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willjrock

Whos going to stop me?

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No doubt a better thread title might have been "what is to stop a person" but i figured this would attract a little more attention, and offer more opinions or facts, so excuse the confrontational undertones please. 

 

I was working thru a couple of helix presets yesterday when i came across a couple of IRs from redwirez and celestion that were near identical. I cant really tell you exactly which IRs they are with out a bunch of hassle, because line 6 wont implement a system for IRs that is user friendly  :P  That was a joke. Albeit true but not the point of this thread, anyway  :)

 

Best i can tell the IRs are Celestion G12M Greenbk 412CHi-G4 and Redwirez Orange4x12-V30s-421-ConeE if you have any interest in trying it yourself. Now i could have gotten the IRs to sound even MORE alike but not with out first finding out the exact IRs in place......a bunch of hassle, so i didnt worry about it much. Again not the main point of the thread.

 

I guess the $4 million dollar question here is "Whats to stop a person" from exporting an IR thru Mix IR and selling it as their own brand? Or mixing multiple IRs together? Or drum samples for that matter? Or even mixing a drumagog sample with a slate sample? What strategy does a company have in place to protect themselvs in being able to say "Hey, thats my IR or drum sample you are using there !!"

 

You might say copy protection, but someone gave me a pack of IRs that they bought and paid for and were a license protected format from what i understand, and they worked without any issues whatsoever (dont fret, i paid the $11 for the IRs once i knew i liked them) so even though they may have been copy written, that didnt seem to stop me from using them.

......and just to add -  I own a licence to all libraries mentioned, so i would have the ability to export any of these IRs or samples in an un-copywritten file format (as far as i know, not sure) 

 

Disclaimer: I have no interest or intentions of doing this. I am simply fascinated by the understanding, and have felt like this possibility has surfaced at times.

 

So anyway, this is just something ive often wondered about and hoped to discuss at some point but never got around to a thread. I thought here is as good a place as any. Plenty of smarts in this forum. Interested to hear your thoughts, and thanks for taking a second here :)

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Nothing would stop you, except maybe the possibility that if "your" IR was found to be binary identical to a commercial product, you could be liable for copyright or other applicable infringement.

 

I hope Helix will some day implement IR management that recognizes files by their content, not just their names. That's particularly important since Helix modifies the files, even ones in its optional format, so you can't roll your own comparison without importing every IR you own into Helix and exporting them.

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You mean there are actually people out there who steal intellectual property, and pass it off as their own for financial gain? Say it ain't so, Flava Flav!🤣

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Nothing would stop you, except maybe the possibility that if "your" IR was found to be binary identical to a commercial product, you could be liable for copyright or other applicable infringement.

 

Do you know, Is it possible to make that determination from a single file, when it is a derivative of multiple files?

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You mean there are actually people out there who steal intellectual property, and pass it off as their own for financial gain? Say it ain't so, Flava Flav!

Just wondering if you know off hand whether or not a preset can be defined as intel property? Just curious.

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Just my thoughts on the subject...  I'm no lawyer...

 

 

Here is my understanding of IR's

 

IR's are an artistic measurement of an acoustic space. They are created by using a microphone to record either an artificially generated frequency sweep or an impulse, typically a balloon pop.  They are often used to measure reverb, and to re-create the reverb effect of different spaces, halls, churches and the like.  Mic placement, type(s), impulse used, recording gear... and many many other factors create an IR.  The files are then run through a software package that uses a process called deconvolution.  

 

Guitarists use them to measure the frequency response of different mic/cabinet/room combinations.  They are recorded with the specs (mic placement) etc and sold commercially. That file is the Intellectual Property of the seller (redwirez, Ownhammer, etc) and selling that or distributing that would be a no no.  

 

Now if I buy an IR from Redwirez, and one from Ownhammer, and blend them with a cab from helix, and maybe add a bit of lexcon reverb, do a frequency sweep, deconvolve the output file, convert it to .wav format IMHO  thats now my IP, my musical interpretation of an IR that suits my musical style.  It would be no different than buying some cabs and mics, and creating the mix myself.  If I measure my Marshall cab with an SM57 does Marshall own my output file?  no.

