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Kanye West caught using Pirate Bay to download music software (arstechnica.co.uk)
335 points by empressplay on Mar 2, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 161 comments

Xfer records is very small, its just 2 people really (Steve and I). It's nice seeing this get so much attention. We are a very small company (if you can even call it that, I'm not even full time). Every sale is a big deal for Xfer, and piracy definitely hurts us. We don't have the resources to combat it, and we don't put restrictive copy protection on our software because we don't believe in hurting paying customers to slow down piracy.

It's always a sad reminder for us when we see people (who can obviously afford our software) stealing it :(

As someone who has purchased most of your products, I just wanted to say thank you!

I admit I've pirated a lot of software in order to try it over time, but I end up buying what I start using in my workflow. I don't make money producing music (yet!), so I definitely use trials or pirate expensive plugins (I'll often try to re-trial something if my trial lapses and I haven't yet used it enough).

Serum? I downloaded the trial, used it, then bought it. The same with LFO Tool. It is a complete steal at its price point, and an absolute beautiful piece of software. I hope Kanye gets more flac for this.

Keep up the great work! I'm constantly blown away at the work you and Steve do.

> I hope Kanye gets more flac for this.

I see him as more of a 128 kinda guy.

Thanks dude! You rock! And I bet the music you make with Xfer products rocks! :D

I'd like to hear the music you made with these tools please.

> stealing it :(

<rant> While I empathize with most of your comment, you lost me at the end. Let's not use hyperbolic rhetoric. The crime is copyright infringement (unlawful copying), not stealing (theft), and not plunder and murder on the high seas (piracy). Yes, the sheet music publishers back in the day were able to convince people to use the language of the terrorism of their day (piracy). The hyperbole still harms discourse. </rant>

A kid in his bedroom who hasn't saved up enough allowance to buy Serum yet is unlawfully copying our software. Kayne stole our software

Thanks, a healthy perspective.

Stop crying, just be grateful for the free exposure you are getting from this. You really think he's trying to get your software for free and not eventually pay for it? He probably has already purchased it and licensed on another computer at home.

The same way Kayne is grateful for the free exposure he got for his "The Life of Pablo" album and his "Tidal" subscription-based music streaming service, by meeting with his legal team to discuss the possibility of suing The Pirate Bay? [1]

Do you think a kid in his bedroom who hasn't saved up enough allowance to buy Serum, start his own subscription-based music streaming service, and hire his own legal team to sue pirate bay, probably has a mom who has already purchased it and licensed on another computer at home, too?

[1] http://arstechnica.co.uk/business/2016/02/kanye-west-reporte...

Avicii and others have been spotted with cracked software, and some claim to have the licence on other computers but not on the one they were filmed with.


While I wanna agree with you, I feel like once you start making money off of someone else's unlawful copied software you're stealing.

Once your legal team is making money off of talking with you about suing the pirate bay, if it's not technically stealing then at least it's clearly hypocrisy.

Perhaps it's close to stealing if you're making money by directly selling someone else's work, although that still wouldn't be legally true.

Color it by any technicality you want, but it is taking something from somebody and in common vernacular, that is theft.

I agree that someone is making money using a tool acquired illegally and the creator of the tool needs to be paid.

> but it is taking something from somebody

Here is where the inaccurate language harms discussion. Nothing is taken from the author. The author still has just as much as they had before the unlawful copying, apart from lost opportunity. They have lost a potential sale.

The analogy with theft breaks down quickly, and using the language of theft (or worse, insisting that it is really identical to theft) hinders clear thinking about the issue. Yes, it's a useful rhetorical device, since infringing on someone's physical property rights produces a strong emotional reaction. However, that strong emotional reaction doesn't foster rational discussion.

The only thing actually taken from the tool creator is opportunity cost. If you set up a cluster of two machines that illegally copy back and forth as fast as GigE allows, things aren't taken from the tool's creator at a higher rate.

Two things being different doesn't make one of them irrelevant.

Consider if you made ... something to sell. Something great, that you know people want. But no one bought it. But they want it, they just waited you out until you gave up and threw it away, and then yoinked it from your trash.

It's a violation of social decency, as much as pilfering something from your home -- maybe more so. The mere act of physical appropriation can't be the most important thing, since we don't complain about stealing some dirt or water from your property, and we don't complain about, say, chopping down a tree.

Perhaps a better word for copyright violation is vandalism, not theft. It destroys the value of someone's work, the taking isn't the important part.

> pilfering

excuse me, I'm a representative from the Word Industry Association of America (WIAA). My client actually owns the publishing rights to the word "pilfering", as his 8x-previous ancestors were the first recorded authors to use that word in print.

