I'd like to make one point, then get back on topic.
I used to make my own boards. Right now, I can't but hope to again. I have purchased PCB's from other members in order to do what I am able, rather than sit on my behind. So not everyone knows how to make a board, not everyone who knows how is able. We can't call someone lazy just because they do purchase PCB's.
If a member sells boards and makes a profit, I would expect that person to share, at the very least, a reasonable portion of that profit with the person whose IP was abused. Even if (and especially if) permission was given after the fact. You can't blame members who buy these boards unless IP infringement is obvious. You can judge the person who does make profit off someone else's labour and doesn't share. That is theft in my book. At least make it a partnership, which is the lesser of two evils.
My feelings are very strong on this topic. Only the member who sells the boards will know for sure. If a profit is made and he doesn't pay "royalties" to the IP owner, my wish is that he can not live with himself.
Hmmm...another thread that appears that I started it, only I didn't. Now it's out of context.
As far as for people buying boards, to me it seems obvious that everything belongs to someone. If you don't have permission to use it...don't. With that in mind, yes I do expect some basic awareness on the part of buyers that if they are buying something that claims to be, in some sense, Nelson's, then they should make an effort to determine whether it's a legitimate offering or not.
Sadly, we live in a world where stealing is a daily thing. Music gets ripped. Movies. Books. People think nothing of it. Their moral sense...actually the phrase today seems to be 'moral compass'...has ceased to guide them. They want it. They take it. Period.
I get poachers on my land in the mountains. I've had them say, "Oh, I didn't realize this was your land." To which I responded, "Whose land did you think it was?" The answer, "Nobody's."
If you want to take something, just decide that it doesn't belong to anyone. That way you aren't hurting anyone by stealing and it becomes a victimless crime.
In this case, Nelson's name is smeared all over the thing (how many people would buy a random amp board compared to one that claims to be designed by Nelson Pass?), but people don't bother to check. They just want the circuit. Intellectual property? Whuzzat?
An author once commented that he hoped to become good enough that people would take his stuff. When I first saw that, I thought it was silly. Then I got ripped off and I knew it was silly. I didn't feel validated as an author, I felt raped.
Strong feelings? Yeah, I know something about strong feelings.
I'm real tired of getting ripped by feather-brained twits who claimed that they "didn't know" or those who did know and did it anyway, simply because they knew they could get away with it.
I'm also tired of seeing it happen to others.
P.S.: I build instruments. Basses, mainly. I put one in a local shop to see if it would sell. After a while the guy called me to come get the bass. It wasn't going to sell. Shortly thereafter, I dropped by that shop only to find that the guy had set up a woodworking shop and was selling instruments that were suspiciously similar to mine in some ways.
Like I said...I have strong feelings about intellectual property.
You know what? We do agree on most points here.
I think the onus is on the seller to be honest. That's why there are laws to support someone's IP. In this case I don't have all the facts so I can only speak in general terms. I do strongly agree with you, and I've had circuits ripped off after I've produced the prototype. So I know well how it feels.
I just have a problem with landing on people who buy these things without checking a whole lot. I know you don't check every single thing you buy. For all you know, the cereal you buy was ripped off, or the pasteurizing method for the milk. The onus for disclosure is on the seller. You know, I know people who have bought houses without checking. Maybe the floor plan was ripped off.
So go easy on people who were duped into buying something unless it's clear they knew something was amiss. Go ahead and jump on the people who steal and sell. They are the ones who created the situation.
I'm sorry to hear you were stolen from. Seems to have happened to everyone I know who has had a good idea or two. I wish you luck in that you don't get stolen from again. You probably will. 5% of people are creeps and jade everyone else.
I have bought KK boards, and now get the feeling that mentioning them in the Pass forum leaves you exposed to subtle (or not so subtle) snide remarks and sniping. So at least thank you for being clear about this. You have called me (and others who have bought from KK) lazy, a poacher, someone without scruples (a thief, a cheat...).
I do not know how to make PCBs, so I did look at the issue when I bought. I read the last ip thread, in which I recall KK very clearly said he would stop, right away, if Nelson gave the word. The whole thread resulted in Nelson apparently giving his blessing, and group hug-type-scenario, giving (me, at least) the impression that all was fine. Anyone could have stepped in then and said NO, it's still not OK. Nobody did. Read the thread from the perspective of a newcomer to diyaudio and see what impression you are left with.
But you say that's easy, and people like me see what they want to see. Or don't really search. I did though. Not specifically on the IP issue, but bearing it in mind (believe it or not, you are not the only with strong feelings about IP).
I looked at Nelson's passdiy site -- and in the gallery are plenty of projects (no less than 12) mentioning "I used Kristijan's PCB....". There are also links to KK's website. On one of the official Pass sites.
From this I subconsciously drew the conclusion that at one point there may have been an issue, but that was resolved. On top of that the boards are mentioned on the official site. No further need for thought.
As I read more (on the Aleph-X, for example), I realise there are perhaps other issues. But there is a lot between the lines. Then there is the sniping, the between-the-lines, nicely-packaged insults. The issue has been raised again, so people (who search can at least have the benefit of knowing what you have mentioned.