 

Now to be clear, I'm no lawyer... and I may be incorrect on this whole IP subject, But I cant see how sharing or selling my own musical interpretation of a particular blend of my gear that I purchased, and created a musical file is anyone else's property. 

 

That said.  Just re-naming and re distributing someone else's files as Definitely out, plus I'm quite sure you'd get caught.  There's lots of ways to digitally track IP.  And if not illegal, is super shady.  

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Do you know, Is it possible to make that determination from a single file, when it is a derivative of multiple files?

If it's derived from multiple sources, probably not. Arguably it's yours then anyway, but that is a grey area. For instance, you are supposed to pay to use a drum beat sampled from someone else's record, even if that's all there is of their song in yours.

 

I'm not aware of any precedent one way or another about this in IR-land. You might want to ask Michael Britt, he has a ton of similar product out there, enough market visibility to get ripped off and/or sued, and (I'd think) the resources to find out the practical real-world application of the laws.

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You mean there are actually people out there who steal intellectual property, and pass it off as their own for financial gain? Say it ain't so, Flava Flav!

Damn! Next thing you know they will be turning whole record collections into MP3s, and even digitising movies. Ya can't trust anyone these days!

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Just wondering if you know off hand whether or not a preset can be defined as intel property? Just curious.

 

I would assume it is by the definition of the law.  However the issue would be PROVING it's your intellectual property...which becomes dicey.  Given that anyone can turn knobs and place blocks on the Helix, without some form of embedded notation there would be no way to prove the person didn't just come up with it on their own.

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If it's derived from multiple sources, probably not. Arguably it's yours then anyway, but that is a grey area. For instance, you are supposed to pay to use a drum beat sampled from someone else's record, even if that's all there is of their song in yours.

Ha ha ha, that reminds me of the old music industry anecdote about David Bowie and Gary Numan both travelling in the same elevator. After a brief silence Gary says to David, "I hope you don't mind, but I made a sample of the snare drum sound on 'Let's Dance' to use on my next project". Bowie thinks for a while then replies, "No problem, I stole it from you first!"

Most likely not true but it shows what can happen, and it can become very, very expensive.

Thankfully it's a little more difficult to steal a photographic image and claim it as your own. Check out TinEye.

https://www.tineye.com

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I think the somewhat unspoken understanding in all of this is that there's something of an honor system at play. I'm sure not everyone who gets a hold of these IRs adheres to it, but, basically, the making and selling of IRs (and profiles) is such a tiny business, that I'm kind of surprised that there are people and companies even pursuing it, in a way. I guess the main thing is that the capital investment isn't all that huge, assuming you already have access to the recording equipment. But if customer do start abusing it, it will make it so that people stop making and selling IRs. The whole legal/copyright aspect would be hard, if not impossible, to pursue, I think... These aren't exactly compositions of songs, so it's hard to say what exactly is being copyrighted.

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...maybe a virus will stop you.

Read an interesting article on amplipedia last night: IRs can be verified (and destroyed!) in seconds if you don't buy them.

Lots of Kempers are already infected.

Only a question of time and Helix will be affected, too...

The internet is a pandemic disease ;-)

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...maybe a virus will stop you.

Read an interesting article on amplipedia last night: IRs can be verified (and destroyed!) in seconds if you don't buy them.

Lots of Kempers are already infected.

Only a question of time and Helix will be affected, too...

The internet is a pandemic disease ;-)

 

Certainly a lot of different protection schemes are possible, but is anyone actually implementing them? Not that I know of... When I've purchased IRs, it's always a pretty low-tech endeavor. After you check out, a link is sent to your email and you can download the zip files. There's not really anything to stop someone from emailing those wav files or distributing them once they have them. Or as the OP states, you can always re-render IR files and call them whatever... The problem with taking the DRM route is such things often end up ticking off the people who are actually paying for the product and do little stop people who are actually being unethical.

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.wav has no means of DRM; nothing is stopping you from a technology PoV.

