Open letter to companies still using iLok ( looking at you Slate Digital )

VST, AU, AAX, CLAP, etc. Plugin Virtual Effects Discussion

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Neon Breath wrote:Don't like it, don't use it. That's it.
That sums the situation up.
It isn't harsh, it is infallible logic.

As someone who has no issues with iLok I do find it "odd" that people choose not to use, or even try, great plugins simply because of iLok.

For me it's all about the plugin, not the copy protection system.
But I respect iLok haters. :tu:

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iainduncan wrote:Before I rant, let me say that a) I earn my living as a programmer, and b) while I used cracks when I was a young punk 15 years ago, I now use only legit purchased software.

If you are using iLok now, you are losing business. I, and many like me, will never ever buy your product. iLok inconveniences your *legit* customers. It does nothing to prevent piracy, any decent cracker can crack iLok protected code and any idiot can find cracks online. If we purchase your software, it's because we believe in supporting companies and doing the right thing. It's not because we have to because of your obsolete technology choices. All iLok does is make my life more difficult should I choose your product, and with all the fantastic new plugin companies that don't use it, I don't need to put up with that.

[snip]

I would have bought Slate Digital VBC this year until I saw the words iLok. I can afford it. I won't because you're treating your customers poorly.

Iain Duncan
Vancouver, BC
Steven Slate of Slate Digital was very upfront about why they switched to iLok 2. Their VCC beta plugin (if I recall correctly) was cracked and put up on a very popular web site for nefarious computer behavior. We all know which one I'm talking about. Their sales plummeted the day this happened.

Now...you can talk about you want about the honor system but the truth is if people can get something "for free" then I'd venture to say that MOST people will. If they can't get it for free then they somehow find the money to pay for it.

So far iLok 2 has not been cracked. Therefore anyone who wants to use iLok 2 plugins after the trial period is over has to pay. I am GLAD something like the iLok exists because I don't want some pipsqueaks using software I paid good money for "free" of charge and undercutting my business. I wish ALL software, movies, music, videogames, etc. was iLoked so that maybe...just maybe...business would be a little easier to obtain. DOWN WITH LEECHES!

The iLok an inconvenience? HA! How many parameters do you change during the course of a mix session? A thousand or more? Inserting a USB stick in ONE TIME and downloading licenses ONE TIME is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

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A well known user on here told me that soundtoys will be dropping Ilok, so I guess not every company will be sticking to using it.
:borg:

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cron wrote:It seems to me that iLok 2 has actually been hugely effective in preventing piracy of the products that use it! As far as I'm aware no product using it has been cracked.
The real issue here is the completely false notion that 'preventing piracy' equals 'more sales'. It doesn't; the people who use cracked software do so because it's available that way. It's never a choice between 'buying it' and 'finding a cracked version' for those. If there isn't a cracked version, they simply get some other cracked alternative. I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.

Another important point in relation to this is the simple fact that there are people (companies) that depend on the software to make their own living (think commercial studios). If some stupid copy protection system gets in the way of that, it's a real problem instead of 'just not liking iLok'. There are many companies (also outside of the music business) that have legitimate licenses, but are running cracked versions without copy protection simply to stay away from the risk the software won't start in a time-pressured scenario (like when a client is breathing down your neck).

Bottom line: copy protection is a hassle for legitimate users, while it prevents nothing worth preventing.
CrimsonWarlock aka TechnoGremlin, using Reaper and a fine selection of freeware plugins.

Ragnarök VST-synthesizer co-creator with Full Bucket

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iLok not an inconvenience? Go goole "iLok2 issues". Seriously. What do you find? tons and tons of user complaints and stories about broken iloks, auth problems, servers being down, work interruptions until one gets replaced etc. It's a crappy technology. We deserve to be treated better as working professionals. In other professional computer based industries, people don't tolerate crap from companies that can cost them downtime. If you have an issue with a server, or and RDMBS, or an OS, it can be resolved 24/7 over the internet with no physical intervention required and you back up and running dead fast. It's just crazy that in audio we aren't dealing with the same standards of customer service as other professional software users.

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crimsonwarlock wrote:I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.
That's because no one actually says it, they just do it.
"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." - Claudio Monteverdi

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Shy wrote:
crimsonwarlock wrote:I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.
That's because no one actually says it, they just do it.
I was not talking about postings on a forum, but about people irl. You know, when you can actually see what they are using on their DAW.
CrimsonWarlock aka TechnoGremlin, using Reaper and a fine selection of freeware plugins.

Ragnarök VST-synthesizer co-creator with Full Bucket

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Here's a copy and paste from Steven's email that he sent to VCC beta users back in 2010:

Dear Slate Digital VCC Customer,

I hope you have had success with the Virtual Console Collection beta
plugin. Although it's not perfect and has its quirks (as a beta
usually does), many users have claimed that it has made a positive
improvement in their mixes. On behalf of Fabrice and the rest of
the crew, thanks so much for your help in the beta process.