We take our IP very seriously, and it appears you are using a word to which you do not own the license, which is, as you know, theft. We can settle this now for a small $3800 license fee plus a 20% attorney's fee or we can risk going to trial which on average costs 5x as much.

Please consider this legal notice and send an official response withing 7 business days to avoid a protracted legal battle. Thank you.

I'd LOL'd.

> They have lost a potential sale.

Which isn't a very strong argument, since you also lose a potential sale if someone decides to purchase your competitor's product rather than your own. And hopefully no one would call that "stealing."

Except in this example, there is no competitor making the sale because of a lower price or higher quality product. The choice of product remains the same; the only difference is that the copier pays nothing to ANYONE and is the only person receiving a benefit.

I used to be in the camp in philosophical support of piracy, and I still pirate some of my media. But, I no longer try to excuse the behavior behind a thinly veiled philosophy.

Maybe it's not stealing, but it sure isn't harmless.

> Except in this example, there is no competitor making the sale because of a lower price or higher quality product. The choice of product remains the same; the only difference is that the copier pays nothing to ANYONE and is the only person receiving a benefit.

That's true, but the firm's bottom line is the same regardless of whether they lost a sale to piracy or lost a sale to a competitor.

> I used to be in the camp in philosophical support of piracy, and I still pirate some of my media. But, I no longer try to excuse the behavior behind a thinly veiled philosophy.

Then either I'm on the same philosophical road as you but further back, or my philosophical support is stronger than yours was.

>That's true, but the firm's bottom line is the same regardless of whether they lost a sale to piracy or lost a sale to a competitor.

Yes, the firm's bottom line remains the same. But the difference between losing a sale to a competitor and losing a sale to piracy has vastly different consequences. When losing a sale to a competitor, there is competition and money continues to flow into "Product Market X", fueling competition and innovation. When a potential purchaser in "Product Market X" gets the best firm's product for free, it hurts competition and innovation by decreasing the sale to the best company.

>Then either I'm on the same philosophical road as you but further back, or my philosophical support is stronger than yours was.

Only time will tell. I totally agree information should be shared and spread for the good of humanity, but there needs to be some returns for people that seek it (to a reasonable amount of money... Adobe can get bent).

It's hyperbole and good on you for calling it out, hopefully we'll see more shifts away from such behavior.

Here's a relevant quote on winxp's 'pirated' audio,

-- According to Benjamin Kern, attorney at Chicago-based law firm Gordon & Glickson LLC, the use of a pirated version of Sound Forge can result in a copyright infringement claim : "Other legal issues, such as patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and contract breach may also be relevant, but copyright infringement is the most prominent," --

No high seas murder or plundering involved.

So, if the "victim" here has a swell in popularity due to Kanye's high profile, and gains a TON of new customers and interest, he better pay royalties or license to Kanye for attracting that kind of attention. Otherwise he's "taking something" in exchange for nothing, which, in common vernacular, is called theft.

Kayne pirating software and showing everyone where to get it for free instead of acting like it was worth paying for is hardly an endorsement.

"Otherwise he's "taking something" in exchange for nothing, which, in common vernacular, is called theft."

So every time I download Linux, I am stealing?

I am almost embarrassed to fanboy-out on you, but Serum is utterly amazing, and I must admit I am happy to be telling its author this directly.

I have never heard anything like in my 35 years of playing, writing, and producing music, and altho I am sure there are other synths that perform as well, given the low price and accessibility of it as a VSTi, it constantly blows me away.

Thanks for developing it.

Thank you so much! I will relay your message to Steve as well!

Not to knock you, but if they wanted to demo it for a studio session length then 15 minutes is a pretty limiting amount of time. VSTs have varying quality, take a while to learn the workflow, tons of features and are very expensive. It's like Photoshop, but you have no idea if it will be useful to you.

Kanye is probably bad with money, but he remembers what it's like to be a poor musician.

If you haven't already come out at him outraged, maybe you can talk to him about your product and get some good publicity. Or start a temporary 'Kanye' discount and offer it to him first.

Serum is by far the most fun to use synth I've tried out. Nothing else compares. The UI is just joyful. And the sound; well, it goes without saying that's it's the best sounding synth on the market. Seriously, every time I adjust that wavetable, I smile.

I actually came here expecting this to be a story about production on the road, dongles (iLok), and "look, even the pros don't put up with that garbage".

But it was the opposite.

You're one of the good guys and it sucks that this happened to you.

Surely you can take heart that in this particular case, since he got caught and it turned into a thing, his piracy is going to generate many, many more sales for you.

Hold on. If you're not Steve Duda, then you're Deadmau5?


