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 Drew Stephenson »

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 Drew Stephenson »

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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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by jxnWHITE »

Just thinking a "recipe" might be a relevant comparable, which might use a unique combination of "ingredients".

Recipes cannot be copyrighted.

They can be protected as "trade secrets" if it is possible to wrap the deets in a brand without disclosing what the specifics are, which does not sound possible or practical in this case.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by Folderol »

I tend to regard these sort of things as code. A set of instructions sent to the 'machine'.
Dunno if that helps at all.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

Folderol wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 4:48 pmI tend to regard these sort of things as code. A set of instructions sent to the 'machine'.

Not really, code (as in source code, not "encoded" data) is a created work and is copyritable.

A synth patch is more like, for example, you having 50 knobs on the wall. Your patch is a combination of settings of those existing knobs. You didn't make the knobs, or what the knobs represent, you just turned them to a set of positions you liked. That in itself is not a copyritable* created work.

* Copyrightable Work means anything which constitutes an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression and includes scholarly, professional and creative works.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by tea for two »

pa28 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:33 pm a certain person created many user patches on various guitar effects units Alesis,Yamaha etc and sold them to members of the public ...
refused to sell any more.
But others feel if he wont sell, then those who have them will, right or wrong.

The way I see it is similar to when say microsoft sells windows installation cds dvds.

Microsoft are selling only the license to individual or licenses to business, corporation, education, oem.
Microsoft still owns windows. And the license is only granted solely to those purchasing the license.
That's it. Nothing beyond this.

This is how software is.

I would include user created patches as software.
It's only a license granted solely to the person that purchased the patches.
That's it. Nothing beyond this.

**

(Hardware ofcourse we own we can sell on as we wish and we do).
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by N i g e l »

Looking at it from the user perspective, if I buy a synth & come up with a nice patch, I dont see why I should owe anyone any money !

There is a more detailed issue with serious programming of for example the Korg 'logues - an SDK is availble to program synth engines in C computer code & insert it into the synth.

These synth engines can available for free and some paid. I dont think there is a mechanisim to prevent one paid for file being uploaded into many synths [ie an internets worth of synths aka piracey]

Its a very niche market, synths/synthesis/specific machine/particular synth engine/method , not exactly a money spinner.

Im not sure the original intent was for programmers to make money.
More like the internet ethos of Develope & distribute for all to enjoy [and for Korg to sell more synths of course]

Just to make it clear :thumbup: Nice inovation Korg :thumbup::clap:
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by ajay_m »

The closest analogy here would be reproducing a recipe. UK copyright law generally holds that recipes are not copyrightable. Were someone to take a civil action over patches being copied, you could expect a smart lawyer to draw the analogy and probably the only possible way such a case might be decided for the plaintiff would be if the defendant had signed an agreement not to redistribute the patches and if the plaintiff could prove the defendant violated that agreement.
This is somewhat distinct from sampling copyrighted works, where there is now a fairly solid set of precedents. But a defendent sampling the plaintiffs patches on their own synth and reselling them wouldn't fall into that area of case law either.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by Folderol »

ajay_m wrote: Sun Oct 30, 2022 8:55 am The closest analogy here would be reproducing a recipe. UK copyright law generally holds that recipes are not copyrightable. Were someone to take a civil action over patches being copied, you could expect a smart lawyer to draw the analogy and probably the only possible way such a case might be decided for the plaintiff would be if the defendant had signed an agreement not to redistribute the patches and if the plaintiff could prove the defendant violated that agreement.
This is somewhat distinct from sampling copyrighted works, where there is now a fairly solid set of precedents. But a defendent sampling the plaintiffs patches on their own synth and reselling them wouldn't fall into that area of case law either.

I don't think a recipe is a valid comparison - it tells you how to organise various ingredients.
A music software patch tells you how to make the ingredients. A MIDI file then tells you how to organise them - interestingly I'm pretty sure a MIDI file can be copyrighted :tongue:
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by MarkOne »

Folderol wrote: Sun Oct 30, 2022 10:50 am
ajay_m wrote: Sun Oct 30, 2022 8:55 am The closest analogy here would be reproducing a recipe. UK copyright law generally holds that recipes are not copyrightable. Were someone to take a civil action over patches being copied, you could expect a smart lawyer to draw the analogy and probably the only possible way such a case might be decided for the plaintiff would be if the defendant had signed an agreement not to redistribute the patches and if the plaintiff could prove the defendant violated that agreement.
This is somewhat distinct from sampling copyrighted works, where there is now a fairly solid set of precedents. But a defendent sampling the plaintiffs patches on their own synth and reselling them wouldn't fall into that area of case law either.

