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Re: Pirates !

Postby Cupwise » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:54 am

i might as well finally give my opinion on this topic, since this does concern me to whatever degree, also.

richie43 wrote:The older ilok software has been cracked, and it's only a matter of time before the new ilok will be cracked. Besides, in order for Nebula to effectively use ilok, it will also have to be adopted universally by all library devs (or the reluctant devs will not be able to develop for the Nebula platform, I assume). This is not free, and I will assume that some of the costs will need to be absorbed by the devs, the devs of algo-based plugins that use ilok that I have spoken to said that they had to do this. So if this happens, we lose a few devs, and the one's that remain will need to charge more, which will affect sales. I do think that libraries are sometimes overly-fair priced, they are worth more than what we pay, for sure. But when a library that had cost $30-$50 USD goes up to $100+, per library, do you think that the Nebula "industry" can survive?
I have said many times that I do think that Acustica and devs need to do whatever they feel they need to so that they can continue development and sales of this unique and awesome tool. I just don't think that the Pace ilok is the answer. I actually think that going with ilok would be the beginning of the end of Acustica, but if they still decide to go that route, I truly hope that I am completely wrong.

i agree with this. ilok WILL be cracked, and in the meantime, if it were adopted, sales would be lost. and i think ilok would be the beginning of the end, so if it's adopted i will 'jump ship', for whatever that's worth.

i think the vast majority of people who download pirated software, weren't going to buy it anyway. i think if you put out something that resonates with people, you price it fairly, and you work to develop a good relationship with customers, you can grow a base of support. or not. maybe you do all that stuff and it still doesn't work out. but i don't think spending tons of resources, time, and effort on protection that WILL get cracked, will cost money to incorporate, and will drive away customers, will improve that situation, at all, in any way.

i really have to question that something being available freely instantly cuts off all sales. this thread is almost 100 pages, and the dev is there replying, on most if not all of those pages. has the glue not been cracked/warezed? a quick search shows me it has. but yet here this dev is, still posting in a 5 yr old thread. why would he do that if he was getting no sales?

to me it seems that that thread disproves the idea that software being cracked instantly removes sales that can support a developer. it's a continuing, 5yr disproof of that theory. just look at all the people praising that thing in that thread, mentioning how they bought or will buy it, and are glad to do so, when all they have to do is go download a cracked version.

seems to me that the sad truth is, if sales are hurting in a software, there might be other reasons than piracy.

the glue has:
*a fair price
*great customer service
*a dev who has participated in a 5yr thread, discussing updates, taking suggestions, etc)
*unobtrusive 'copy protection'
*no ilok
*14 day trial version
*great sound
*savvy marketing
*success

this is all just my opinion, but i feel like instead of spending so much time worrying about copy protection that will actually stop pirates - which is an impossible thing - more time should be spent on emulating more closely, the successful model used by devs like cyotomic. it's a competitive industry, and i just think it's easy to assume that sales dropping is because of piracy, when it could be partly because someone else is doing something that has more appeal, and maybe even for a cheaper price. just like any other market, competition is a huge factor.

just one example- it's no secret that nebula is mystifying to newcomers.

is the glue?

if that were improved, shouldn't it be assumed that sales would also? people get baffled by nebula. people don't get baffled by the glue. they just use it.

that's just one of many areas that nebula could be improved, imo. when there is so much room for improvement, i think it's kind of ridiculous to be looking at locking the thing down with ilok as if that will somehow bring more customers. improving the product will bring more customers. making it more annoying by adding ilok, on top of the existing issues with using it, will not bring more customers.

again, this is all just my opinion.
Last edited by Cupwise on Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pirates !

Postby SWAN » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:14 pm

Cupwise wrote:i really have to question that something being available freely instantly cuts off all sales. this thread is almost 100 pages, and the dev is there replying, on most if not all of those pages. has the glue not been cracked/warezed? a quick search shows me it has. but yet here this dev is, still posting in a 5 yr old thread. why would he do that if he was getting no sales?


I think the answer to this is that The Glue is a hugely popular plugin - probably one of the most popular in the last 5 years - due to its low price and its high quality (especially when it was released being almost unique in its cost / quality bracket). So its a question - is every plugin as successful as this? Is this the typical release a developer can expect to have?

to me it seems that that thread disproves the idea that software being cracked instantly removes sales that can support a developer. it's a continuing, 5yr disproof of that theory. just look at all the people praising that thing in that thread, mentioning how they bought or will buy it, and are glad to do so, when all they have to do is go download a cracked version.