While I do not dispute that what you have said is wrong, what I wish to say is that the way you have said it has been very unpleasant.
All the things I've said have been said before. They've just slid into the past, buried under other posts, other threads. The pages of the calendar flip, tear, and blow away. It's the same process that yields thick sandstone deposits with fossils in the bottom strata. Just because they're out of sight doesn't mean they aren't there.
Unpleasant? Perhaps. Can you suggest a pleasant way to say that someone is abusing the system? Especially when others will bristle, regardless of how it's phrased, because they don't want the boards to go away?
The situation is what it is. The IP issue is inherently unpleasant. People want something for nothing.
I work at the University of South Carolina. Something like 80 or 90% of the bandwidth of the network on campus is due to illegal music uploads and downloads. 80-90% Think about that. And the students call in here wanting to know why response times on the web are so slow when they're in the middle of a download...they paid their technology fee and they expect perfect service...yadda, yadda, yadda... But lawsy me, if you point out that illegal music files are the root of the problem, they go ballistic. Get mad. At me. For telling them that they shouldn't be doing something illegal. I get yelled at.
And that's something that everyone already knows (or should, it's been trumpeted from the rooftops for years). Circuit boards? Huh! It's too abstract. People look at the circuit board as being a stand-alone item. They don't think about the circuit represented by the traces on the board.
Don't get me wrong. If you design a circuit from the ground up and make boards to support it, you're in fine shape as far as I'm concerned. You can charge anything you want for them; make a profit or not, according to your desires.
Making boards for someone else's circuitry, especially when there are active patents involved, starts getting murky quickly.
I posted PCB artwork for the Aleph series years ago, but did not make boards. There were very few people building Alephs back then and my layout never caught on. Suits me. I've grown increasingly uncomfortable with the way people have treated Nelson's IP (note that the Aleph service manuals are no longer available for download at the Pass Labs site--things were getting out of hand).
Granted, I've got copies of all that stuff, but presumably there won't be any more. Nelson was willing to let people do one-off DIY projects, but when it got to be a business for some folks he had to pull the plug and we all lost out.
Is there a pleasant way to handle all this? I can't think of one. My experience is that people pay no attention whatsoever if you're polite about it. They develop selective hearing; you're nothing more than an annoying mosquito whine in their ear. The "Yeah, yeah...whatever..." syndrome. If you rub their noses in it, they get mad at you. There doesn't seem to be any in-between.
I've certainly never been thanked for bringing up Nelson's IP, music copyrights, story copyrights, my circuits, etc. People always try to find a way to rationalize why they aren't doing any harm. Once that rationalization is in place, woe be unto the one who tries to dislodge it.
There will always be a few that do not respect the rights of others and will spoil all the good will for everyone. I've seen too much of that over the years. Therefore I do agree with you.
This loss of respect for other people and their property rights began at home. Unless the people who are rearing yet another generation with some increasingly greedy spoiled little brats smarten up, expect this to become worse. I moved out of a large suburb for that exact reason.
Now, smartening up would be the more difficult road at first. I don't expect that growing minority to realize this until they themselves are victimized.
However, I maintain you are attacking the wrong group. Attack the thieves, not the people that are tricked into dealing with them. In this case it may be that Nelson simply gave up to the way this went down. If so, that is unfortunate. It is probably just one of the reasons Nelson had to remove the material from his site. I personally don't know and I won't even ask for an answer to that. The steps Nelson was forced to take pretty much speak loud and clear for those who will think about it.
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
1) Ask the moderators to put this thread back in the Pass forum, or make a new thread, and make it a sticky. Give it a title: "Where to get Pass PCBs without violating intellectual property", or something like that. Then people can have their say, and newcomers cannot plead ignorance.
2) Get a wiki done with the same title. Put a link to it in your signature. Put a link to it as a sticky in the forum.
But again, take a look at the passdiy site...
These are projects that refer to, praise, and link to KK's pcb's. On an official Nelson Pass site.
If there is a problem, these should not be there.
So put together the original IP thread, the top of this thread (where even the moderator says it had been sorted out), plus the glowing references to KK on the Passdiy gallery -- and perhaps you can at the very least concede that it is easy for people to get a very different objective impression of the Pass IP issue to what you have.
In my view, the problem is that many of your shorter comments can be misinterpreted at face value as undue aggressive, petty sniping. So I think you are wrong in saying there can be no in-between. There can be -- a sticky, a wiki, a whatever.
Nelson Pass is being conspicuous in his absence here. So perhaps, when he has a few minutes, he can inconspicuously edit out the KK references on his site if that is the way he feels. This would then be clear as day.
And there is the point is whether KK is violating IP or not?
Perhaps he too would appreciate knowing what the problem is: are his boards too expensive? (perhaps he can give a clear breakdown of his costs). Do they not reference the patent number? Do they not credit the designer? Should he publish the parts list and PCB files too?
You may be surprised that if, rather than being called a thief, he is asked some questions and set some conditions, he may go out of his way to clear the air.