 

As far as 'derivative works' it would depend on the original license the IR's were distributed under.  For example in software: 

 

GPL:  'You can have this for free.  However, if you make a derivative work you have to also make your software free'.  It's considered a viral license.

 

LGPL: 'You can have it for free and do whatever you want w/it.'

 

Commercial: 'You can't do anything with this. We will sue you if you even try to reverse engineer it (DMCA) to re-implement.'

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These aren't exactly compositions of songs, so it's hard to say what exactly is being copyrighted.

Indeed. It's like trying to copyright the sound of a doorbell. Does someone own "ding-dong"? How would you distinguish your "ding-dong" (insert phallic joke here ;) ) from any other company that decides to sell doorbells?

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Indeed. It's like trying to copyright the sound of a doorbell. Does someone own "ding-dong"? How would you distinguish your "ding-dong" (insert phallic joke here ;) ) from any other company that decides to sell doorbells?

 

This stuff gets dicey fast.  Take a book for example: how much is needed to claim copyright?  A letter? A word? A sentence? A paragraph? A chapter?

 

I think most would agree that copyrighting a single letter isn't reasonable.  Now imagine if a book was broken down to its individual letters and distributed in such a way that no one person had more than 1 letter and the possible locations of the previous/next letter.  How do you stop that? Nobody has a enough of it to be in violation yet clearly the work can be obtained.  

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...maybe a virus will stop you.

Read an interesting article on amplipedia last night: IRs can be verified (and destroyed!) in seconds if you don't buy them.

Lots of Kempers are already infected.

Only a question of time and Helix will be affected, too...

The internet is a pandemic disease ;-)

 

This was fake news / extremely ironic!!!

If we needed a virus protection for Helix, I'd sell it tomorrow...

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[...]

 

IR's are an artistic measurement of an acoustic space. They are created by using a microphone to record either an artificially generated frequency sweep or an impulse, typically a balloon pop.  They are often used to measure reverb, and to re-create the reverb effect of different spaces, halls, churches and the like.  Mic placement, type(s), impulse used, recording gear... and many many other factors create an IR.  The files are then run through a software package that uses a process called deconvolution.  

 

Guitarists use them to measure the frequency response of different mic/cabinet/room combinations.  They are recorded with the specs (mic placement) etc and sold commercially. That file is the Intellectual Property of the seller (redwirez, Ownhammer, etc) and selling that or distributing that would be a no no.  

 

Now if I buy an IR from Redwirez, and one from Ownhammer, and blend them with a cab from helix, and maybe add a bit of lexcon reverb, do a frequency sweep, deconvolve the output file, convert it to .wav format IMHO  thats now my IP, my musical interpretation of an IR that suits my musical style.  It would be no different than buying some cabs and mics, and creating the mix myself.  If I measure my Marshall cab with an SM57 does Marshall own my output file?  no.

 

[...]

I'm not an IP attorney, but I have some familiarity with the concept. There are two tests that I think would be the most important for determining whether the blending and recapture process you described would be a copyright violation or a fair use. I forget the names of the tests, but one would be the size of the copyrighted material used and the proportion of the new work in which it appeared. The second would be whether it would cause substantial confusion with the original work such that it would interfere with the market for the original work. There may also a third concept of how "transformative" your process was of the protected IR.

One way of looking at it would be that you would be using the entire protected IR in your new IR, but it would only be responsible for a component of the new one. Whether the new IR would confuse people into thinking it was the protected IR would probably fall outside of the hypothetical you presented; it would probably have more to do with how it is marketed. The transformative aspect might actually be key. How much work did the new author do getting the right blend? Did he just do this with a bunch of protected IR's, or did he set out to make certain sounds and only used protected IRs in the process when they were appropriate? 

It's an interesting question, for sure. I'd be interested if an IP attorney had an opinion.

Just for my own CYA purposes, nothing about the forgoing should be interpreted as legal advice. Assume you will go to jail for the rest of your natural life and be sued for ten billion dollars if you take any of what I say as advice. 

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This stuff gets dicey fast.  Take a book for example: how much is needed to claim copyright?  A letter? A word? A sentence? A paragraph? A chapter?