I'm writing today to inform you about the future plans of the VCC
Beta plugin. The initial intent was to release a near final version
called beta3 in the past week. But then something happened which
threw a curve ball in our plans.

And that something is piracy.

A lot of people assume that piracy doesn't really affect pro audio
companies. Almost every single software company in the industry has
been pirated, and we still keep on releasing new plugins. So we
must be doing good business then, right? Well, no. Even the
largest software companies have had to lay off staff members.

We are far from large. There are a little more then a dozen hard
working guys on our team. Our business is centered around releasing
just a few plugins per year, and putting as much quality and
innovation into them as possible. Therefore, in order to stay
afloat, we rely heavily on the sales of each plugin. Once the VCC
is released, it will be only one of three products that bring us
revenue.

So when one of our products was pirated, it didn't just hurt us.
It killed us. If we didn't make a plan to stop it, than we simply
wouldn't be able to keep developing future plugins.

Coding an audio plugin is an extremely complex task that takes a
talented team of engineers and many, many, man hours. However, the
demographic of customers who purchase audio plugins is not nearly as
large as, for example, the demographic who buy accounting software
or graphic design software. Therefore, when the sales drop due to
piracy, there is absolutely no way to pay for the R&D or marketing.

The current protection that we use on plugins like the upcoming
final VCC is no longer strong enough to prevent piracy. We had to
come up with a solution, or we had to pack up shop. And it was
obvious which path we wanted to go. So, I came up with a plan.. As
you read it below, I hope you can put yourself in our shoes and try
to understand that we have attempted to create the most ethical plan
that will best please a majority of you, the customers, while
protecting our plugin from piracy.

We will end support of the current ilok dongle for the VCC, and
release all remaining VCC updates on the newer ilok dongle which has
much stronger protection against piracy. The new iloks are selling
for $49, but I promised you that for $199 you'd end up getting the
full version of VCC when it was done. So that means we'll be sending
all of you an ilok on our dollar, including the shipping cost.
You'll easily be able to transfer all older ilok licenses onto the
new ilok with ease, and it'll actually hold a lot more then your
original ilok. Your current plugins that run on the old ilok will
work perfectly on the new ilok without hassle.. we tried it.

Now, the problem is with guys on PPC. The newer ilok will not work
with PPC Macs. So we think the fair thing to do is to offer you a
50% refund ($99), or you can take the free ilok and assume that
you'll be updating to an Intel Mac sometime in the near future. The
choice is yours. We know this is a bummer, and I wish there was some
other way, but there just isn't.

We're working out all the logistics to get you these iloks along
with the new update of the VCC (which has many bug fixes including
the much in-demand Brit N fix) very soon.

Again, I thank you for supporting our efforts to make some cool
audio tools that help you make better music, and I hope you find
this solution to be one that is fair for everyone.

Best,

Steven Slate

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iainduncan wrote:iLok not an inconvenience? Go goole "iLok2 issues". Seriously. What do you find?
Google "windows 7 issues" or "windows 8 problems". What do you find?

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crimsonwarlock wrote:
Shy wrote:
crimsonwarlock wrote:I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.
That's because no one actually says it, they just do it.
I was not talking about postings on a forum, but about people irl. You know, when you can actually see what they are using on their DAW.
Yes, that's what I'm talking about. Also, I don't suppose you live in a country with an average salary of ~$1,200. People buy $30,000 cars all the time in such a country, but they "save" where they "can". Not that this phenomenon doesn't occur in much more financially stable places as well.

It doesn't matter what you claim about whether unbreakable (for a very long period of time) copy protection helps sales or not, the fact is that it depends on type of market as well as the specific product, and the user base, and some companies know much better than your or me whether this model suits them, and throughout the years I've heard from several people about just how much of a positive difference it makes for them, and I think some have mentioned it publicly.
"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." - Claudio Monteverdi

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Crimsonwarlock nailed it. I'm a Python consultant. I'm responsible for deploying projects that cost my clients ten of thousands of dollars and are critical to their business. I would never IN A MILLION YEARS choose as part of my professional stack something that I could not replace, guaranteed, 24/7/365 with a fresh working build within an hour. If I had the kind of client pressure I have for business software with my music work, that would be *even more* reason not to trust an iLok product. I am not prepared to risk downtime for some stupid reason designed only to inconvenience me. Professional adio engineers shouldn't either.

And when I was a broke 20 year old pirating software, I pirated all my software and was not in the market for anything. Now that I'm a 39 year old who makes a living, I buy all my software and will happily shell out real coin. But I won't put it up with crap from vendors who should know better.

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crimsonwarlock wrote:
cron wrote:It seems to me that iLok 2 has actually been hugely effective in preventing piracy of the products that use it! As far as I'm aware no product using it has been cracked.
The real issue here is the completely false notion that 'preventing piracy' equals 'more sales'. It doesn't; the people who use cracked software do so because it's available that way. It's never a choice between 'buying it' and 'finding a cracked version' for those. If there isn't a cracked version, they simply get some other cracked alternative. I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.