Deadmau5 isn't super involved anymore. I suppose we are 3 if you count him, but obviously he's been pretty busy with other stuff the last few years

I reckon this will make you top the charts for VST plugin sales for this day, week and maybe even month.

Even if that means you will top the VST piracy charts...

In fact, is this just a genious marketing stunt..?

It's already arguably the most highly regarded VST synth for modern digital sounds anyway. Serum is basically the new massive. They don't need marketing stunts.

Ah, I see. I've been out of that game for 8+ years.

I've just purchased Cthulhu. Easy purchase process, easy installation (no keys required etc.), and a really nice plugin. Keep up the good work.

I assume you can tell if he's bought it or someone at his company has? So when he buys it today, you'd be able to tell?

But little kaka is very poor, the poor little guy has been reduced to begging over the internet. And you expect him to pay you for your work? Monstrous Thénardier. You should pay such a genius to use your lowly software. Don't you know he's, like, totally the third millennium m0zart? Come on, it's 2016 already.

@ylhert I hope you all jump all over this press - have to imagine this could be netted out as an order of magnitude of goodness for you, Steve, & co with some great timely digital campaign/promo work. Maybe you could even find a way to get Kayne in on it?!

love serum and its the first vst that i've bought personally. thanks

Me too. I was compelled to buy it and it has changed my life!!! :)

had never heard of it before, but your software looks awesome.

Meh, "people in glass houses...":

> @deadmau5

> I used a pirated copy of sylenth on my last 4 albums. #TrueReveal


Steve Aoki was also caught using the above software in a music video with Linkin Park, though he proved that he had bought the software but his assistants installed a pirated version on his road laptop. http://stoneyroads.com/2013/08/steve-aoki-responds-to-claims...

I think this all comes down to effort and usability. To purchase the software you have to go through a bunch of screens, enter payment info, download, install, and then enter a serial number. For pirating software you just search for it and it's usually easier to install, with some cracks even bypassing steps. What's interesting to me is that people don't question their own ethics before doing this, especially music producers like Kanye who don't like pirates. Then again we've seen similar backlash against people using adblockers, but most would sympathize with them instead for other reasons.

The most amusing situation to me was when Carnage made a god-awful tutorial for Razer Music, in which he used a pirated version of Sylenth. Once he got called out by the public, he said[1] in a tweet:

> “lmaooo wtf why does it matter?”

LennarDigital (the company behind Sylenth) decided to reply to his tweet and said that they "are happy to make it a matter".

He later on went and accused Razer that it was their laptop in the video, which resulted in them canceling the contract with him and removing that god-awful tutorial from their website. I laughed so hard as the accusations went on and on.

[1] http://www.youredm.com/2015/10/22/sylenth-threatens-to-sue-c...

It's not actually true that you can "lose the copyrights to your music" if you use pirated software to produce it, is it? That doesn't sound at all true.

No, someone is probably confusing this with something that would be related to derivative works.

Unless perhaps the software ships with audio samples that are granted royalty-free usage to anyone who has a legit license to the software package? Extremely unlikely, just trying to imagine why someone would think this.

No, that is trademark, and that is only when trademarks are in open consideration for having become "part of the common culture".

That's got nothing to do with trademark one way or the other. The question is whether you can maintain a proprietary interest in something created with tools appropriated form others.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the answer is "of course you can".

[Moved my comment to the top level -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11212642 ]

I did not know about this until now (and I, sorta, follow EDM). What a dumbass, that is hilarious

Then I highly suggest you to watch the tutorial (I found the re-uploaded version on YouTube[0]). It's ridiculous. Here's my favorite quote:

> I don't know what it does, it just makes everything super louder. [...] It just sounds very very way more stronger.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IPxxeb-4gk

I love the subtitles:

"I end up usually taking 'out' so it just makes it shorter and tighter so... normal would be... you know, you can kinda hear the difference a little, shorter and sharper."

Subtitle: "Increase 'out' parameter to isolate the attack transient"

Yep, exactly what he said.

"To purchase the software you have to go through a bunch of screens, enter payment info, download, install, and then enter a serial number"

You're forgetting the iLok. Physical license keys are one of those laughable gimmicks of pro multimedia. My laptop only has 3 USB ports - fairly normal - one is always taken up by this dead weight (or I have to use a hub).

Plus, since iLok has the monopoly when it comes to dongles, they racket everyone into purchasing an additional "insurance", otherwise if you lose your key, your licenses are gone forever, unless you pay $130 (+$50 for the new iLok, + $30 for the insurance I belive). Seems obvious to me that this figure is not based on any actual required work, but on the fact that most people have well over $130 of licenses on their iLok, so they eventually give their money to iLok or move to pirating.

iLok is starting to go away -- at least it has with Waves. Waves is dead simple to install these days.