[...]

That's exactly the problem. And there is no percentage or absolute number of characters that one can use to determine whether he is making a fair use or a copyright violation. It comes down to what 12 of your peers or an appellate judge think is too much in any given circumstance. The interesting part of this is that, while there have been thousands of copyright infringement lawsuits on books and songs, I can't imagine there has been any precedent for lawsuits on copyright protected IRs. I wonder if there has ever been something like that for other modeling processes. And here you start getting into muddy waters between patent and copyright law when you are looking more at software... 

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I can't imagine there has been any precedent for lawsuits on copyright protected IRs.

Probably not...and it's not hard to guess why. There isn't enough money involved. If lawyers can't get rich on the case, then nobody cares. Vast sums of money change hands with books, music, movies. Also, everybody knows what songs and movies are. Good luck explaining IR's to the judge...;)

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Probably not...and it's not hard to guess why. There isn't enough money involved. If lawyers can't get rich on the case, then nobody cares. Vast sums of money change hands with books, music, movies. Also, everybody knows what a song or a movie is. Good luck explaining IR's to the judge... ;)

IP Attorney: "Your honor, my client's IR allows guitarists to rock out to Led Zepplin riffs, and the defendant's IR allows him to rock out to Led Zepplin riffs in a slightly different way that is more feel than anything else." 

Judge: "What if he just buys the right speaker?"

IP Attorney: "But your honor, think of all the extra cables he'd need to carry around with him!" 

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IP Attorney: "Your honor, my client's IR allows guitarists to rock out to Led Zepplin riffs, and the defendant's IR allows him to rock out to Led Zepplin riffs in a slightly different way that is more feel than anything else."

Judge: "What if he just buys the right speaker?"

IP Attorney: "But your honor, think of all the extra cables he'd need to carry around with him!"

Exactly. It'd be easier to explain the infield fly rule to a Neanderthal...

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Doesn't it sort of work out depending on the original and the sold article, based on how derivative it is.

 

For instance if I buy a set of drum samples. I then process these drum samples and sell them as a set of drum samples I would be looking for trouble.

 

If I was to take these drum samples and then make a set of loops using these drum samples and sell the loops then I would be in a bit of a grey area as the loops could be deconstructed to get the near to the original samples even though I am selling a different product.

 

If I was to make an album using the drum samples then everything would be fine.

 

So for IRs I would guess using them to create other IRs is very derivative and it's a no no.

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Its an Interesting discussion for sure.  

 

I'm just not really sure you could prove where an IR came from.  At the end of the day IR's are really just A speaker EQ curve, summed with a mic EQ curve, and then exposed to a very short reverb to create the phasing effect of multiple speakers and a room and a cab.  I'd imagine It would be very hard to prove you owned any of that chain.  

 

 

To my way of thinking... if you made a blended IR, using your gear to create a sweep file and recording it with your own gear, and your own EQ settings....  

At that point, you have made something entirely new, and it would be yours.  Again I'm no lawyer...  

 

Now if you include the original .wav file (source code or whatever its called) then it would be a no no, and dishonest if not illegal.  

 

But using an IR, installed in my gear, measured by my gear, to create my own sound... I don't see how anyone could legally lay claim to that.  

 

Just my opinion tho...   

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Exactly. It'd be easier to explain the infield fly rule to a Neanderthal...

Excuse me, but I'm a Neanderthal, please explain? 😜

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Let me ignore the copyright issue at the moment, and look at the technical aspects of how one would determine if one or multiple IRs were 'copies'.

 

Like music and video, it's pretty much impossible to effectively 'protect' an IR with DRM schemes and the like if the device can be used with the IR alone (and no other effects). This is because an IR can always be recaptured by taking an impulse response of the device that is using it. Cryptography can get you so far, but when you need to decrypt it so the end user can use it, the non-encrypted plaintext must be made available to them, and at that point is exposed to being extracted and the DRM stripped.