I don't think a recipe is a valid comparison - it tells you how to organise various ingredients.
A music software patch tells you how to make the ingredients. A MIDI file then tells you how to organise them - interestingly I'm pretty sure a MIDI file can be copyrighted :tongue:

This is where it gets blurry. A patch in the classic sense is really just a recipe.

It told you where to adjust the knobs and (In modular terms where to ‘patch’ each cable) to replicate a sound.

No MIDI, no organisation. Just knobs and patch cords.

Hence the name ;)
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by RGD »

Laws are an outgrowth of culture and relate to a cultures' values and morals. Parsing those is difficult. But, there are practical things we can consider. I did a back-of-the-napkin calculation, and came up with 1.x quintillion different possibilities for the settings on the guitar multi-effects pedal with which I'm working. This makes the likelihood of any two patch authors creating the same patch outrageously unlikely. If I write a haiku, I own it.
My cat just loves dogs.
She thinks they're really yummy.
My cat's a tiger.
What is the chance that someone else in my town wrote the same haiku? my state? the world? I used words to write it, is it owned by the English language? I used a computer. Is it owned by HP? The haiku took seconds to produce, and it's mine.
Patches don't spontaneously generate. It can take days of research into artists, guitars, pedals, amps, and post production. And then trying to make the device emulate that sound is a dance around assets and limitations. It's like when painters enjoyed or struggled with the availability or lack of certain colors. It's work, and it deserves compensation.
Technologically, this isn't difficult to begin to address. When the user registers the device, the device software is stamped with the user's email. Any new patches made in the device carry this forward as a permanent, non-overwritable part of the code of each patch. It represents a miniscule amount of data. Any patches imported bear the email of the first person to create a patch from scratch or modify a factory patch. If someone modifies their own patch, it still has their email. A simple bit of "if else then" code could sort and direct the actions related to the different scenarios. With this, it would be much easier to see who was stealing and selling other's work, even if they modified them slightly. Yes, there are work-arounds, but the intent that patches should be considered property is implied, and that's a start. The point is that it is not that technologically difficult to move in the direction of better conditions for patch authors. Knowing that your work is going to be stolen is not such a great motivator for talented people. If we want really great patches, this, and more, is going to have to happen.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I have to disagree with your conclusion. People always have and always will create great content, whether that patches or symphonies, with or without the guarantee of protection or monetisation.
The question for society is how much protection and what incentive mechanisms we want to put in place to balance the rewards for creating new content with freedom to create and the strength of the public domain.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amPatches don't spontaneously generate. It can take days of research into artists, guitars, pedals, amps, and post production. And then trying to make the device emulate that sound is a dance around assets and limitations. It's like when painters enjoyed or struggled with the availability or lack of certain colors. It's work, and it deserves compensation.

Sure, and this is why you are allowed to sell the patches you made commercially (or distribute them as you wish). Same as with other digital content you create, art, literature, music, whatever.

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amTechnologically, this isn't difficult to begin to address.

It's not really about technological difficulty - the financial incentives for the manufacturers to implement such as system which ultimately they don't benefit from.

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amWhen the user registers the device, the device software is stamped with the user's email. Any new patches made in the device carry this forward as a permanent, non-overwritable part of the code of each patch.

Here you're going into copy protection, permanent unique hardware identifiers and other such things. Can you remember what happened when Intel tried to put a unique ID fingerprint into their CPU's for exactly these kinds of copy-protection and digital rights management purposes? Spoiler - it didn't go well.

As for permanent and non-overwritable patches - if patches can be transported as digital data, they can be altered, no matter how much you wrap them in layers of copy-protection. (Of course, whether someone thinks it's worth the effort to bother is another matter.) And the stronger layers of copy protection you wrap them in, the more inconvenient the content gets to use - as a result, you'll have customers who will not buy your protected patches because they don't want the headaches associated with dealing with it.

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amAny patches imported bear the email of the first person to create a patch from scratch or modify a factory patch. If someone modifies their own patch, it still has their email. A simple bit of "if else then" code could sort and direct the actions related to the different scenarios. With this, it would be much easier to see who was stealing and selling other's work, even if they modified them slightly.