Yup. The main reason I still need it is for East West virtual instruments. Hopefully it will get dropped as more iLok-protected software keeps getting cracked to show how ineffective it is.

>To purchase the software you have to go through a bunch of screens, enter payment info, download, install, and then enter a serial number. For pirating software you just search for it and it's usually easier to install, with some cracks even bypassing steps.

For me that's counterbalanced by the fact that you never quite know what you're getting with pirated software. If I just buy it, I know I'm not infecting my main music computer with something nasty. Also, as a software developer myself I like to pay my peers for their work. And how much effort is it to enter a serial number?

My only anxiety is: what happens if I lose the serials? (I try to keep them backed up.) And will it be a huge hassle to move this stuff to another computer? If a company sells me software that's hard to move and reinstall when I change computers, I'm not likely to buy from them again.

Password managers usually have a way to add serial numbers or secure notes, that's where I store mine. And you should be using a password manager anyway, if you aren't already.

I just email myself a copy, so I can search. dead simple

>> "I think this all comes down to effort and usability. To purchase the software you have to go through a bunch of screens, enter payment info, download, install, and then enter a serial number."

Regarding this specific software it seems to me it's easier to get legally that illegally. Their website is really easy to use, checkout fast, and no copy protection to get in the way of the install.

Lately my experience has been more like log into website with pre-existing account, download latest legitimate licensed software.

Both Sylenth1 and Serum have really easy ways of purchasing and installing. This is a legitimate complaint for some companies, but is a terrible excuse to just pirate all software.

There a lot of music software available. You can avoid any companies using iLok and similar distribution methods and still have all your needs covered.

I have copies of Adobe CS for Mac and PC. I always install the cracked versions so I don't have to mess with uninstalling (deregistering) when I wipe my systems.

From the other tabs, it looks like Kayne isn't smart enough to use an adblocker when he visits Pirate Bay.

If you opened some of the built in audio files in Windows XP with a hex editor, you could see that they were created with a cracked version of SoundForge.


Vaguely related, Windows 95's iconic The Microsoft Sound was composed on a Mac.

If you look at the YouTube user thumbnail, it's actually producer Mike Dean who's logged in. Kanye and Dean work closely together, and it very well might be a photo of Dean's computer.

Speculative and sensationalist reporting by Ars.

[1] https://m.youtube.com/user/deanslistproductions

Thank you, finally someone who actually looks at the photo rather than the headline

Dean just changed his user photo. It no longer matches.

Not defending him here, he's a professional millionaire musician and should just buy it...

But music software is a HUGE pain in the ass to purchase. Pro Tools, for example, is tied to a dongle. It's 2016, and that's still the security method they choose to use. Lose the dongle? You're fucked. It's unfathomably frustrating.

Not even the majority of major music production suites - Ableton Live, FL Studio, Propellerhead Reason are all incredibly easy to license, download, and install and all three have easy-to-use market places to purchase and download third party plug-ins. Pro Tools is really more of an exception than the rule. To be honest, I'm not sure why people are still using it extensively other than legacy purchases and lock-in with some hardware vendors.

People still use Pro Tools?

I can't think of a single popular commercial DAW that's worse to use. Pretty much the only people I see use it are all aspiring rappers. I guess it has hip hop cred.

Tangentially, I can't think of a single piece of Avid software that isn't a flaming piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I used to have to support Avid.

Oh yes they do. As far as I can tell, it still has the monopoly in film music editing, at the very least. Otherwise I agree with you on all accounts.

Unfortunately, there are no DAW applications that are really reliable, not buggy, and lightweight. The Open Source attempts are largely laughable, even though JACK represents the most sophisticated audio connection suite/API out there.

Pro Tools is shit, I agree, but because of Avid's dominance in the film/TV worlds, Pro Tools is the "professional" choice for audio in support of these industries. I imagine that most music houses have moved on to the Apple or Steinberg offerings. Personally, I've always really liked Steinberg's products, especially WaveLab and Cubase.

As bad as Pro Tools is, don't even get me started on Ableton Live. It's like someone just barely made it out of their first Code Academy lesson alive, and then attempted to reverse engineer Nuendo. Utterly horrifying application development standards over at Ableton.

I don't really know much about Nuendo, but it looks like it's more of a traditional DAW and has specific features aimed at post production, which doesn't seem to be Ableton Live's goal. I might try to get you started on Ableton Live, why do you think Ableton has such "horrifying application development standards"?

Yeah, Cubase is pretty awesome.

That's pretty much all I've seen anyone (professional) recording instruments use going on 10 years now.

Pro Tools is still pretty much _the_ standard for audio recording, mixing and AV post-production.