 

Once recaptured (or directly extracted/copied), it is then possible to compare two IRs to see how closely they match. That doesn't prove provenance, but it does show that they probably came from the same source. When IR captures are made there are small random variations between responses. One short IR may be a low probability coincidence due to being captured with the same mic/cabinet/room combination. A second or third in the copied pack would make this doubtful. However, again, it still doesn't prove provenance. Although the original person, would likely have multiple other responses from the same session that could be used to show that the IR came from that original piece of hardware, and the 'copier' may not even have enough knowledge to demonstrate how they made them.

 

Using spectral analysis it is possible to reduce a waveform (including IRs) to a subset of components that can be statistically compared even if they have been slightly modified. These methods can be used to compare recordings that have gone through further analog processing with minimal distortion/noise added. And would easily show a truncated/windowed version matches a longer impulse.

 

When comparing combined IRs, it would be quite simple to check if a resultant IR was made with two given input source files, as the transformation is completely linear. If an IR is made by added two together, the third IR could be extracted by simple subtraction (or deconvolution) if one of the first IRs is known. Then comparisons could be made as above.

The processing steps become more complicated if filtering and other transformations are made, or if you don't have any idea what the original constituent IRs were. But, if lets say you were CompanyX and suspected CompanyY to have 'done the sneaky' and combined a couple of your IRs. Then technically it is possible to make a piece of software that tested CompanyY's library of IRs for every possible combination of CompanyX's published collection.

 

Now, let me return to the copyright issues.

 

Copyright is designed to protect creative works, so a court would have to make a determination whether or not an IR is a creative work, or some portion of it constituted a creative process. The next hurdle is to show that the 'copier' must have copied your work (either because they told someone or it is statistically highly improbable beyond within a preponderance of evidence that a copy (or set of copies) was generated independently). IMO copyright has far exceeded its original mandate, where creators are being protected from someone writing a complete story 'based on someone's characters' (this should be about Trademarks, not copyright), or tiny snippets are being 'protected' because of 'likenesses'. No, copyright is about someone copying someone else's work with minimal additional effort and distributing it themselves. It's about encouraging creative works to be created and published where that would otherwise not have happened. That was in an era where it was hard to publish works, and the protections were really about stopping PublisherA from selling works from PublisherB. The laws never really did much for the creators of those works, beyond what would have happened without said laws being in place. Copyright terms have been extended to unreasonable lengths at the behest of big media companies that don't want to have to compete with their own older works. That's why it sometimes referred to as the 'Disney copyright extension act'.

 

Also, the music industry capitalised on the fact that they could let people 'share' music with each other as a form of free advertising and then sell the cassette/LP/CD to people that really wanted the original. Back in the day of cassette tapes, degeneration occurred between copies, so it was always desirable to by the LP or CD for that boost in quality. These days you can digitally make a perfect copy of a track by sharing the wav or mp3. Courts have protected as 'fair use' the concept of two friends sharing copyrighted media. Where they draw the line is on distribution where someone uploads a file to a publicly accessible location (torrents/fileshare/etc) where it can be downloaded by anyone.

 

There are three branches of 'IP': copyright, patents (with two subsets, one functional and one design based), and trademarks. They each have different requirements and protection.

 

Copyright protects creative works which were usually substantial enough that it was obvious if something was a copy or not, they also originally required registration for a 14 year term, with an optional 14 year extension should the copyright holder desire it. These days it is 70 years past the death of the creator with no registration required. 

 

Patents are generally reviewed by the USPTO prior to granting, but numerous ridiculously non-inventive/obvious patents are granted every day. These are protected for a 20 year period with no extensions. Functional patents protect the implementation of a concept. Design patents protect the aesthetic 'look and feel'. They are not the same.

 

Trademarks protect brand recognition, and last for as long as the trademark owner keeps renewing it. (Potentially forever if the company never goes out of business or sells their trademark.) For example, Mickey Mouse's name and image are trademarked, so can never 'fall out of copyright'. Trademark is designed to protect from 'market' confusion where a violation (or similarity) would confuse someone to think the violator was associated with the original brand. It must be registered within a market segment (although big companies register in as many as possible because the cost is negligible compared to the benefits), that's why anyone can sell apples as a fruit, but not 'Apple' computers without running into legal trouble.