Im afraid I dont agree because we dont have the figures of his sales from the moment before and after the cracking. I understand that it was some time before it came onto the scene - and its possible he simple had enough sales previous to survive. That and another fairly successful release (before that got cracked) - is whats likely keeping him afloat in my view...

The fact that we are discussing a company managing to 'survive' 5 years off of the launch of a highly successful plugin - is quite negative in my view...

I actually started the thread in KVR regarding the Glue before it was even called the Glue - when I noticed a beta version being used by Deadmau5...that thread went on to be one of the longest in KVR history - so it is a hype plugin that I dont think is really representative...although I agree its success is something to aspire to...

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 119ff921a8


dropping is because of piracy, when it could be partly because someone else is doing something that has more appeal, and maybe even for a cheaper price.


I absolutely agree with you there should be strong focus on the positive marketing as well as repelling cracking...and it certainly helps...

I posted the word below from Urs Heckmann of U-He relating to Diva sales surviving off of the clever anti-crack implementation - another highly successful plugin...Considering this is probably one of the most successful softsynths (like The Glue) - to me that paints a very bleak landscape...


Knowing the scene's quite well and some people who use cracks - I can say with certainty that there are some poeple who will never buy, but also some people use them purely because they can - without thinking of the moral implications...probably if they saved a month or two - they could buy - and WOULD buy if they had to because they could not use it cracked.

I have heard from enough developers to persuade me that significant often deal-breaking losses are taken once a product is available cracked...to believe it. I used to subscribe to the notion that piracy didnt affect sales - but I have changed that now sadly...its a nice idea that people tell themselves in order to argue against copy protection - but I dont see any evidence for this...only survival 'just' of the finenst plugins in the industry...and a smash and grab income stream for those developers before their plugin gets uploaded...
Last edited by SWAN on Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pirates !

Postby SWAN » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:23 pm

Here is some info about the impact of the 2010 iLok 1 cracking

http://www.coolstufflabs.com/consequences.html

Urs of U-He:

Nah, the genius part is an urban legend, the only genius cracker I know died in 2009. They're mainly bored people who can't work out high-grade CrackMes and thus refrain fom that to cracking easier things - such as audio software with sloppy protection.

It didn't take a genius to crack stuff on a C64, but it takes way more than being a genius to fully understand today's software in binary form. It takes tools like IDA Pro, and even a bored script kiddie can crack most of the stuff out there. Here comes the point: IDA Pro is useless for the copy protection scheme we chose. I doubt they even understand what's happening.

That said, with the voice of an upset child: "Our copy protection is genius itself - it's always one better than any cracker".

We have great reports from other developers who have implemented those ideas (they're not just mine). Cracker Teams have given up because their "fame" was based only on temporarily unlocked demo restrictions.

Thus I think, if every developer abandoned the stupid myth of "you can't prevent it - crackers are coding gods" and upped his protection just a little bit, everyone would profit - except for freetards. Those 20% of extra revenue can be spent on improving software rather than sessions and anti-depressants.


u-he has 5 employees and an average of 2 freelancers at any time, plus a bunch of contact services (cleaners, bookkeepers). We advertise in British Magazines, on Google and on Facebook. We do a trade show a year. We run a studio with top notch vintage gear. Our monthly costs sum up around 30000€, that's about 360000€ annually, to which we need to add other expenses (hardware, software, stuff). Our 2012 revenues were slightly beyond half a million Euros - thanks to buyers of Diva and The Dark Zebra. After costs and taxes, I think we have made a profit somewhere in the region of 10000-30000 Euros. Which is great, but not brilliant.

20% of our revenues are generated from "expired demo versions". If that factor dies because of a perfect crack, then we have to cut back massively.

:shock:


NOTE: 2012 was the year Diva AND The Dark Zebra - two serious pieces of award winning software were released...and STILL their margins were tight and dependent on income from cracks...

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... &start=240
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Re: Pirates !

Postby andiw » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:58 pm

@cupwise: +1, well said!
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Re: Pirates !