If you're just producing electronic music, want VSTs, and/or just using a few live tracks, then yeah; you're probably far better off using something else.

Uhh...ever heard of Cubase?

In a professional setting (recording, mixing, mastering label-released albums), I've seen PT used far less than Cubase.

I see it used less than Logic, even.

Yup, used Cubase extensively back in the day, was pretty much my go-to for a number of years. I've the opposite experience to you with seeing it in use at studios though.

Serum doesn't require a dongle of any kind. Just a serial which is easy to find, it is in your account which is a login and password away

The dongle (iLok2) was cracked recently.


It is 2016, and indeed most of the music software on my computer is tied to no dongle whatsoever.

Dongles are understandably thought of as a bit of a pain by many musicians, and I'm sure many developers understand that they'll lose customers by requiring one.

I knew an artist who would wear his dongle around his neck on a gold chain like bling, to show off to all the adoring groupie chicks that he was rich and important enough to have a license.

I dread re-formatting my laptop because of this.

Getting all my (legitimately purchased) plugins back onto the system is an absolute nightmare.

I've started paring my setup down to just Ableton and a handful of plugins for this reason.

Reaper is something like $60.00, has an awesome free trial period and is just as capable for my needs as Pro Tools. Plus you get free upgrades.

Might seem trite but one of the reasons I attribute my rather good PC music laptop experience over the past 10 years is not using any pirate/suspect downloads. Be it software or music itself by others. Sticking with what I could purchase (or demo) meant relatively stable installs. A couple versions of Ableton Live were shaky, but along the way things have been patched and I am a happy customer. Lots of free VSTs as well, it doesn't take a lot of research.

Whether it's him doing it or a member of his 'team' - the guy has a writer stable of 14 known artists[1] and brings in others like he was giving away free studio time and Yeezy shoes - it just smacks of lazy. Certainly it happens in the industry. Lots of various approaches are easy or time consuming type difficult[2], I guess it kind of depends on the producer and the goal.

Personally I just like using great new tools[3] that cost very little but allow for a lot of creative expressiveness. YMMV.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GOOD_Music#Current_acts

[2] http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-little-known-recording-...

[3] https://www.propellerheads.se/figure

Just because he had a tab with ThePirateBay open doesn't mean he downloaded a pirated copy of the software.

He really should install an ad blocker though, to get rid of those "Mac Keeper" and "Attention" tabs.

A tab with Pirate Bay, a tab of the software vendor's website, an article with "50 best VST plugins" open...

And on the Pirate Bay tab he had searched for Xfe... (the name of the plugin vendor, so probably typed "Xfer records Serum").

Sure looks like he was downloading it...

(Btw, I recommended anybody interest in electronic music product checks it out, it's an excellent wavetable/additive synthesis audio plugin with crazy good filters to avoid aliasing).

Agree it isn't proof, but still seems fishy. I agree with the article though that he should take the chance to plug Tidal and should be playing his music through the service he is using, no?

He was only in there to get directions on how to get away from there. Right Principal Skinner?

TorrentFreak comments in more detail on the screenshot: https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-offers-tech-support-to-p... and makes it seem less likely.

To be fair we don't even know if this is his computer. It could have been in the studio or maybe on of his assistants told him "Hey Kanye listen to this" and he just took a pic of it.

That "Attention" tab..I get that when using my VPN and hitting any CloudFlare site.

Amen. He could well be seeding his own indie tracks.

Not sure if you are joking, but the tab title ends with Xfe[...], so it seems pretty likely that it's about Xfer Records Serum.

Hate to hijack what I am sure is a mind expanding discussion on software distribution, the law of karma, and modern celebrity. But I am curious about something and was hoping to get an opinion from some of the music production experts on here. Of which there appear to be legion. Which is awesome :)

How difficult is it to duplicate Serum-esque wavetable generation using ChucK or CSound? It seems in my uninformed opinion you would have a lot more freedom using raw math over visual gui. Do you have the same range of available osc's and filters as you have in commercial packages? Or would they be relatively easy to implement if missing out of the box?

>How difficult is it to duplicate Serum-esque wavetable generation using ChucK or CSound?

Serum-esque? Sure, selecting waveforms from a lookup table isn't difficult. However implementing clean sounding alias-free oscillators that can themselves be modulated at audio rate and so on requires years of accumulated domain knowledge. On top of that serum has all kinds of fancy features, such as the ability to import wave files and generate good-sounding wavetables from them, high quality filters, (look up zero-delay-feedback filters) complex modulation routing and most importantly, a GUI that lets you navigate all this complexity and actually compose music with it.

>you would have a lot more freedom using raw math over visual gui.

