Ethical for Perfect Circuit to sell bootleg Mutable modules?

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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igowen
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Post by igowen » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:27 am

LoFi Junglist wrote:Lots of pretending in this thread. Particularly that the only mutable instrument clones sold have been discontinued modules :hihi:

At the end of the day the thread is about ethics, your personal beliefs on what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. There are no universally agreed apon ethics, it's different in every person, every culture and this is of course a global forum.

People are profiting from someone else's generosity. Some people are supporting the people profiting off others generosity.

Why not just be honest and say 'i don't think there is anything wrong with this'?

Why do you have to make excuses like 'discontinued' or 'the original designer is a millionaire, he won't miss it'?

Ethics are different for everybody, if you are too ashamed to admit your ethical beliefs, or defend them honestly, how does that reflect on you as a person?
sure, i can do that too: i don't have a problem with this, where "this" refers *specifically* to µBraids SE (which is what the OP was calling out). there are a number of factors that make that the case:

(a) it's open source;
(b) the design is significantly different from the original module;
(c) the original module is discontinued, and not for reasons that stem from clones or derived works;
(d) according to the synthtopia article, MI explicitly gave them permission to do this.

none of these are "excuses"; they are factors that contribute to the analysis. if any one of these weren't the case, i would have a significantly different opinion.

IMO, far from being ethically dubious, the fact that this exists is actually one of the great benefits of MI open sourcing their designs: even after Olivier has moved on to other projects, Braids is still available to folks who didn't have a chance to buy one while it was in production.

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Post by spacezignul » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:43 am

LoFi Junglist wrote:Lots of pretending in this thread. Particularly that the only mutable instrument clones sold have been discontinued modules :hihi:

At the end of the day the thread is about ethics, your personal beliefs on what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. There are no universally agreed apon ethics, it's different in every person, every culture and this is of course a global forum.

People are profiting from someone else's generosity. Some people are supporting the people profiting off others generosity.

Why not just be honest and say 'i don't think there is anything wrong with this'?

Why do you have to make excuses like 'discontinued' or 'the original designer is a millionaire, he won't miss it'?

Ethics are different for everybody, if you are too ashamed to admit your ethical beliefs, or defend them honestly, how does that reflect on you as a person?
Passing judgement on people is certainly not the best way to go about it.

Don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this issue. One can argue both ways and theres valid point on each side.

Eurorack is about flexibility and options just like there are tons of different oscillators and filters, even synth design hasn't evolved or departed from original designs that much and pretty much every new product feeds from existing products.

If one chooses to take apart every single aspect of marketing and economics then you are never far from being moraly corrupt

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Post by aroom » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:48 am

2disbetter wrote:I read a while back that Olivier is making millions.
:eek: :eek: :eek: really?

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Post by Luap » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:06 am

2disbetter wrote:I read a while back that Olivier is making millions.
Where did you read that? I highly suspect it is total bovine excrement. I rather doubt anyone in the eurorack business is making millions (larger companies like Roland excepted, who also make a ton of other non modular gear)
racooniac wrote:i lately bought an "aftermarket" rings and clouds diy'd by someone at home and even while oliver has discontinued clouds for a while i feel somehow anyways the need to "make things right" by donating something to olivers paypal on my own if i can find its adress ;)

not just because you could take ethics in your own hands like this if you want to but also because the man is just awesome for making such decisions and i want to support that!
The best way to support Olivier/Mutable Instruments is to simply buy their genuine products. That said, he does have a paypal address of course, but thats for him to dish out, if he wishes.

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rayultine
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Post by rayultine » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:17 pm

If Olivier is as good at coding for The Man as he is at coding for the music world, I could see him being a millionaire.

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Post by coolshirtdotjpg » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:32 pm

2disbetter wrote:So just going to comment on the situation as it exists now:

-Braids is discontinued.
-All designs and software are open sourced.
-There is a demand for more compact modules, and this demand would seem to be growing.

Is it unethical to mass produce off of such things? You bet. If someone gives away free lollipops so everyone can have one, and you take 20, cut the sticks down, and resell them, you are a dirt bag.

However, if someone gives the recipes to make the lollipops, and then stops selling the lollipops themselves, that changes the scenario completely.

