Copyright on user created patches.

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Copyright on user created patches.

Post by pa28 »

I know copyright law is a huge and complicated subject involving international and domestic laws. But, sticking with UK, a question has arisen on one of my music forums (not this one) a certain person created many user patches on various guitar effects units Alesis,Yamaha etc and sold them to members of the public, of which I was happy to buy them as they were good.

But the person selling decided to stop because of "Piracy" issues claming they were being passed on/sold to others and claims copyright breaches, so to spite his face he cut off his nose and refused to sell any more. But others feel if he wont sell, then those who have them will, right or wrong, (No morallity answers please ;) ) just legal if at all possible :?:
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

There isn't an implicit copyright on synthesizer patches as such, in the same legally defined way there is on, say, a recording, or a lyric, or a poem etc, largely because patches are essentially defined as "a combination of settings" rather than a created work.

However, when someone spends their time creating a commercial product (a bank of patches for a given synthesizer) and sells them, having someone else resell them for profit, or distribute them for free and thus reduce the revenue stream, is obviously scummy behaviour. Selling something which isn't yours for profit is scummy, and I'm sure many of us here have had instances of other people profiting off of our work.

What can you do about it? Usually, not much apart from report, issue takedown notices etc.

If the person who created them wishes to stop selling them, it's entirely within their right. And if other people want to continue to distribute them without the author's permission, they *can*, but again - scummy. imo. Ianal etc.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by pa28 »

As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the interllectual property of the creator who can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by MarkOne »

I suspect this is probably an area where the law hasn't kept pace with technology, and someone with a big enough war chest could probably bring a test case.

Back when a patch on say a Minimoog was simply a case of 'this is where the knobs point to make this sound' then I'd agree there was not enough of a unique IP to be a sellable 'thing'

But if you script a whole bunch of stuff in Kontakt with some deep-dive coding to create something unique and new, it could probably be described as a programme and subject to the laws governing software. Similarly a Reaktor blocks instrument might fall into that category too.

But is a set of new settings for say a Headrush or Helix? The law probably says no, but I think that a) it's legitimate to create and sell them as a pack, and b) not legitimate (and indeed scummy) to knick them and distribute them for free, or even worse sell them yourself.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by blinddrew »

I think MarkOne's on the point. At the moment I don't think there's any case law on it (or at least none I could find with a quick google).
So at the moment there's nothing for the law to protect, which is a shame given the amount of effort that can be involved.
A test case would be very interesting to observe to the dis-interested.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pm As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the interllectual property of the creator

Yes, the patches are the intellectual property of the creator, and can be sold or distributed by them as they please.

pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pmwho can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?

I'm not sure what you mean by "who can only use whats already built in the machine".

I already answered that with the current status as best I know, from a lot of heavyweight discussion over the year from people such as Eric Persing and other well-known preset designers and authors.

Straight synthesizer patches are not legally protected with a specific copyright law to date, however, that doesn't mean the author of that intellectual property can't legally go after you for damages etc if you are selling their content. You are not free to do as you wish with someone else's intellectual property, and *could* face legal consequences if the author wishes to pursue them.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by RichardT »

pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pm As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the interllectual property of the creator who can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?

No, as others have said, there is no copyright on patches as they are not ‘works’.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by The Red Bladder »

pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pm As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the intellectual property of the creator who can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?

In a word - yes. And there are plenty of cases of precedent on this. It is the same as a complicated mix on a DAW - the final mix is handed to the customer, but failing a contract or a conditions of sale to the contrary, it is the intellectual property of the creator.

The courts have to decide to what extent the patch or mix or whatever is a new creation and worthy of copyright. Some simple tweak on a synth is unlikely to be a new creative work, whereas a complicated sequence and sound patch on a sophisticated synth has been deemed to be a new and original creative work.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by blinddrew »

The Red Bladder wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 6:17 pm
pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pm As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the intellectual property of the creator who can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?

In a word - yes. And there are plenty of cases of precedent on this. It is the same as a complicated mix on a DAW - the final mix is handed to the customer, but failing a contract or a conditions of sale to the contrary, it is the intellectual property of the creator.

The courts have to decide to what extent the patch or mix or whatever is a new creation and worthy of copyright. Some simple tweak on a synth is unlikely to be a new creative work, whereas a complicated sequence and sound patch on a sophisticated synth has been deemed to be a new and original creative work.

I'd be very interested in any UK cases you can find to support that TRB, I'm not seeing any.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by RichardT »

The Red Bladder wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 6:17 pm
pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:30 pm As I said I didnt want to get into the "morals" of the case just the "Simple" question are the patches actually the intellectual property of the creator who can only use whats already built in the machine, be copyrighted and protected as such with legal backing?

In a word - yes. And there are plenty of cases of precedent on this. It is the same as a complicated mix on a DAW - the final mix is handed to the customer, but failing a contract or a conditions of sale to the contrary, it is the intellectual property of the creator.