Exactly. Freedom is the enemy of creativity. Hence why the majority of max/msp users don't actually make music with it. The more layers of abstraction and choices there are standing between your musical idea and making actual sounds, the harder it is to ever realise those ideas. By the time you've finished messing around with all the technical stuff and making endless choices, you've lost the idea. Hence the endless appeal of the acoustic guitar and human voice combo.

It's certainly possible to make music the other way around, where you let the machines have the ideas and you simply guide them, but it's a very different thing. Using pure math and code really shines here, as well as modular synthesis equipment.

EDIT: talking of modular, Waldorf, the german company who pioneered wavetable synths in the 90s (you'll take my uWave XT from my cold dead hands!) have just released a wavetable-based eurorack module, and it's pretty extra-crunchy, no anti aliasing here ;)



Thanks for the thoughtful reply and timeless wisdom that seems to apply not just to music, but life as well ;)

@JonnieCache covers a lot of points about the oscillators. It's not just that Serum offers a wavetable lookup oscillator, but one that can scan through a wavetable in realtime, "Warp" the sound in various way (including FM, PWM, hard sync, stretching) without aliasing. Then there's also the tools to draw, mathematically generate or import your own wave files, and make wavetables blending between them (from simple crossfading to FFT blending, etc)

There's a ton of filters, I'm sure you could find the basic LP/BP/HP filters, but I know some of the moog-style filters have to be licensed. There's also filter options that aren't typically considered "filters" (flange, allpass with multiple stages, a weird reverb-esque one), and a few filters that are just Duda's own experiments (I think he said the French LP model was just him playing around with the math).

Then you'd also have to reimplement the FX section, which Serum also provides as a standalone plugin that you can place after other audio sources.

Still though, the GUI is a huge benefit of Serum, which makes editing waveforms, envelope curves, LFO shapes, and modulation routing really easy. Almost anything can be routed to almost anything else, as well as several macro controls, which makes it a great live instrument too.

Yes, I'm beginning to think Serum is quite an incredible deal at $190 retail ;)

I'm not sure, but it would be fun to try!

Find me on github, and maybe we can start something.

Did he search Google for "Pirate bay torrent xfer"? Because the page title on pirate bay seems to be static no matter what you search for (unlike in the pic)

edit: someone posted above that he was on this site (might not have been on this specific page though) http://www.pirate-baytorrent.com/xfer-records-serum-1-07b4-v...

It could have been worse, he could have had a tab open with midget porn ;P

Seriously, guys, sanitize your screenshots. Every screenshot I take, I crop down as much as possible and check for stuff like that thoroughly. Bookmarks, tabs, windows, system tray, notification, they all could potentially contain very private or even incriminating information.

Edit: This is about taking screenshots of a device fro the same device. I see in another comment that the screenshot here was a photo taken by a smartphone (which is a different topic).

This is really an issue most people aren't aware of. People somehow learn how to take screenshots of their entire desktop on computers and share them, but also somehow fail to learn how to take screenshots of a window or crop/blur them appropriately. Or perhaps they're always in a hurry and don't have the time to look up how to deal with it.

I have learned which banks some people use (online banking tab open), which browser they use, which programs are running on their system (from the task bar), which Facebook pages they have open, whom they're messaging with on Facebook, which other articles around the web they're reading, and so many other details just by looking at screenshots. It may not be an issue that I got to know these, but it's an information leak that should've been avoided.

Since people aren't going to change quickly, the only solution I can think of is having the screenshot feature or software on all platforms ask the user with a simple UI what they would like to black/blur out and then save that. Dear Apple, here's a cue to build this right into iOS and OS X to continue with the "privacy matters" motto for users (of course, it would be great if Google and MS also embrace this across all their platforms).

In windows, try snipping tool. Comes stock with 7 and up, lets you select a window, or a rectangular area, or even a free form "draw a circle around what you want" mode. And then you can save it or copy and paste it somewhere. So yeah, MS has had this handled for years, just people don't know about it.

Well, I wasn't really looking for solutions myself since I know how to get screenshots and crop/blur/mask them appropriately on different platforms. My comment was more about people not knowing how to do these.

On Windows though, I use Greenshot [0] to capture the screen or a window or a specific region of the screen, with options to send the capture to one of several programs directly. Paint.NET [1] is what I normally use for cropping/annotations/masking, etc.

[0]: http://getgreenshot.org/

[1]: http://getpaint.net/

I was just saying that windows does have this stock, it's just not many people know about it. It's extremely handy, cause you can save directly (no going through paint or other hacks) or copy and paste it into Word/Outlook and other stuff, already trimmed to exactly what you need. Average week, I use Snipping Tool like 20~30 times.

