged USB dongles and a nightmare to replace.

 

I'm all for protection though...that stuff is so easy to steal. Most stuff I have now I call with a code and get a response code.

 

The phone home thing I am talking about is like a stealth thing the software does when you are online, it calls in to the parent company and it can see if you are registered or not.

 

I think Photoshop has this. Anybody heard of that?

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...The phone home thing I am talking about is like a stealth thing the software does when you are online, it calls in to the parent company and it can see if you are registered or not.

 

I think Photoshop has this. Anybody heard of that?

 

I never have my studio computers with access to the internet. Or much of anything other than audio software and the needs of audio software.

 

The new computer is currently using a wireless connection, but I'll probably remove it once the whole rig is finalised. It is just darned handy while setting it up to have access to the on line driver support. Of course, if I got off of my ass and spent the hour or so that it would take to get it done, .... but I'm also wiring and hanging acoustical panels and pulling cable through walls and between floors, and going to the old studio and dragging stuff over here. So ...

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I have a USB dongle on my Digidesign plug ins. My computer has enough USB ports that I can leave mine plugged in all the time. So far I have not had an issue in fact it was quite easy when I did a big upgrade I just went to iLok and everything was there...biggest problem was remembering my username and password LOL!

 

I have heard horror stories though of lost or damaged USB dongles and a nightmare to replace.

 

I'm all for protection though...that stuff is so easy to steal. Most stuff I have now I call with a code and get a response code.

 

The phone home thing I am talking about is like a stealth thing the software does when you are online, it calls in to the parent company and it can see if you are registered or not.

 

I think Photoshop has this. Anybody heard of that?

 

Some software uses dongles, others use the "phone home" and others still, use the old fashion serial number.

 

The fact is, it's all a waste of money. Dongles can be bypassed, the "phone home" parts of an exe can be disabled and serial numbers can be shared. All it does is, unnecessarily, raise the cost of the software and cause more folks to steal it.

 

There would be less software theft if they charged $50 for a program instead of $2000.

 

I look at it this way, if they can make a complicated video game, with years of labour involved in the complexity of the graphics, the art work, the voice actors, the programmers, the beta testers etc., then only sell the game for $80, then selling an updated program like Photoshop etc. should be substantially cheaper then the game right? But it's not.

 

They mark the product up so much, that most folks can't afford it. Then you get software piracy. So the companies put a ton of cash into (non-working) anti-piracy methods and jack up the cost of the software even more. It's a money grab, plain and simple.

 

There will always be software piracy, but as long as they are charging 40 times the actual value of the software, the piracy will always be far higher.

 

They use the excuse that they are losing money, but they aren't losing money. Most of the folks who crack software couldn't afford to buy it anyway.

 

I know it doesn't make it right, but it is a kind of "serves you right" type thing.

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I agree with some of your points, Craig, but there are a few glaring exceptions...

 

First, your game/audio software analogy just doesn't work, IMO. Game software has a a potential market many times larger than that of high end audio software. While I'm sure their costs are inflated both for pure profit motives and from poor oversight on development costs, I would expect the cost vs. sales model to be heavily skewed to sales for a video game and cost for audio software. In addition to the relatively tiny, niche market for pro audio software, there are fewer potential products a company can create. New ideas for games and rehash of previous titles can be developed ad infinitum, but what is a pro audio software company going to develop to create multiple sales to the same customer? There are several products I can think of, but most pro audio software companies are relegated to offering different levels of quality, not a variety of different use products.

 

Definitely an apples to oranges comparison.

 

Second, based on my experience there are plenty of users who could afford expensive software packages who would rather keep their money and use a crack'd product. You're more the computer maven than I. Surely you've seen how many useful programs are available between $15 & $50 US (hardly expensive) for a wide variety of purposes that are heavily downloaded from sites offering cracks or serial numbers.

 

Since Waves has chosen to put themselves out as the premier audio processing software company I think they are doing the right thing by going after commercial studios who use unauthorized versions of their software. Commericial studios are supposed to be their primary consumer base. If professionals in money-making ventures are stealing their software and profiting from it, IMO that's just wrong. Worse yet, if a low budget studio is profiting by stealing Waves software then legitimate users at other studios are having their clients (and profits) siphoned away by the illegal activity. Part of the value of going to a professional studio is supposed to be the quality of the gear they use, in addition to the quality of the people running it. An illegal copy of Waves software all of a sudden levels the gear side of that equation quite a bit for the felon who stole it.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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I agree with you that it's wrong. But why do the people that use it, dictate it's value. Why shouldn't I have reasonable access to professional quality recording software, if it really didn't cost anything extra to make?

 

Home use stuff can be downloaded from freeware sites, for free. Good quality stuff should be purchased. I just don't feel that it should be so highly inflated.

 

I bet that most folks would buy a copy of Photoshop if it wasn't so much. I bet they would sell as many copies of it as video game companies sell of their video games.

 

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I agree with you that it's wrong. But why do the people that use it, dictate it's value. Why shouldn't I have reasonable access to professional quality recording software, if it really didn't cost anything extra to make?

 

Home use stuff can be downloaded from freeware sites, for free. Good quality stuff should be purchased. I just don't feel that it should be so highly inflated.

 

 

 

The value that a manufacturer or creator puts on his goods or services is really his business, and all the rationale in the world is just really beside the point.

 

The idea that we can steal with impunity also has little justification, other than it proves that many of us are chickenshit. At least the mugger faces me and uses his strength or a weapon. At least the burgular runs a risk of getting caught. It really gets down to what kind of a man one is, and how one choses to live his life. Doing something wrong or imoral because you can get away with it is the same justification used by the bully to steal the lunch money of others.

 

I rememebr when the quality of softwwre protection shcemes was so poor and caused so many problems with software that we would buy the legal version, then use a cracked version to avoid having the software prorection shcemes on our hard drives. (Among other things, they did not work with any backup software at the time. When you tried to restore the backup, the programs did not work.) What si the morality of that? I'm not sure.

 

I also remember an early copy protection scheme which gave you only so many installs per disk. (I think that it was 2.) I took a popular utility of the time, copyiipc, and made multiple copies of the disk, basically giving me unlimited installs. I contacted the manufacturer and spoke directly to the president of the company about this, and he blew me off, prefering to have the illusion of protection over any real protection.

 

It is the same way today. I've argued long and hard, and used several of your earlier points to try to change the minds of some software manufacturers. It was a waste of my time.

 

But I do like the dongle idea over the other methods... if there has to be one. Why? Because I can install the software on unlimited machines and, just by plugging in my 'key', use the software. Yes, that means that I have to keep track of the key, but it is better than a one-machine licence, when I might be working on a project in the studio machine and one in one of the laptops.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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This debate isn't too far from the free downloads/copies VS. pay-for-music-you-don't own arguments....

...or the actual value of intellectual property.

 

I agree with Craig that some software apps are just TOO PRICEY!

And if they just brought the prices down a bit...they could make up for it in added volume...

...but like Bill said, property owners can charge what they like...it's their property. :)

 

HeckI argued with Magix quite a bit over the cost of their software upgrade to go from Samplitude v7 to v9.

It was $600!!! Just for an upgrade.

And that is the same price Magix charges for cross-grading from any other appwhich to me seemed a bit unfair, as we v7 users were already part of the Samplitude family.

 

ButMagix would not budgeand since I didnt have a whole lot of need for the new features they included in v9.Im still happily using v7.

Though I think I will have to bit e the bullet and upgrade before they got v10otherwise the upgrade costs will just get worse, and I do not want to get left too far behind on upgrades.

 

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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