The courts have to decide to what extent the patch or mix or whatever is a new creation and worthy of copyright. Some simple tweak on a synth is unlikely to be a new creative work, whereas a complicated sequence and sound patch on a sophisticated synth has been deemed to be a new and original creative work.

A sequence would possibly be copyrightable, but I don’t see how a patch per se could be.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by adamburgess »

I would speculate that, for example, the basic waveforms, PCM/SuperNatural samples in my Integra-7 are for sure the property of Roland. They are Roland's recordings and editing.

A tone which could have a combo of 4x of those samples/waves in a Studio Set of 16 parts, with all of those parts having an almost infinite combo of editable parameters each… plus a load of FX inserts… I really don't know.

I've never bought anything from the Korg Kronos store, or any of the creators' websites, so don't know if all the third party stuff uses Korg's samples, manipulated in such a way, using Korg's synth engines to be 'different' enough; or, if the sound packs actually come with new original samples, too?

With stuff like the Helix, do Line 6's amp/room/mic models etc count toward the end sound? I dare say yes.

Paying for a service for someone with an Integra, a Helix, or Kronos, to do a personalised bank of <insert cover band> patches, for someone else with the same instrument seems fair enough if the buyer doesn't have time or the ability. They're not really selling the bare waves/samples.

Selling patches or the basic waves from a JV1080 or D50 to a Kronos user I'd feel different about.

As far as piracy of the 'editor's' sound packs go, once you can hear it, it's copyable. And, with all the MIDI parameters on display, and the unit's original waves/models etc., what can you do other than introduce a complicated protection system which may or may not work all the time, or even be possible. Sure we've all been there.

I wouldn't want to have to have a computer connected to the 'net with iLok or similar just to use my Integra module on every gig. Just a MIDI cable…

Tough one.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pm I would speculate that, for example, the basic waveforms, PCM/SuperNatural samples in my Integra-7 are for sure the property of Roland. They are Roland's recordings and editing.

You don't need to speculate on that. Sound recordings are absolutely covered by copyrights and can't be resold without the copyright holder's permission. Roland are notoriously litigious about protecting their property in recent times, and many unauthorised third-party products using Roland's audio recordings and samples have been issued C&D's over the years from them.

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pmI've never bought anything from the Korg Kronos store, or any of the creators' websites, so don't know if all the third party stuff uses Korg's samples, manipulated in such a way, using Korg's synth engines to be 'different' enough; or, if the sound packs actually come with new original samples, too?.

Presets that refer to sample content within the instrument are fine, because there are no audio recordings actually *contained* in those patches, just referenced. Those recordings are intended to be used like that in the synth. What you can't legally do is create, sell and distribute unauthorised sample libraries based on sound recordings not owned by you - which is why sampling digital ROMpler-style synths is generally a no-no, but sampling analog synths is generally fine.

If you are distributing patches than also contain new samples (you can do this with, say, Omnisphere), you need to own the copyrights to those samples too, and you can distribute and sell them without problems.

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pmWith stuff like the Helix, do Line 6's amp/room/mic models etc count toward the end sound? I dare say yes.

Yes, but a Helix owner already has the right to use those models that came with purchase of the hardware. Patches that refer to inbuilt features of the hardware are completely fine.

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pmPaying for a service for someone with an Integra, a Helix, or Kronos, to do a personalised bank of <insert cover band> patches, for someone else with the same instrument seems fair enough if the buyer doesn't have time or the ability. They're not really selling the bare waves/samples.

It's absolutely fine - but that's not what we're talking about though. What we are talking about is Person A spending a few weeks/months creating a bunch of patches, putting them up for sale, and then deciding to withdraw from sale. Then Person B, unconnected to the original author A, decides instead to sell/distribute Person A's work without their consent.

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pmSelling patches or the basic waves from a JV1080 or D50 to a Kronos user I'd feel different about.

That's a legal no-no, as already explained. Remember that "patches" are not the same thing as "samples". We are talking mostly about patches, not samples, in this particular case. Samples (=audio recordings) have a much more robust copyright situation.

adamburgess wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:44 pmAs far as piracy of the 'editor's' sound packs go, once you can hear it, it's copyable. And, with all the MIDI parameters on display, and the unit's original waves/models etc., what can you do other than introduce a complicated protection system which may or may not work all the time, or even be possible. Sure we've all been there.

If it *can* be easily ripped off, it probably *will* be ripped off. When I've done commercial patches/instruments in the past, I tend to uniquely fingerprint them, so if someone has taken my patch data, and maybe renamed those patches and put them in their own bank for sale, I have a fairly easily demonstrable way of proving that. If they've made totally new sounds starting from my own patches, and they are very different sounds (ie they haven't just tweaked maybe a filter position and renamed the patch, and sold it as their work), then that's also absolutely fine too.
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