Or just take a screenshot of the intended content instead of the whole screen. Most (?) screenshot software have a feature for choosing a specific window / section of a window.

On MacOS it's builtin, Cmd + Shift + 4 lets you select a screen area

(yeah, not as intuitive as having a PrtScrn button)

He used his friggin phone to make the screenshot. That just shows how intuitive he is. And I may joke about it, but it probably is the easiest way to do this when you're not logged into twitter on the laptop.

And <Cmd Shift 4> <Space> lets you take a screenshot of a window!

But at least MacOS screenshot keys automatically save the screenshot. Took me ages to figure out that on XP you have to paste into Paint or something after hitting the 'printscr' button.

Except he used probably camera phone to take screenshot because his Monitor's brand is in it.

On Android phones at least, it's trivial to crop a photo before sharing it.

But I thought only criminals had something to hide /s!

you expect someone who doesnt even know how to actually take a screenshot (with some software) to know how to crop said screenshot?

KW only does a thing with the intention that people talk about the thing, and by extension KW. I never thought I'd see a KW thing on hacker news.

First: While I'm definitely not a Kanye fan, I think it's appropriate to withhold judgment on these allegations until more facts are available.

Second: Unauthorized use of a copyrighted tool (e.g., music-editing software) to create a copyrighted work of authorship --- a song and a sound recording of the song, let's say --- normally wouldn't result in loss of the copyright in either the song or the sound recording.

(This is a different situation than creating a derivative work without authorization.)

But such unauthorized use of the music-editing software could result in the author of the song and sound recording having to pay the owner of the copyright in the music-editing software for the former's "indirect profits" arising from the infringement. That can be a remedy with real teeth.

The case I usually teach to illustrate this point is Frank Music Corp. v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. [0], 886 F.2d 1545 (9th Cir. 1989) (Frank Music II). In that case:

+ The MGM Grand Hotel had a floor show called Hallelujah Hollywood!, which included 'tributes' to various MGM movies. The floor show incorporated significant portions of the Broadway musical Kismet, which years earlier had been made into an MGM movie.

+ The court found that MGM's use of the Kismet material in its floor show went beyond its 'movie rights' license and therefore infringed the copyright in the underlying Broadway musical.

+ As a result, MGM had to pay not just a portion of profits from the Hallelujah Hollywood! floor show itself (such as profits from sales of tickets to the show), but also 2% of the profits from the MGM Grand's overall hotel operations — including 2% of the casino profits — which, the court found, were indirectly attributable to the promotional value of the floor show. [1]

It didn't help MGM's case that its annual report had boasted about how great the floor show was as a draw for the casino, thus helping the copyright owner prove up its case for indirect profits.

[0] https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=169034711262654...

[1] The above description is copied essentially verbatim from my piece, http://www.oncontracts.com/a-better-way-to-handle-a-breach-o...

That's not his YouTube account logged in. There's a pic that shows more out there, and seemingly Kanye took a pic of someone's computer.

The Serum team should be pleased with all of the exposure they get from this.

And here I am, stuck with LMMS... Honestly, LMMS is rather cool once you get used to it.

LMMS is pretty awesome actually. I used it to write all of my last album:


Begin #KanyeWestHatesProgrammers

He recently tweeted that "San Francisco" software execs listen to rap but shamefully weren't lining up for to "invest 1 billion dollars in kanye ideas" [sic]

I am wondering whether he did that on purpose just to get attention. But then again I saw many video interviews of famous artists who were using a pirated copy of Sylenth1. Many people probably really are that cheap.

He'll probably take credit for making Serum famous.

Wait -- what's his net worth again?

Straight up false headline from Ars, which is sadly becoming more and more of a problem there.

Kanye West was not caught doing a damn thing. A screenshot of a computer that may or may not be his has a Pirate Bay tab open in the background.

That's a far cry from "caught using to download".


It's not a standalone program. It requires host software (e.g. Logic Pro) to work. See the third system requirement at [0].

[0] https://www.xferrecords.com/products/serum

Publicity stunt

Perhaps just like everyone else he's realised that pirating is easier than buying, no matter how much money you have.

It's dead simple to buy Serum (first-hand experience) and you don't have to worry about malware, I don't buy this premise. They also actively support and develop their products and you get free updates and support for years. I don't see why it's so hard to buy.

"Browsing and posting like a Gay Fish!"

Jeez what a knob this guy...

Hey Kenji, just FYI, I find something a little off-putting in using "midget porn" as the example of something worse.

Maybe I've become overly sensitive to possibly hurtful language in this era of codes of conduct, microaggressions, trigger words, etc. But I think it's marginalizing to use the sexuality of a segment of people (consenting adults, let's assume) as something shameful. I've also read that midget is considered a derogatory slur by many in that community.