People who love to cook or bake will still be able to benefit, but those folks with neither the time or inclination to do the same will be left out. On top of that, no one is selling exact copies of the module. They have resized them and changed the layout, and they are filling a demand.

All that said, I read a while back that Olivier is making millions. Money is hardly a concern for him personally I would imagine. The problem here isn't the money being made, but rather abuse of the system. Just my opinion.

2d
If he's making millions of dollars, I find it very hard to believe that it is coming from the sale of eurorack modules! Also, link to said statement?
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Post by leftbracket » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:56 pm

pichenettes wrote:I'm a bit pissed off to see that the whole DIY scene is starting to be about "get something cheaper" and is no longer about education.

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Post by dumbledog » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:02 pm

Hm totally spitballing here. But I could see MI having sold a million in revenue. That would be about 750 units each of Clouds, Braids and Rings along with say 1,000 units of everything else at an average of $200 or so.

But that doesn't account for the build cost and shopkeepers' take.

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Trebbers
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Post by Trebbers » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:13 pm

It's very unclear how big the Euro market is at this point. I wouldn't be shocked to hear that 5000 Clouds had been sold

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Post by nectarios » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:14 pm

Trebbers wrote:It's very unclear how big the Euro market is at this point. I wouldn't be shocked to hear that 5000 Clouds had been sold
I was thinking at least that.

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Post by dumbledog » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:16 pm

My Maths from early 2016 was SN 5700 or thereabouts, and that's after what, 5 years of production? I imagine that's the most common 20+ HP module out there, or pretty close.

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Post by tall-dog » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:31 pm

Hi,

This is Dan from Tall Dog Electronics. I created an account to respond to this thread.

Tall Dog Electronics is the name that grew out of my hobbyist electronics work. For the last few years I've sold breakout kits for the (Arduino-compatible) Teensy development board made by PJRC. These came into existence because I needed one. I put the extra boards up on Tindie, and people bought them, so I've kept iterating and selling them.

We're only two people. Myself, and my father Michael. I do the design and production. Michael is an electronic musician, and has recently retired from his decades-long career in IT. He was the impetus for this project because he uses Eurorack modules in his music. Not long ago, we enjoyed building some DIY modules together, including Braids and uBraids. We saw that uBraids was hard to find, and that Braids was being discontinued, and that there was some interest in assembled ones, so we built a few (by hand) and sold them.

I liked Magpie's design, but thought that the added complexity of the second processor just to translate the display's signals to the OLED panel was clever but not entirely necessary. I decided to iterate on the Magpie design to keep the same panel size but use tiny segmented LEDs instead. I laid out the new board from scratch because I wanted the practice of designing a dense PCB. I'm not a musician, but I love the work involved in designing and building small electronics from scratch, and I hope to be able to eventually make a living from doing this kind of work.

Before selling any modules, we contacted both upstream creators, Mutable Instruments and Magpie Modular, to discuss the project and ask for their thoughts and feedback. In addition, we offered donations to both of them for every module sold, and we'll continue these donations indefinitely. Some of the payments are direct, and others are to the charities of our choice (as instructed) which have so far been the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Software Freedom Conservancy.

If anyone has any questions for me, please just ask!

Sincerely,
Dan

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Post by Joe. » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:43 pm

That's a pretty cool, and ethical, approach to a situation that many of us have seen abused over the years.

Congratulations, and best of luck with your future designs :tu:

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Post by VanEck » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:47 pm

tall-dog wrote:Before selling any modules, we contacted both upstream creators, Mutable Instruments and Magpie Modular, to discuss the project and ask for their thoughts and feedback. In addition, we offered donations to both of them for every module sold, and we'll continue these donations indefinitely. Some of the payments are direct, and others are to the charities of our choice (as instructed) which have so far been the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Software Freedom Conservancy.
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Post by bemerritt » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:31 pm

I just find it comical that mutable is having their money donated and magpie is taking the cash.

Olivier continues to show why he is so awesome.

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Post by hermbot » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:31 pm

Yeah that's pretty rad. Very cool.

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Post by Chopper » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:50 pm

So much part of this community that you have to create an account on muff just to reply to this thread eh?


Ok, i shall leave my bitching aside :roll:

Full marks to Olivier for asking his donations to go to charities. I believe there is a (not so subtle) message here...