If he does not, there is a wiki and a sticky.
Sometimes there are genuine misunderstandings, and sometimes diplomacy does work.
You may be wondering why I care? Let me assure you I am not trolling. I have Mini-A boards from KK, which I bought in good faith, and the parts -- not an inconsiderable sum. I would like to build amps that am happy with. That includes respecting Nelson Pass and Grey Rollins IP, patented or not. I would just like to know what is the right thing for me to do?
with rgds, stefan
I'd have to say that your post is pretty fair.
Let's just say that the moderators would like to support and protect personal IP's where we can. We can not read minds and we are not about to guess.
If you have a problem with infringement with your personal IP (and it's clear that it is your IP), then let us know please. You have to be aware when another member is abusing your rights and inform us. We simply can not remember everything. However, we will not be put into the middle of an ongoing argument, we will act when matters are clear and settled.
If a project is developed in a thread, we will not remove that content. Sorry, "you" had the help from other members and it's out there already. We do not have any patience for a member who does abuse other people's rights. I would ask that any member who wishes to help other members out with boards and kits get permission BEFORE anything is offered. I feel this is important.
What else can I say? Let's keep the issues clean so that action can be taken where it's clear it should be. Please feel free to comment further.
and so that is why you have seen no comment.
I am happy to repeat our policy again:
It is our agenda to support the DIY community pro bono.
This is good for audio in general and it's good for us.
We treat not-for-profit DIY efforts as beneficial, and will only
consider interfering when they cause problems.
Individuals who sell PC boards based on their own PC artwork
encourage DIYers to undertake the projects, and since we are
not offering boards, they perform a service.
To date, their price has not been greater than my own cost
(I use an expensive PC house), and if the boards suffer from bad
quality or support, the word gets around pretty quickly. If they
are too expensive, people will buy from someone else.
KK has explicitly stated that he does not make a profit, and I
have no information that contradicts that. Also as far as I know,
he has not made false representations. Similarly for Peter Daniel
I really do appreciate the efforts of individuals concerned about
our IP rights, but they should understand that my appreciation
is somewhat abstract. My problems in this area are more likely
infringements by larger commercial operations.
"The eagle does not hawk at flies"
I could make another long post here, but it seems clear that no matter how many words I throw into this black hole, people are determined to misunderstand. I confess to getting a bit weary of the whole thing. You are welcome to feel insulted, hurt, wounded...or not...as the mood strikes you.
1) There is a thread somewhere (lost under some very thick sedimentary strata, no doubt) wherein people who claimed to be familiar with KK's situation and cost structure said that he was making a profit. I believe that KK himself took part and did not deny the figures posted. From this, I derived the idea that he was making a profit.
Basically, in my book, if you charge more for something than it costs you, you're making a profit. Perhaps the rules have changed since I was in school.
2) Is it wrong to build Alephs? No. At least not until such time as Nelson may choose to say, "Desist." Is is wrong to profit from those Alephs? Yes. That is Nelson's right, and his alone.
3) This makes me want to bang my head against a wall: No matter how many times I say that KK is wrong if (presumably, see above) he is making a profit off of boards for Alephs, people immediately take all the offense for themselves.
If KK is making a profit both parties are at fault. The seller and the buyers.
In law, if you steal something you are a bad guy. If you knowingly receive stolen goods, you are also a bad guy.
This is complicated?
Now, at this point you get inundated by protests that this individual or that did not 'knowingly' receive stolen goods. You have to begin trying to read peoples' minds. Life begins to get complicated.
Naturally, we all know that no one followed Voldemort willingly. They were all under the Imperius Curse...right?
4) Make a sticky if you wish. In correspondence with a moderator, I specifically said I didn't want to follow that route. I have a number of reasons, not least of which being that once the thread grows over ten pages no one will read it and it will accomplish nothing.
Human nature is what it is.
I used to try to change human nature. I wasted a lot of time and energy that way. My strategy at this point is to fight a vigorous rear guard action, knowing that I will suffer attrition, but at least I'm still in motion rather than being bogged down in a pitched battle. I've got way, way too much on my to-do list to get trapped if I can avoid it.
5) I've got to go move the hose--unlike Texas, we're in a drought here and my Peter Pepper plants are dying. Yes, there really is such a pepper. They're called that because they look rather like a...well...I'm sure there's a photo on the web somewhere. You figure it out.
Anyway, I'd like to quickly make the point that Nelson's final sentences echo pretty closely some things I said earlier. I'm not sure, but I think the post(s) made it into this thread. (Remember, I didn't start this thread. It kinda spouted on its own.)
Assuming the KK guy is making a profit, it still isn't worth Nelson's while to pound on him. Nelson's has bigger fish to fry. The corollary is that enforcement--if you wish to apply such a grandiose term to it--of Nelson's IP rights falls to us in a circumstance such as this.
Which is why Mean Ol' Grey has pulled on his ogre mask and is running about bothering people.
To me, all of the above rates a Duh. Clearly others feel differently.
I'm not surprised.
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