Anyway, I'm not trying to condemn you, because I know you didn't mean anything hurtful or negative. You're just using the phrase as a generic example of sexual deviancy. And sexual deviancy is inherently embarrassing in our Puritanical culture – and worse from a PR perspective.

And like I said, I might be way off base here. I might be that annoying guy in the conversation who isn't actually offended but thinks someone else might possibly be offended. But since we're all focused on being more inclusive these days, I thought it was worth saying something. I say accidentally-possibly-exclusionary shit like this all the time – part of the reason I'm more vigilant about it lately, trying to improve my own behavior. :)

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11209917 and marked it off-topic.

and I was naively hoping to find /s at the end of your comment..

That's fine. If OP had an email address in their profile, I would have sent a private message. I'm not trying to make some big statement here, just share a reflection.

From the Little People of America organization: "The word 'midget' is used as a derogatory slur to refer to people of short stature. Whether or not the intention of using the word is to bully and to demean, or just as a synonym for small, the term has been deemed a slur by those within the community and should be eliminated accordingly. In a recent organizational statement, LPA put forward a call to action to abolish the word from the everyday nomenclature and to replace it with synonymous designations when necessary."

Thank you, I took notice of your comments. I should add contact options, you're right. As for the offensiveness of my joke, I usually interact in circles where people are less sensitive and can take a joke. I am at odds with the political correctness movement. That is all I can say about this.

Strangely enough, I do too [interact in circles.. ]. I've started making more of an effort, because I've been called out on borderline jokes by people I respect.

Anyway, thanks for observing the feedback in the spirit it was given. Cheers.

OP didn't mean no harm but yours is a very thoughtful observation.


Cool. You're entitled to your opinions. There's no need to hide behind a temp account. We can have differing opinions and still be civil.

I'm not offended on others' behalf. I'm not a social justice warrior. I'm not demonizing anyone. I just wanted OP to know that the term "midget" is viewed as a derogatory slur by people in that community. I probably wouldn't have brought it up, but it was used in a context that I found slightly negative, slightly off-putting.

That's it, not a big deal. If we want to be a more inclusive community, I personally think it's good, necessary even, to give people polite, respectful feedback about something they said being exclusionary. And the OP can choose to incorporate that feedback or ignore it. I don't think I'm 100% right all the time; ignoring or disagreeing with my opinion won't offend me. (Implying I somehow vaguely belong in the Female Hitler Youth is a little excessive, but whatevs.) Honestly, I would have preferred to provide feedback privately in this case, but HN doesn't have a means to do so unless you put contact info in your profile.

You and I seem to disagree on this, but there's probably at least one thing we agree on, like books or movies or programming languages or freakin' pizza toppings. I hate how public Internet discussions so quickly escalate into full-scale ideological war. Sometimes a comment is just a comment, not an opening gambit.

You can ignore and flag the obvious trolls.

You're confusing trolls with midgets! That's not funny.

Let's start a Kickstarter to help kanye west afford a copy of Serum.

I understand that what Kanye did was as wrong as any other pirating. However, as a result of that screenshot that software got a free endorsement from Kanye West. I imagine that guy is going to wake up surprised this morning when he looks at total sales from last night.

It's not about that one missed sale, but think about all the (even high profile/rich) people who steal the software

I definitely understand, I'm not saying pirating is good. I'm especially not saying "Once you hit a certain level of success, you should pirate!" Just suggesting that due to this incident the creators made quite a few sales.

I think pirating is wrong and I pay for my software/music.

Edit: Whoa! You're one of the creators. Congrats on getting this kind of exposure. It's unfortunate it has to be because wealthy people don't pay for your product. :(

"that guy" deadmaus?

I should've said *those people. I didn't know it was a team of two.

its a publicity stunt, this is so freaking obvious. kanye west knows the dangers in the public more than enough, to know what he's posting. anyone agree?

Not likely in my opinion. This is not without precedent, there's been several EDM artists who have not thought twice of doing a studio shot with some cracked plugin exposed.

This includes some big EDM names that really should have known better, given that anything like that is bound to generate many articles (Martin Garrix, Avicii, and Steve Aoki were the previous "big name offenders" exposed for showing pirate copies of Sylenth1 in videos). More to the point, several less known DJs have done things (like say a demo for Future Music) where eagle eyes will spot pirated synths there too.

It's pretty clear that Kanye didn't install a popup blocker while visiting The Pirate Bay; if he actually knew what he was doing, surely he'd at least do that, right? :)

No. Kanye is a law unto himself with a vast team of reactive PR people who try and perform damage control as and when needed.

yea, no.

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