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Post by Kummer » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:42 pm

@tall-dog

That's fantastic, best of luck to you and your father! :sb:
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Post by Kummer » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:46 pm

Chopper wrote:So much part of this community that you have to create an account on muff just to reply to this thread eh?
What? I think it is a pretty on point topic to discuss, and tall-dog have commented in a respectable fashion and have tried to give credit (or money) where it's due (to the original designers). I think it's win win for everyone!
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Post by 3D_PIPES » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:29 pm

Chopper wrote:So much part of this community that you have to create an account on muff just to reply to this thread eh?


Ok, i shall leave my bitching aside :roll:

Full marks to Olivier for asking his donations to go to charities. I believe there is a (not so subtle) message here...
Just pretend Tall-Dogs name is Uli and commence the slap-assery :hmm:

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Post by radiokoala » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:17 am

bemerritt wrote:I just find it comical that mutable is having their money donated and magpie is taking the cash.

Olivier continues to show why he is so awesome.
I personally find it comical that more and more people on here behave like the place is called Moral High Ground Ivory Tower Discussion Club and keep commenting on [whatever subject] with accent being made on misbehavior of some kind, even if legally and ethically it's all right. E.g in this context it looks like “taking the cash” bears some kind of derogatory sense, as if it’s not something each of us does every day to, you know, live off of something. In your case, it would probably be too much reading behind the lines, but I can see someone interpreting second part / clausula as “Olivier is awesome; Magpie is varicious and contemptible” – given a comparison made in the preceeding part of the thesis.

Why I at all bother making this point is the Tall-Dog’s message rendered many of the prior comminatory comments obsolete and pointless, so I don’t see why it was necessary to leave them without looking at the whole picture prior. I feel somewhat the same about “taking the cash” remark – I get it the tone of the message is in part tongue-in-cheek, but it kinda portrays magpie in a negative light I had thought.

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Post by Multi Grooves » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:22 am

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Post by khyber » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:05 pm

radiokoala wrote:
bemerritt wrote:Why I at all bother making this point is the Tall-Dog’s message rendered many of the prior comminatory comments obsolete and pointless, so I don’t see why it was necessary to leave them without looking at the whole picture prior. I feel somewhat the same about “taking the cash” remark – I get it the tone of the message is in part tongue-in-cheek, but it kinda portrays magpie in a negative light I had thought.
Generally this is what happens when the primary party comments on a situation that others can only speculate about. It would have been good to see Tall Dog's story added to the description of the module on each retailer's webpage, that way no one needs to speculate.

I don't see people's concerns as "moral highgrounding". Olivier's opinion on the situation is really the only one that matters, but the community seeks to protect its own regardless. Do we want to normalize modular manufacturers ripping off each other's open-source designs in quest for making money?

Now that we have Tall Dog's response we can see that this was clearly not the case (I'm surprised people would have assumed anything about the module was not throughly vetted and agreed upon ahead of time, it would be a pretty bold move for retailers to sell such a module without that that kind of guarantee). After what Synthrotek did with their Sound Study line of modules (which I think they also worked out ahead of time with the creators) re-releasing other people's creations under a different name with no value-add is something the community frowns upon.

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Post by hermbot » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:02 am

radiokoala wrote:Why I at all bother making this point is the Tall-Dog’s message rendered many of the prior comminatory comments obsolete and pointless, so I don’t see why it was necessary to leave them without looking at the whole picture prior. I feel somewhat the same about “taking the cash” remark – I get it the tone of the message is in part tongue-in-cheek, but it kinda portrays magpie in a negative light I had thought.
Well, if the conversation hadn't come up in the first place, we may have never known Tall-Dog's agreements.

Also, threads like this will attract people who feel strongly about the issue, while the vast majority of people (myself included) generally don't feel strongly one way or the other or care at all. Such people are much less likely to comment.

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Post by 2disbetter » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:28 am

khyber wrote:Do we want to normalize modular manufacturers ripping off each other's open-source designs in quest for making money?
And I submit that discussing it here will do very little to actually combat that problem.

Open sourcing while awesome and noble and the new bee's knees is not without some very real and lasting consequences. And while we tend to think of this evil individual void of any morals wantonly just profiting, the truth is that many people obsessed with the virtues of giving everything away for free can be just as damaging to the movement. Tall Dog for example has this thread about him and his efforts simply because someone wanted to rally pitch forks before getting the whole story.

2d

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