Postby Cupwise » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:58 pm

SWAN wrote:I dont know if anyone saw his posting on the subject - but Urs from U-He has posted on this issue at KVR. I think we can assume that Diva is one of the most successful softsynths in the industry - and a unique piece of technology. However he has admitted that if it was not for his copy protection scheme - that kicks in on cracked software - directing users to the site to buy - he would not make profit from Diva. 2/3 of his sales are legitimate and 1/3 come through his copy protection. After paying his employees - if he did not get those sales in - U-He would not be able to function.

ok but apply the same logic you applied about not knowing the sales figures of the glue to this. you don't know for 100% sure that the 1/3 of sales he got from that protection directing those people to buy it, wouldn't have happened otherwise. you can't possibly know that scientifically, because that alternate universe scenario doesn't exist. in other words, maybe those 1/3 of people would have went and bought it anyways, even if the thing didn't link them to his page. at least some of them might have, and nobody can know what %. if all it took those people was a simple directing to his site for them to buy the thing, then clearly they were already likely to buy it. if someone really wants free stuff, they aren't going to just brainlessly click 'buy' because your product asked them to.

not only that, but you're using an example where 'warezed' software actually promoted a product to the pirates, who then legitimately bought it. i'm not saying that makes it ok, but it still goes against the idea that something being 'warezed' means it will get no sales. also, nobody has managed to crack that copy protection? if there is a copy of that thing floating around that has that 'protection' where it links you to his site stripped out of it, then all you did was list another example of software that is freely available cracked, but sales from it still managed to support the dev. a version that links the user to your site asking them to buy a legit copy can't really be said to be fully cracked.
SWAN wrote:I think the answer to this is that The Glue is a hugely popular plugin - probably one of the most popular in the last 5 years - due to its low price and its high quality
that's exactly what i was saying.
SWAN wrote: So its a question - is every plugin as successful as this? Is this the typical release a developer can expect to have?
no. but as a consumer myself, why would i want to buy someone else's something else, if it isn't as good as the glue, has annoying copy protection, and costs more? (and i'm not talking about nebula here, just plug-ins in general). this is basic economics. it's a competition. the audio software market is a particularly bloodthirsty one. if those other guys want some of the success that the glue has, they are going to have to fight for it, and offer something that is in some way better than the glue (or whichever plug is considered the best in any other category). otherwise, why in the hell would i (or you, or anyone) want to buy their crap?

and i don't mean to suggest that this or that software out there is literally crap. but if it isn't competitive in some way (price, presentation, etc) with whatever is considered 'the best' (which is something available to anyone, at any time, in the software world, because there is never a shortage of a particular plug-in), it might as well be.
SWAN wrote:COnsidering this is probably one of the most successful softsynths (like The Glue) - to me that paints a very bleak landscape...
maybe so, but how does adding an ilok to a bleak landscape help anything, if it drives customers away now, and gets cracked later? i think ilok might help some companies, such as those which are already big name, established, and highly respected in the industry, where people will pay the premium added by the ilok to get it because their products are an industry standard already. but even then the help is probably only short term. waves got out of ilok for a reason.
SWAN wrote:Knowing the scene's quite well and some people who use cracks - I can say with certainty that people use them purely because they can - without thinking of the moral implications - and probably if they saved a month or two - they could buy - and WOULD buy if they had to because they could not use it cracked.
maybe so. but that's just the reality. the first roadblock to success with software, is competition. like any other product. then it has the added problem of copyright protection. but it has the benefit over tangible goods, that you can sell however many copies and have no manufacturing costs, anywhere in the world, and have that product delivered instantly. you can't do that with a pair of pants or any physical object. it costs you absolutely nothing to make additional copies of a program. i'm just saying that, because that's an expense that other businesses have, which software sold online doesn't. if piracy kills all sales, why is anyone at all still doing software?
SWAN wrote:I have heard from enough developers to persuade me that significant often deal-breaking losses are taken once a product is available cracked...to believe it. I used to subscribe to the notion that piracy didnt affect sales - but I have changed that now sadly...its a nice idea that people tell themselves in order to argue against copy protection - but for me the evidence has become clear.

i think piracy hurts sales. but so does the fact that there are a million companies making a million vst effects and a million vsti synths. people get tired of the same thing over and over. there are literally a million vsti virtual analog synths out there. no joke. there are a million vst compressors. half of them are free releases. out of the rest, some devs are selling better ones for cheaper than others that might not be as good. that's how capitalism works. and someone is going to be at the top. the glue might be 'hype' to some degree, but honestly what isn't in this market? also, his sales might have got hurt when it was cracked but if they dropped to nothing, why would he still be posting in a 5yr old thread to this day?

it's just my opinion that it's a true fact, that if nebula were streamlined, and made less confusing to new users, it's sales would improve. and that if ilok were added, it's sales would hurt. if the glue were as confusing as nebula, it wouldn't be top dog at kvr or anywhere, either.

on the other hand, while there are a million vsts and a million vstis out there, there is only one nebula. so yeah i think it has chance to be that top dog, or at least be among them. but not in it's current form. i have somewhat high hopes for nebula 4 (trying not to get them TOO high), based on what i've seen. it looks like it's simplifying things, simplifying the gui and offering new abilities. that's where i think the focus should be. that, and of course maintaining support/customer service and updates which is probably where more of the work of successful soft devs is at.
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Re: Pirates !