While this simple example is straightforward enough, the real world is much more messy, and things go south pretty quick. Here's some simple examples - maybe I buy some patches from someone else. Over time, I tweak them, maybe one of them I use as a starting point for my own edits (which is very common), and once I've done my sound design, there is nothing of the starting point patch left, I went in a completely different direction, and the resulting patch is all mine - and yet, that patch would be indelibly marked as created by someone else, when it wasn't - they had nothing to do with it. In fact, now I can't even own my own intellectual property unless I start a patch from scratch. Oh wait, you're saying it's OK to modify a factory patch and stamp your own email ownership on it, although the factory patch was created by the hardware developer, but not on a patch created by someone else?

BTW If you think it's not technologically difficult to reliably assess at which point edits of someone else's patch are no longer theirs but are now yours, have at it..! ;)

Or I sell this hardware unit, but my email is stamped in the software in a way that can't be removed? Ok, maybe the manufacturer has a tool to reset that - but then if that can be done, so can people get around it too.

The bottom line is there are always methods to attempt to copy protect digital assets, from various simple/easy/weak methods, to involved/complicated/painful/strong methods, but all of them are not perfect, and all of them cause continual headaches for everybody. Where there is a financial incentive to to do (eg, paying licensing costs, and dealing with encryption and activation for Pace on a commercial piece of expensive software), many people deem this as acceptable (and other customers won't accept it and will go elsewhere). To "protect" people making some patch tweaks who want to sell their work in case they get ripped off is of zero financial incentive to the developers of these hardware units.

Copy protection of digital assets is not solved problem, which is partly why legal recourse is still available when people abuse this on a damaging scale.

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amYes, there are work-arounds, but the intent that patches should be considered property is implied, and that's a start.

It's been clearly stated above that patches *are* considered property of the person who made them, and they can exploit them commercially if they want to. What was said above is that there is no explicit law to protect them under law, like there is for, say, audio recordings. My recipe, or poem, or whatever, is mine, and people can copy that recipe or poem whether I want them to or not. If my recipe book is published, and someone else copies those recipes and publishes another book, I can use legal recourse to claim damages and prevent further publication of the rip off, providing I can make a convincing legal cases for the ownership of that content.

If you have a thriving third-party patch business, and say someone comes and rips off your stuff and starts selling them on ebay and this is significantly damaging to your business, you have legal recourse to go after this person and claim damages.

RGD wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:18 amThe point is that it is not that technologically difficult to move in the direction of better conditions for patch authors. Knowing that your work is going to be stolen is not such a great motivator for talented people. If we want really great patches, this, and more, is going to have to happen.

It's not really about the technological difficulty of implementing some copy protection system. All copy protection systems have wider implications that need to be weighed accordingly. It's not a simple matter.

And the bottom line is the commercial value of the third-party audio hardware patch industry, such that it is, is negligible, so there is zero incentive to change much around this - which is why nothing has changed over the past 40 years of the third-party patch industry (which really started with the DX7).
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

muzines wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 1:14 pmAnd the bottom line is the commercial value of the third-party audio hardware patch industry, such that it is, is negligible, so there is zero incentive to change much around this - which is why nothing has changed over the past 40 years of the third-party patch industry (which really started with the DX7).

Spot on.
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Tomás Mulcahy
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by RGD »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Sun Jul 14, 2024 11:57 am I have to disagree with your conclusion. People always have and always will create great content, whether that patches or symphonies, with or without the guarantee of protection or monetisation.
The question for society is how much protection and what incentive mechanisms we want to put in place to balance the rewards for creating new content with freedom to create and the strength of the public domain.