Another important point in relation to this is the simple fact that there are people (companies) that depend on the software to make their own living (think commercial studios). If some stupid copy protection system gets in the way of that, it's a real problem instead of 'just not liking iLok'. There are many companies (also outside of the music business) that have legitimate licenses, but are running cracked versions without copy protection simply to stay away from the risk the software won't start in a time-pressured scenario (like when a client is breathing down your neck).

Bottom line: copy protection is a hassle for legitimate users, while it prevents nothing worth preventing.

Read that Slate email I posted above and tell me that preventing piracy didn't translate into more sales. You cannot argue with the facts. As far as alternatives...what alternatives? When it comes to the iLok 2 plugins that I own there are no alternative sonic equals.

I have been called names by people when I tell them I buy my plguins/software legitimately. They call me stupid/a moron because my Windows copy is genuine. Because all my audio plugins are paid for. Adobe products...purchased. I am "wasting money", as they say. When someone from a band who sees me using PhoenixVerb or Slate VTM, for example, can't go home and download a cracked copy on their computer...it puts a smile on my face.

We are not all entitled to drive Ferraris, own 1957 Gibson Les Paul guitars and live in mansions. Just the same, no one is entitled to the use of plugins that cost money.

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AudioGuy720 wrote:
iainduncan wrote:iLok not an inconvenience? Go goole "iLok2 issues". Seriously. What do you find?
Google "windows 7 issues" or "windows 8 problems". What do you find?
But with the platforms (and that goes with mac too) it is mostly user error and then some not so good bugs. I have had this machine nearly 4 years. It brings a smile to my face every single day I fire it up.

I don't know if ilok problems are the same. I just know that if I wanted to run slate plugs I'd need to have an ilok 2 which bothers me because I have ilok 1.

Anyways, it's all good, use what you use. If someone wants to talk about that stuff because they are frustrated, let em talk, respond as needed. It's not a cut and dry thing either way.

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AudioGuy720 wrote:
crimsonwarlock wrote:
cron wrote:It seems to me that iLok 2 has actually been hugely effective in preventing piracy of the products that use it! As far as I'm aware no product using it has been cracked.
The real issue here is the completely false notion that 'preventing piracy' equals 'more sales'. It doesn't; the people who use cracked software do so because it's available that way. It's never a choice between 'buying it' and 'finding a cracked version' for those. If there isn't a cracked version, they simply get some other cracked alternative. I've never, NEVER! heard anyone state: 'I have the money to buy it, would have bought it but now I have a cracked version so I saved my money.

Another important point in relation to this is the simple fact that there are people (companies) that depend on the software to make their own living (think commercial studios). If some stupid copy protection system gets in the way of that, it's a real problem instead of 'just not liking iLok'. There are many companies (also outside of the music business) that have legitimate licenses, but are running cracked versions without copy protection simply to stay away from the risk the software won't start in a time-pressured scenario (like when a client is breathing down your neck).

Bottom line: copy protection is a hassle for legitimate users, while it prevents nothing worth preventing.

Read that Slate email I posted above and tell me that preventing piracy didn't translate into more sales. You cannot argue with the facts. As far as alternatives...what alternatives? When it comes to the iLok 2 plugins that I own there are no alternative sonic equals.

I have been called names by people when I tell them I buy my plguins/software legitimately. They call me stupid/a moron because my Windows copy is genuine. Because all my audio plugins are paid for. Adobe products...purchased. I am "wasting money", as they say. When someone from a band who sees me using PhoenixVerb or Slate VTM, for example, can't go home and download a cracked copy on their computer...it puts a smile on my face.

We are not all entitled to drive Ferraris, own 1957 Gibson Les Paul guitars and live in mansions. Just the same, no one is entitled to the use of plugins that cost money.
Some well said stuff. I'm not innocent of pirated stuff way back in the past. I needed photoshop and couldn't afford it so I just used the discs on my computer. The argument back then was that is why the price is so high, but even with copyprotection, the price is high, thus people try a way around it.

I don't like piracy. I was young and naive and was trying not spend my money on it. I have regrets.

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hibidy wrote:
AudioGuy720 wrote:
iainduncan wrote:iLok not an inconvenience? Go goole "iLok2 issues". Seriously. What do you find?
Google "windows 7 issues" or "windows 8 problems". What do you find?
But with the platforms (and that goes with mac too) it is mostly user error and then some not so good bugs. I have had this machine nearly 4 years. It brings a smile to my face every single day I fire it up.

I don't know if ilok problems are the same. I just know that if I wanted to run slate plugs I'd need to have an ilok 2 which bothers me because I have ilok 1.

Anyways, it's all good, use what you use. If someone wants to talk about that stuff because they are frustrated, let em talk, respond as needed. It's not a cut and dry thing either way.
Agreed. I would never say iLok is 100% perfect but it doesn't bother me that much. People using software "for free" that I paid good money for bothers me a lot more.

People used cracked copies of programs that cost $30 or less. Tell me that isn't pathetic!

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