Postby kylen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:38 pm

Great points everyone of course, especially the amount of time worrying about the business aspects of the thievery topic compared to other business aspects such as product distribution, usability and performance. I can say this, Pirates are proud and bold they'll tell you they have acquired booty in public, Pirates are deeply religious - they believe that what they do serves a greater good which is their art, Pirates are highly educated businessmen - they can give you all kinds of analysis as to why their thievery does not affect any bottom line, I hate stupid Pirates :twisted: . But above all that in every audio forum I travel where folks would actually use Nebula (admittedly just 3,4 or 5) I see a very small percentage of piracy and a huge percentage of Nebula usability, performance, and website (distribution and concise how-to) complaints. And because Nebula old-timers are consistently praising the sound (because they've put the time into understanding and overcoming workflow and settings) new users are getting frustrated because they can't just load a Nebula instance and hit a button to make it go. Like they can with other plugins...
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Re: Pirates !

Postby SWAN » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:03 pm

Cupwise wrote:ok but apply the same logic you applied about not knowing the sales figures of the glue to this. you don't know for 100% sure that the 1/3 of sales he got from that protection directing those people to buy it, wouldn't have happened otherwise.


no I dont follow this logic. the point is they already decided not to buy. they get directed to the site and buy because their crack has stopped working - perhaps after trying to get another crack to work...I think the chances of a user like this buying anyway having picked up a crack and been using it happily - is very slim if you consider it rationally...because there is something called demos for people who plan on buying...

not only that, but you're using an example where 'warezed' software actually promoted a product to the pirates, who then legitimately bought it. i'm not saying that makes it ok, but it still goes against the idea that something being 'warezed' means it will get no sales.


This is because its an exception to the rule - a clever implementation of copy protection. Most dont use this system. Therefore it illustrates some of the loss most developers experience.

also, nobody has managed to crack that copy protection? if there is a copy of that thing floating around that has that 'protection' where it links you to his site stripped out of it, then all you did was list another example of software that is freely available cracked, but sales from it still managed to support the dev. a version that links the user to your site asking them to buy a legit copy can't really be said to be fully cracked.


Im not sure how you are trying to turn this...the point is - sales are barely supporting the dev of a award winning plugin - the top of the pile. And its barely surviving in part due to a protection scheme that most others dont have...

My point about the Glue - is that at the time it was not a typical release. I would of course encourage developers to go for ultimate quality and affordable price - but at the time The Glue was released there was no other option for circuit modelled native plugins. Its very unlikely a normal software company can come out with releases like that in market circumstances like that constantly...

but as a consumer myself, why would i want to buy someone else's something else, if it isn't as good as the glue, has annoying copy protection, and costs more? (and i'm not talking about nebula here, just plug-ins in general).


Of course - but now there are competitors in the price bracket similar quality - and The Glue is cracked - so I would predict the sales are much much lower than the first launch year...

maybe so, but how does adding an ilok to a bleak landscape help anything, if it drives customers away now, and gets cracked later? i think ilok might help some companies, such as those which are already big name, established, and highly respected in the industry, where people will pay the premium added by the ilok to get it because their products are an industry standard already. but even then the help is probably only short term. waves got out of ilok for a reason.



waves got out of iLok sure but Slate got in and seems to be doing ok...along with Kush and many others....Im not totally into iLok - but its a system - and it works. iLok 1 got cracked because it was too simplistic. Actually we dont know for sure that iLok 2 will be cracked - it hasnt yet? Niether has elicenser...meanwhile people like Slate have been dominating the market and putting Nebula into the shade. Im sorry to say that because I prefer the sound on Nebula but still...

if piracy kills all sales, why is anyone at all still doing software?

Im not sure it kills 'all' sales. Developers can stay in business by releasing new producst - and also relying on the income BEFORE thier software is cracked. This is something again Ive heard developers actually say. I also hear them say- 'I saw it go up on the websites - and my sales went to zero'...mmmm - coincidence?

