[Consortium] Re: Fwd: [edmemo] Re. Letter in August Edition from Daniel James

Daniel James daniel at linuxaudio.org
Tue Aug 2 13:03:43 EDT 2005

Hello Neil,

> > I would like to write this as a direct response to your letter in
> > the SOS issue of August 2005, as it seems to me you have got some
> > serious issues badly wrong.

It does appear we disagree on some points.

> > You quote the open source folks - let me point you directly at
> > the open source project dealing with DVD-Audio - based around
> > reverse engineered commercial discs by the authors own admission.

Do you mean http://dvd-audio.sourceforge.net/ ? That site explicitly 
says that the code does not support Meridian Lossless Packing used in 
commercial discs. 

> > This is illegal - it is a criminal offence to do that.

If you could point me towards the law that says that, I'd appreciate 
it. I understood that reverse engineering for the purposes of making 
systems compatible was legal in many countries, but not in the USA if 
it circumvents a copy-protection mechanism. 

> > And the argument that software is not property in the same sense
> > as house contents is also either naive or stupid.

If you can invent a physical property replicator, you could make a 
fortune on eBay. Maybe someone has, and they're keeping it quiet for 
this very reason.

> > Just because it is technically possible to burn an illegal copy
> > still does not make it either right or desirable to do so

Please note that I was talking about free software. It's explicitly 
legal to burn a copy.

> > it is still theft, according to the terms of laws in the UK.

No, it's not. Even if it's proprietary software, it's copyright 
infringement - different law. Free software also depends on copyright 
to enforce its licensing terms, so I'm not knocking the validity or 
usefulness of copyright.

> > It 
> > is absolute twaddle to suggest that, say, Steinberg would rather
> > you use a stolen copy of Nuendo as opposed to a legal copy of
> > Logic.

Do you have any evidence for this statement, or have you done any 
research? You might like to read Selective Enforcement of Copyright 
as an Optimal Monopolistic Behavior: 


> > And the closing arguments made about the cost of Nuendo being
> > extortionate? I think not.

I didn't say it was extortionate, I meant that if people pay that much 
for a single copy of an application they might expect to get bugfix 
updates included in the price. That's just good customer service.

> > When you consider that out of the box you get full AES31, OMF and
> > AAF import/export included for the cost, where if you use digi PT
> > LE that same functionality will cost you another £575 for the
> > Digi Toolkit (you don't even get timecode as standard with PT
> > LE), plus yet a further £285 for DigiTranslator, making a total
> > of £860 just for OMF and AAF support alone.

I didn't say ProTools was better value. I wasn't making a comparison 
between different proprietary applications.

> > As for the "known 
> > bugs" dig, I also suggest that you go read the comments on any
> > forum about any software and it's failings.

No need, I know that software has bugs - that's one of the points I 
was making.

> > And as a regular in the Nuendo forums, I am constantly
> > amazed by just how many people use stolen copies and then have
> > the brass neck to try & claim bugs when the odds are very high it
> > is the stolen copy that is faulty.

I'm not defending people who infringe copyright, quite the opposite. I 
would rather people used free software than infringe copyright.

> > I can give many examples of 
> > this with the current Nuendo. Yes, there are issues. And yes,
> > they do get fixed. But with more like you in the world, it will
> > take a lot longer.

Oh please! I'm not even a Nuendo user.

> > And Audio apps are not the only ones either. I also moderate at
> > another well known companies forums, and yet again we see on a
> > daily basis the users of stolen versions pissing and moaning
> > about a repeatable bug that existed only in the pre release
> > versions. Ask then for their build number, and like the fools
> > they are they give it - and we can instantly spot the stolen beta
> > copy.

I'm sure that happens a lot, but it never happens to me. I use Linux 
and free software for nearly everything. I do have a copy of Adobe 
Reader, but I downloaded that from Adobe's own site.

> > You state you won't "just lend your guitar to anyone" in one
> > sentence, and in the next deny software companies the same right.

I'm not denying anyone anything, and in fact I would like to see 
proprietary software companies make it difficult to copy their 
software - reintroducing hardware dongles, for instance. Their 
userbase would probably drop to a tiny fraction of what it is now.

> > Our industry needs thieves like it needs an extra hole in the
> > head.

We agree on that. There's more than one kind of rip-off though.

> > I wonder how much stolen software is installed to your
> > system??

None at all. I don't even have a copy of Windows, so I'm not sure how 
I could run it even if I had it. Would you like a package list from 
this machine?



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