I appreciate both of your points. Please bear with the long answer, I'll try to keep on the topic of copyright, but it requires a little explanation.
When I was working as a studio engineer, one of the perks of the job was seeing the smiles of the guitarist and producer when I was able to give them a guitar sound that had the right emotional content for the song, that filled the right space in the orchestration, and that both of them liked. I was being paid, and it wasn't about me, it was about them. It didn't matter if I liked the song or genre. I approach patches the same way. I don't really have any personal interest in the twangy lead guitar sound in "Little Moments Like That" or the crispyflub of "Bodysnatchers". But we made those patches as a result of spending two months investigating usable studio sounds that people wanted. When we release our first bundle, we'll be watching closely to try to discern if the theft/purchase ratio warrants further effort. With proper legal protection, this would be a non-issue. But with none, most of the very best engineers will only produce patches that suit their needs for their projects, and will be reluctant to make those available to others.
I would love to make high-quality patches one after the other and drop them right into the public domain. That is, if "clean air, clean water, appropriate nutrition, appropriate clothing, suitable shelter, and freedom from harassment" (Larry T.) were certain. I hope that human culture will reach this, but that is not our current world. If we can move from cooperate-against to cooperate, our standard of living will improve. But, humanity is a cutter.
Within the $4B/year pedal industry, I think it's pretty clear that patch-authors are getting the short end of the stick simply because it has been made easy to steal their work. Regarding laws and precedents, no real argument can be made in patch-authors' behalf if there is no data to support the assertion that patch theft is occurring. Everyone knows it, but it's not proven. The investment to move in the right direction is minimal (probably less than 30 lines of firmware code under the function "save" per device - which could be made boilerplate freeware for all pedal manufacturers to use), and the amount of data (even if left in e-mail form) would add less than 1/100th to the size of a typical patch. It would be natural for a collective of patch-authors to eventually push this issue. I don't think any one patch company has the clout to make it happen.
Regarding pedal-makers, the incentive is obvious. With a little more code (which probably already exists) they would have the opportunity to offer patch storage/archiving for a nominal fee ($5/year). Patches are tiny. Five TB of storage ($25/mo. cost to the pedal-makers) can hold about 500M patches. It would be convenient for the user, and after the first 60 customers, it would be all gravy for the pedal-makers. This could be a stand-alone business, but the advantage that the pedal-makers have is that they can offer this up-sell at the time of purchase. If this happens, there's your data, which can be subpoenaed. No data, no legal standing, no patch industry.
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Re: Copyright on user created patches.

Post by muzines »

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pm But we made those patches as a result of spending two months investigating usable studio sounds that people wanted. When we release our first bundle, we'll be watching closely to try to discern if the theft/purchase ratio warrants further effort. With proper legal protection, this would be a non-issue. But with none, most of the very best engineers will only produce patches that suit their needs for their projects, and will be reluctant to make those available to others.

You don't really need to explain how it works. I come at this more from a point of synth presets/patches, of which I've been creating since the 80s, and of which I've released banks commercially, with documentation, supporting materials and so on. The work that goes into creating good, creative, inspiring synth patches, to make them playable and musical, to support performance controls and other quality control standards for hundreds of patches in complex instruments is significant.

And yes, I've had these ripped off and put online too. So I'm very much aware of the third-party patch industry throughout the decades, and the various mechanics around it.

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmI would love to make high-quality patches one after the other and drop them right into the public domain.

I've done that too, partly as a way to give back, but also as a way to convince other people to share their work. When I was online in about 1994, there was, for example, precisely *one* bank of Korg Wavestation patches on the internet. By me making an effort to create and release patches, it convinced others to make and release theirs, and we had other efforts to crowd-source banks, and by the time the WS list eventually died, the internet had 50+ WS banks online for everyone to use - thousands of new presets for all to use. By releasing my work free, what i got back was everybody else's work, and everybody benefitted from that. So that's another way that can work, but it depends of course on the situation. Not everything needs a financial return, and while those presets are freely available and usable, they are still mine, not public domain.

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmWithin the $4B/year pedal industry, I think it's pretty clear that patch-authors are getting the short end of the stick simply because it has been made easy to steal their work.

Yes, it is easy if someone shares that data online. I'm not really familiar with the guitar pedal market as such, like I say, I come from a synth (and sample library) perspective, and I'm much more aware of what goes on here, and what commercial sound designers do to earn a living from this work, despite the piracy issues, which *everyone* is affected by at some point to some degree, if you're selling digital assets commercially.

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmRegarding laws and precedents, no real argument can be made in patch-authors' behalf if there is no data to support the assertion that patch theft is occurring.

Of course there is data that this is occurring. A few google searches will bring up a ton of commercial stuff shared online, there is no doubt here. Like I say, I've had my own commercial stuff shared in this way. You do have a takedown tool to use in the form of the DMCA, but of course it doesn't help for those sites that don't care.

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmEveryone knows it, but it's not proven.