 

IRs come under the copyright banner, but are mostly protected by the morality of end users. It is possible to only distribute something under specific contractual terms that are agreed prior to sale, but that would very likely reduce sales volumes to far below the levels of just 'trusting the enduser's moral code'. In the end, it is probably better to leave the water legally untested, as an expensive court case may actually deem that IRs are not sufficiently creative and therefore don't fall under the protection of copyright. If that determination is made, the ethics of copy/distribution changes, and guilt will not be a barrier to re-distribution en masse. If the determination goes the other way, it opens up a legal mine field where only lawyers benefit.

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This is a very grey area....I have no answers, but , I believe there can be legal recourse for misuse of commercial IR s, but I don't know how often or if it has ever really occurred...but in a perfect world, any musician would try to respect the I.P. of their fellow content creators, but we know how perfect this world is. this situation is compounded over in the Fractal world, where IR management/creation/mixing is much more evolved, and one can create an IR mix from numerous sources, commercial or not, rename it what they will, and export a Preset bundle with the newly created (stolen?) IR baked in, and share, sell or whatever. (DISCLAIMER here..not I, ever.). sometimes I wonder if the cumbersome IR management in Helix was implemented partly to discourage this behavior..........

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Well I don't have a dog in this fight anyway, as I don't redistribute copyrighted stuff I've purchased.

 

But regardless, I'll say it again...legal or not, ethical or not, the creators of IR's obviously don't want their stuff compromised and traded like baseball cards, but they're the only ones who care. These are not mass marketed products. They're useful only to a tiny demographic...guitar players. And of all the world's guitarists, only a small percentage even know what an IR is, much less make regular use of them. IR "theft", if that's even what this is, will never make the evening news. If there's no money in it for the blood sucking lawyers, pursuing the violators is a losing proposition.

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What will stop you is that eventually the internet gods will find out. They will castrate you publically, then drag your body through forum after forum, thread after thread, while exercising their divine right to humiliate you for their own entertainment. Remember the episode of a guy that bought effect pedals and repackaged them, and sold them as boutique for a lot more money?

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Some real world examples of abuse, not enforced as far as I know:

 

- People sell Kemper rigs and include commercial profiles they bought, sometimes a boatload of them. That's fine in itself, but nothing prevents them from also keeping a copy in case they buy one again, and I bet many people do. If they then do buy another Kemper, those profiles are in use on both machines, but purchased only once.

 

- I'd bet the same thing happens with commercial IRs on Fractal products.

 

- Unlike Helix patches, I think Amplifire patches include the actual IR, so if you sell or trade your unit with patches that include commercial IRs, the same thing is happening. On the plus side, you can only use that IR on Amplifire. Not an Amplifire guy, so I don't know if you can use it in another patch without having a copy of the standalone IR file.

 

Given the current tech, there's nothing preventing those particulars. I'm sure people are right that there's not enough money in those market segments to warrant the development of copy protection, which 99.999% of the time ends up annoying legal users without stopping pirates anyway.

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Tell you what: Better go ahead tweakin' good sounds with Helix.

(I have the best IRs on earth and will not trade them, anyway ;-) )

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Let me ignore the copyright issue at the moment, and look at the technical aspects of how one would determine if one or multiple IRs were 'copies'.

 

Like music and video, it's pretty much impossible to effectively 'protect' an IR with DRM schemes and the like if the device can be used with the IR alone (and no other effects). This is because an IR can always be recaptured by taking an impulse response of the device that is using it. Cryptography can get you so far, but when you need to decrypt it so the end user can use it, the non-encrypted plaintext must be made available to them, and at that point is exposed to being extracted and the DRM stripped.

 

Once recaptured (or directly extracted/copied), it is then possible to compare two IRs to see how closely they match. That doesn't prove provenance, but it does show that they probably came from the same source. When IR captures are made there are small random variations between responses. One short IR may be a low probability coincidence due to being captured with the same mic/cabinet/room combination. A second or third in the copied pack would make this doubtful. However, again, it still doesn't prove provenance. Although the original person, would likely have multiple other responses from the same session that could be used to show that the IR came from that original piece of hardware, and the 'copier' may not even have enough knowledge to demonstrate how they made them.