Alex B effectively said that on this very thread...

Piracy is a huge problem in the audio industry.

i think piracy hurts sales. but so does the fact that there are a million companies making a million vst effects and a million vsti synths. people get tired of the same thing over and over. there are literally a million vsti virtual analog synths out there.


You think piracy hurts sales - but are you ignoring the comments from actual developers who state their sales often drop to zero when a crack goes up? They are exaggerating or lying?

Sure - you cant control competition - but you can potentially piracy which from the feedback of developers - has a huge impact on sales...so why not try to deal with this problem?

it's just my opinion that it's a true fact, that if nebula were streamlined, and made less confusing to new users, it's sales would improve. and that if ilok were added, it's sales would hurt. if the glue were as confusing as nebula, it wouldn't be top dog at kvr or anywhere, either.


I agree there on most points. However if Nebula's issues were solved - and it went to iLok - it might get more support from the professional industry who tend to avoid...and move out of this geek hobbyist arena - which might not be a bad thing...

Im not saying I want Nebula to go iLok but I wouldnt have a problem with it - or them using any copy protection they deem valid. Anything that was appropriate for the business I would support. I trust Giancarlo et al to make sensible decisions. They have been more than fair so far with this technology.
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Re: Pirates !

Postby marcpl » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:10 pm

hi,

call me a conspiracy theorist, but the whole thing smells of sabotage to me. it could be that someone out there doesn't want nebula to become the next big thing. who knows.

regarding this thread, I've actually purchased a dozen or so new libraries in the last couple of weeks partly because of this thread...and I've got baby number 3 set to arrive in april so i'm playing with my life if the wife finds out.

I've been using nebula for several years now and I absolutely love it. and as a protools user things have never been better because of bluecat's patchwork.

but getting started with nebula was a nightmare...a painful experience. copy this...tweak that. what??? really??? but then you hit play and have an aural orgasm and you're hooked!

nebula's worst enemy is nebula. i'd rate the technology an A but the plugin development a C-. nebula really moves along at a snail's pace.
just my opinion.

when you factor in that the user experience and overall reputation are less than stellar AND that you can now get it for free...well that's not exactly a recipe for success.

as far as copy protection, do what you have to do. i'll be fine with whatever you decide.

anyway, I really look forward to what's coming in November and wish acustica and the devs my very best.

regards,
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Re: Pirates !

Postby SWAN » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:10 pm

Tim - you say you would get out of Nebula if it went iLok...but what if it went the route of seperate Nebula compressor plugins - you worked with AA and sold your iLok protected Aqua plugins for $99 instead of $20?

Personally - thats what I'd like to see...not developers scraping around for €10 after putting in days weeks months of work...and not having Nebula cracked up on warez sites...

I think solid protection could allow for a better financial model and also more legitimacy. Its also well known that higher prices infer higher value - and Id like to see Nebula move out of the Geek closet and get its legitimate respect for the sound quality it provides. Yes for that - we may need to be grown ups and accept some copy protection.

The way I feel about it - Nebula users have been dining out on a very gentle and liberal non-coporate Acustica policy for years now. Maybe the Nebula users who have had almost hardware quality in the box - should accept a change.
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Re: Pirates !

Postby Cupwise » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:35 pm

slate already had a reputation as becoming a standard in the industry before they went ilok. i don't think nebula has managed that type of reputation yet. i think you have to show that you have easy to use technology that gets great results without hassle, before you can expect to survive a jump to something like ilok.

and yeah, i'd like to release acqua stuff, and yeah i expect the prices would be higher than what i've asked for my stuff in the past. but i would prefer it not have ilok. the glue doesn't. if i were a customer looking between an acqua comp that just hit the scene, had ilok, and cost $100, vs the glue which has been considered great for 5yrs so that it's basically a standard in the industry now, has great support, a dev who has talked with his customers for 5yrs, and which DOESN'T have ilok, which am i going to go for?

i'm not saying there shouldn't be any copy protection at all. i just think ilok is going a bit far. look how many posts are against it in this thread. the posts ok with it mostly seem to be people who already HAVE ilok. and they already have nebula, and must like it or they wouldn't be posting in here. but to be able to keep doing software you need new sales, and not everyone out there who doesn't have nebula, already has ilok. so the best opinions to have on ilok, would be from those people. would THEY be ok with buying ilok to get an acqua plugin which also costs them however much? of course some would but it makes it a tougher sell, for sure.
Last edited by Cupwise on Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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