As above - a quick Google search will prove this for anyone that cares to look.

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmThe investment to move in the right direction is minimal (probably less than 30 lines of firmware code under the function "save" per device - which could be made boilerplate freeware for all pedal manufacturers to use), and the amount of data (even if left in e-mail form) would add less than 1/100th to the size of a typical patch.

It's not a size issue *at all*, but it's also not as trivial to solve as you think (see my above post for some ideas as to why). It would actually be quite expensive for a hardware manufacturer to devise, test, deploy and manage such copy-protection - and it wouldn't even be for their benefit it any significant way, it would be for third-party developers to help them monetise and protect their IP. None of those developers give back percentages of their commercial products to the hardware manufacturers, so why should the hardware manufacturers want to pay for such a system?

RGD wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:36 pmRegarding pedal-makers, the incentive is obvious. With a little more code (which probably already exists) they would have the opportunity to offer patch storage/archiving for a nominal fee ($5/year). Patches are tiny. Five TB of storage ($25/mo. cost to the pedal-makers) can hold about 500M patches. It would be convenient for the user, and after the first 60 customers, it would be all gravy for the pedal-makers. This could be a stand-alone business, but the advantage that the pedal-makers have is that they can offer this up-sell at the time of purchase. If this happens, there's your data, which can be subpoenaed. No data, no legal standing, no patch industry.

In the world of software plugins, this online cloud library system is widely used, and the user-expectation is generally that it's free to access. My own little Boss Katana:GO has an app that accesses Boss's Tone Cloud, and I can download user patches, upload my own in the cloud. There is no charge for this, and nor would I pay for it. Loads of other similar guitar software - Amplitude, Overloud's and others all have similar systems, and they can offer expansion pack sales as well - but these things are a lot easier to implement inside software-based systems.

I think you overestimate the user desire to pay for cloud storage for a relatively tiny amount of data, and most users don't even generate that data, they tend to use presets other people have made (and/or buy commercial presets).

Believe me, I understand your viewpoint, and I'm well aware of the challenges of selling presets online. In the 80s, the value of a set of 64 new sounds was something like £80, usually on a cartridge or RAM card. These days, everyone has so many sounds and devices and presets at their disposal, the desire to get more sounds just isn't there in the same way it was back then, and there are way more devices in the marketplace causing massive fragmentation, and consequently it's driven the prices way down - in the synth world, you're looking at typically £15-£25 for a good quality set of patches from a reputable vendor with a track record of quality. Maybe £30-£40 if your products can justify it, but that's at the high end.

So - likely, nothing will change (and despite what you say, it's absolutely not as technologically simple to implement this in any meaningful way, especially in some kind of standard way that multiple vendors support in their hardware). It's therefore up to us to decide on the products we'd like to make, and the commercial viability of the effort to make them, versus the return, given the current marketplace and the challenges of operating within it. We all have to make that calculation for ourselves.

None of this is really about copyright, which you have if you create a commercial product (even though the actual legal copyright status on a "preset" is not exactly strong, for reasons outlined above.) It's about prevention of piracy - which as we all know is not at all a trivial problem to solve. I often use watermarking techniques in my presets that makes it more easy to identify when my work has been ripped off - say, someone gets my soundset, and then edits a few minor things, changes the names, and tries to resell that as a commercial library - it makes it viable that I can essentially prove that the data came from me - that hasn't ever happened, and even if it did, likely I wouldn't be able to do much about it because legal costs would be prohibitive to pursue it. But it does give me a tool to *know* if someone has done this that I can use if necessary - and social media pressure alone can be valuable for these kinds of things. If someone's flogging your stuff on eBay, not even eBay will care enough to take it down.

But my attitude generally is - if you want to operate commercially, do good work, build a reputation of making a quality product, provide additional value for the legit customer if you can, spend a little effort on sending DMCA's around if you see your work being shared online, but don't worry about that use too much, unless you can't establish and develop a loyal customer base who values your work you can sell to, and your sales trend to nothing if your work is pirated. If that's the case, the business is not viable.

In the case of my commercial efforts, the sales returns have been well worth the effort, despite online piracy. And that's generally what I see from other respected sound designers in the marketplace - at least, they are still putting out good work many years on, and generating useful income.

Piracy is a factor, but you can't prevent it, so you have to factor it in to your business case.
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