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DIY synths and ethics

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:16 pm
by otto
I saw this: ... sid#358630
and this:

I'm wondering how the lovely people of VSE feel about this issue. The Midibox SID and other midibox designs are all open source, free designs but they stipulate that they cannot be made to be sold. They are meant to be fun DIY projects. Thorsten has and continues to put a lot of basically free work into the development of this project. You have to source all the components yourself to build it.

The xoxbox on the other hand is a complete kit that can be bought and is also open source. They do not seem to have a problem with these being built and sold. However, I'm sure there is some profit built into the xox-kit which thorsten doesn't benefit from with his midibox designs. Although the schematics are free and you could source the components yourself and build it.

Obviously some people don't have the aptitude, time, or willingness to build a synth. The market being what it is and Thorstens resources being what they are there is probably little he can do to stop it. On the other hand there is obviously a demand so the buyers are as guilty as the sellers. Maybe Thorsten should be selling kits w/profit similar to xoxbox to take advantage of his situation and let the market do what it does best. Perhaps people should just be more ethical and do what is asked considering all the time and effort put in to these projects with that small request and maybe that is just to utopian. What do you think?


Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:59 pm
by elmosexwhistle
i'm afraid it seems the midibox creator has done nothing to protect himself and things like this will looks perfectly legal for someone to make a midibox sid and then sell it's a shame...x

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:12 am
I think it is fair to say to anyone that knows about blue_lantern or his reputation that he is an asshole opportunist of the highest order. He is known to steal other peoples work and sell it on ebay or other forums or classifieds. Unfortunately this is not the first time he has done this and it will not be the last.

Elmo, you are wrong. It is a weird part of the law that I am sure is not easily enforcible, but it is still illegal. (maybe WDW or someone with more legal knowledge could give more detail) It is pretty clearly stated on every midibox related site that you come across that these are in no way to be resold without Thorstens permission. It would be like if I reverse engineered (buy buying one myself and deconstructing it or just using the schematics on the internet) the microkorg or something and tried to market and resell it myself. Do you think for a minute that is legal and Korg would not have their lawyer team in full steam ready to sue my a*s for every penny I have and then some? Same thing, except it is just a couple guys who probably don't have the time and resources to pursue the offender and press a lawsuit. Remember, Thorsten and Steve are regular guys, not a corporation with lawyer teams on retainer.

The strange thing is that the same buyer won both of the auctions on ebay, and it appears that he did pay for them so I wonder what his plans are... :?

Bottom line is that there is really no way to police and enforce it, and there are always unethical people be it the buyers or sellers. They are both just as guilty since they both know the midibox agreement and choose to ignore it. If you can't build a midibox, buy a sidstation instead or join the midibox forums and get some help from the people there is you run into problems building your own. I hate how people try to justify shady things like reselling midiboxes (not necessarily you otto, just people in general since I have heard this argument before) by saying that the sellers are just filling a void in the market. I don't think that is really an excuse.

Maybe schools just need to add ethics as a required course again!

My two cents.

Re: DIY synths and ethics

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:51 am
by riccir
Yeah ... consider the free software world: the success of the GNU free software license is based largely on allowing commercial resellers make money from packaged distributions ... and there's a lot to be said dollar-wise for the packaged distribution convienence.

A similar arrangement in the hardware world would be to offer the convienence of kits, or even just PCB's.

Suppose I'd made a DIY box myself, and made the schematics and stuff for free, and I visited someones studio and they had my box, really nicely built ... I'd be all "wow yeah, cool!" ... but then what if they said "yeah I got it offa ebay for $X00!" ... then s**t, I'd be pissed off! Not really because some f**k made an unethical sale, but because I'd be jealous that some f**k knew the real dollar value of what I'd spent hours and hours designing! :lol:


Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:16 am
by elmosexwhistle
oh right...i guess i just consider non-enforcible law as not really law at taping tv programs off the telly and stuff...hehe x

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:48 am
by Wiglaf
"Ethics" are a matter of personal opinion, not some objective fact.

Is the guy selling these an asshole? Sounds like it. Is he Satan? Doubt it.

It sounds like he's breaking the law, too bad they can't afford to go after him.

f**k lawyers. All they want is money. The law is just there for show. Kill them all and make the wor...oops, sorry.

Anyway, hopefully most people will stay away...but of course there will be those who don't care.

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:41 am
by neandrewthal
What if you had someone build you a midibox and pay them for the parts and labor? Technically it's the same as buying it from someone but would it still be against the law?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:04 am
by wiss
only thing thats illegal is the resell of it.....he can make them, than give them out for free and there is nothing they can do....

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:37 pm
by MitchK1989
I wish I could find someone who would make me a midibox SID for cash. I don't have the skill, but I want one.

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:46 pm
by JSRockit
MitchK1989 wrote:I wish I could find someone who would make me a midibox SID for cash. I don't have the skill, but I want one.
Me too... :oops:

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:02 pm
by otto
The other side I can think of is if you spent a fair amount on building the synth, nice case, nice manufactured front panel, etc. You come on hard times and now your conflicted on selling it. I mean you put a lot of your hard earned cash down, along with your personal work, the demand is out there. That's what makes the midibox program unique... If you build a Paia kit or any other kit you don't have that conflict but because of the way that midibox is set up (no ones making money off the kit). I'm not out to justify people builind and selling midibox items but perhaps it's not a realistic expectation that people wont.

Of course once that's acceptable it's a slippery slope to producing units just to sell on ebay.

To all you wanting to buy I'm sure you could work out a deal with someone willing to build that is still sorta ok. I don't think it would be a problem if you say, provided or paid for all the componenets for a couple midibox sids and then had someone else provide the labor to make two and keep one for themselves. I think these types of trades are ok...

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:13 pm
otto wrote:The other side I can think of is if you spent a fair amount on building the synth, nice case, nice manufactured front panel, etc. You come on hard times and now your conflicted on selling it.
That is a different story altogether. If that is the case, you can simply sent a request over to Thorsten explaining the situation and he will most likely give you the OK to sell that one unit.

That is completely different from commercially producing these for nothing more than resale without any permission. (and actually ingnoring all requests to stop, like blue_lantern has)

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:18 pm
by xpander
i fail to see the patent infringement here.

as far as DIY synths are concerned, patents are meaningless until you sell your creations.

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:44 pm
by Tyler2000
I'm not sure why everybody is freaking out about this one. Seems just as legit as making x0x boxes, paia kits, mfos stuffs, or any other non-completely-original projects.

To top it off, he didn't just do it. He made a nice case and stuff. I mean, if somebody bought a Paia Fatman kit and built it and sold it on ebay (which, I KNOW has happened), we wouldn't be having this conversation.

People just want something to get pissed about. I hope whoever wins it has a great time with it.

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:22 am
No offence Tyler, but I don't think you are at all qualified to comment on any topic regarding ethics. You have made comments on more than one occasion about how you routinely steal, shop-lift, etc like it is a perfectly OK thing to do. :?

PS-I think a lot of people would have a different definition of "nice case" than you. His case was just a couple pieces of two by four and a piece of plexiglass. To be honest, I thought it was the ugliest and least professional looking midibox that I have seen yet.