 

Using spectral analysis it is possible to reduce a waveform (including IRs) to a subset of components that can be statistically compared even if they have been slightly modified. These methods can be used to compare recordings that have gone through further analog processing with minimal distortion/noise added. And would easily show a truncated/windowed version matches a longer impulse.

 

When comparing combined IRs, it would be quite simple to check if a resultant IR was made with two given input source files, as the transformation is completely linear. If an IR is made by added two together, the third IR could be extracted by simple subtraction (or deconvolution) if one of the first IRs is known. Then comparisons could be made as above.

 

The processing steps become more complicated if filtering and other transformations are made, or if you don't have any idea what the original constituent IRs were. But, if lets say you were CompanyX and suspected CompanyY to have 'done the sneaky' and combined a couple of your IRs. Then technically it is possible to make a piece of software that tested CompanyY's library of IRs for every possible combination of CompanyX's published collection.

 

Now, let me return to the copyright issues.

 

Copyright is designed to protect creative works, so a court would have to make a determination whether or not an IR is a creative work, or some portion of it constituted a creative process. The next hurdle is to show that the 'copier' must have copied your work (either because they told someone or it is statistically highly improbable beyond within a preponderance of evidence that a copy (or set of copies) was generated independently). IMO copyright has far exceeded its original mandate, where creators are being protected from someone writing a complete story 'based on someone's characters' (this should be about Trademarks, not copyright), or tiny snippets are being 'protected' because of 'likenesses'. No, copyright is about someone copying someone else's work with minimal additional effort and distributing it themselves. It's about encouraging creative works to be created and published where that would otherwise not have happened. That was in an era where it was hard to publish works, and the protections were really about stopping PublisherA from selling works from PublisherB. The laws never really did much for the creators of those works, beyond what would have happened without said laws being in place. Copyright terms have been extended to unreasonable lengths at the behest of big media companies that don't want to have to compete with their own older works. That's why it sometimes referred to as the 'Disney copyright extension act'.

 

Also, the music industry capitalised on the fact that they could let people 'share' music with each other as a form of free advertising and then sell the cassette/LP/CD to people that really wanted the original. Back in the day of cassette tapes, degeneration occurred between copies, so it was always desirable to by the LP or CD for that boost in quality. These days you can digitally make a perfect copy of a track by sharing the wav or mp3. Courts have protected as 'fair use' the concept of two friends sharing copyrighted media. Where they draw the line is on distribution where someone uploads a file to a publicly accessible location (torrents/fileshare/etc) where it can be downloaded by anyone.

 

There are three branches of 'IP': copyright, patents (with two subsets, one functional and one design based), and trademarks. They each have different requirements and protection.

 

Copyright protects creative works which were usually substantial enough that it was obvious if something was a copy or not, they also originally required registration for a 14 year term, with an optional 14 year extension should the copyright holder desire it. These days it is 70 years past the death of the creator with no registration required. 

 

Patents are generally reviewed by the USPTO prior to granting, but numerous ridiculously non-inventive/obvious patents are granted every day. These are protected for a 20 year period with no extensions. Functional patents protect the implementation of a concept. Design patents protect the aesthetic 'look and feel'. They are not the same.

 

Trademarks protect brand recognition, and last for as long as the trademark owner keeps renewing it. (Potentially forever if the company never goes out of business or sells their trademark.) For example, Mickey Mouse's name and image are trademarked, so can never 'fall out of copyright'. Trademark is designed to protect from 'market' confusion where a violation (or similarity) would confuse someone to think the violator was associated with the original brand. It must be registered within a market segment (although big companies register in as many as possible because the cost is negligible compared to the benefits), that's why anyone can sell apples as a fruit, but not 'Apple' computers without running into legal trouble.

 

IRs come under the copyright banner, but are mostly protected by the morality of end users. It is possible to only distribute something under specific contractual terms that are agreed prior to sale, but that would very likely reduce sales volumes to far below the levels of just 'trusting the enduser's moral code'. In the end, it is probably better to leave the water legally untested, as an expensive court case may actually deem that IRs are not sufficiently creative and therefore don't fall under the protection of copyright. If that determination is made, the ethics of copy/distribution changes, and guilt will not be a barrier to re-distribution en masse. If the determination goes the other way, it opens up a legal mine field where only lawyers benefit.

You own a Dumble, don'tcha...?

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"Patents are generally reviewed by the USPTO prior to granting, but numerous ridiculously non-inventive/obvious patents are granted every day"---

 

Probably. But, it has to have some functional change or function difference, enough to be considered for a Patent.

Simply drawing a smiley face on the outside of a black box won't do it. Nice marketing gimmick maybe. But for a

patent to be awarded, it has to be something relating to a functional innovation, no matter how small, or seemingly 

insignificant that innovation may appear to be.

 

Example:

You can't patent something in nature,... but what you do with it and how you use it, is patent-able. You can't patent

an electron, but what you do with it and how you manipulate in a circuit, is.

 

How you tweak an IR may be copyright-able, taking someone elses', then putting your own name on it is piracy,

plagiarism, fraud and forgery. And if crossing state lines, could be a Federal beef. And if using the internet, it would

be wire fraud using a Federally regulated utility.

 

"I'd bet the same thing happens with commercial IRs on Fractal products"--- don't know how stringent they are about it.

 

So please, be careful out there, stay out of trouble.

 

*I know these things because I used to hang with the daughter of a Fed.

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 *I know these things because I used to hang with the daughter of a Fed.

Whoooa! You are one heavy duty, scary dude.

Oh, wait a second, what do you mean, "used to hang"?😜

 

"Let's be careful out there!" - Hill Street Blues.

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She's a long time friend and classmate from school. She's living elsewhere these days,

so we don't hang much, so we stay in touch through social media.

 

Her dad used to have some great stories about being a Fed.

 

Yeah, Hill Street,... I've crossed paths with Bruce Weitz (Det Belker) and Michael Warren (Hill)

at the super markets in my area every now and then. Love their work.

 

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You own a Dumble, don'tcha...?

 

No I don't. I'm not a lawyer either.

 

"Patents are generally reviewed by the USPTO prior to granting, but numerous ridiculously non-inventive/obvious patents are granted every day"---

 

Probably. But, it has to have some functional change or function difference, enough to be considered for a Patent.

Simply drawing a smiley face on the outside of a black box won't do it. Nice marketing gimmick maybe. But for a

patent to be awarded, it has to be something relating to a functional innovation, no matter how small, or seemingly

insignificant that innovation may appear to be.

Sadly, the 'seemingly' is often because the extension is blatantly obvious. Working around those sorts of patents is pretty simple, but sometimes the 'seemingly insignificant' innovation is actually so obvious that it is already being used in general practice. Prior art isn't always easy to find if you're not looking in the right place. The patent office looks at other patents for prior art, and if they're lucky the patent examiner has more than a cursory background in the field they are examining and strikes something down as obvious. In many cases, the prior art is in a 50 year old text book, and is a technique in common use. Still, fighting against a patent like this costs huge amounts of money.

 

The current bar for granting a patent is a 'scintilla of inventiveness'. Seriously, the tiniest little thing that may be blatantly obvious to anyone skilled in the field pertaining to the patent and you're good to go if the examiner isn't also skilled in the particular art he is examining. I've been involved in cases presenting evidence to have a patent re-examined and/or dismissed. That's just my field where someone was paying (a lot of money) to be able to do something that was already in common practice - just gotta spend the money in court to prove it.

 

Copyright is different in that it is supposed to be impossible to accidentally come up with the same copyrighted material. With a patent, it happens in way too many cases. Not because someone read the patent, but because the patent doesn't offer anything substantial enough to be unique in its particular field. Yes, there are some excellent patents that offer huge boosts to innovation. But, the vast majority do not, IMO.

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