[Edit] Sounds Nice!
Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Did MI rip off Music Thing?
MI starts by saying “this is our take on Tom Whitwell’s open-source Mikrophonie module”, linked and all.
Behringer says look at us, we’re amazing, and you have to click “see more” before they mention that their amazing thing can run some other oscillators too, and you have to click “see more” again before you find a pointer to émilie’s github (as text, not a hyperlink).
But maybe it’s different enough that it’s more than just their take on someone else’s design, I dunno. I mean, they have moved the knobs around a bit, and the LEDs are horizontal instead of vertical. I’m sure that took some effort.
IANAL and so will offer no opinions on whether any licenses have been violated. I will say the front panel clearly is different — more than just moving stuff around, they’ve added the OLED and front panel USB — and in fact my assumption is that the hardware is not derived from Plaits. Certainly Behringer credits Plaits only in reference to the software, and it does seem they’ve added functionality to that. And the Plaits software is MIT license, which is one of the more permissive.
Again, I won’t say Behringer has or has not violated any licenses here, but it does seem to me this is exactly what open source is for — sharing and building upon each others’ work.
As for how they give credit, it’s not great. But they do.
I am not a lawyer either, but I will also not support that business practice. There is also another major difference to MI: they do make their module open source, even if they are based on something else. They are taking money for the assembled module etc. but you can also just take their design and build it yourself or make your own fork. I cannot see anything like that on Behringer’s side. I don’t know whether they oscilloscope adds anything, but apart from that, I would rather spent a bit more (if I had the money) on MI modules to support creative development. Just my 2 cents.
Even worse, they are not referring to the ideas etc. but only that they feature some of the sound engines:
20 digital oscillators including 15 Mutable Instruments Plaits* engines for infinite sound creation
This obviously isn’t violating any licences of any kind. It does seem to be the kind of thing that violates what I call an amateur ethic (which I don’t subscribe to.) The idea seems to be that copying a good idea somebody else had is bad form. As a person who likes to see good ideas thrive, I have no problem with this practice.
I mean fuck Behringer, but this is the least offensive thing they have done recently for real.
Not sure what you mean by “amateur ethics”, but ok. Copying an idea and possibly refining it is fine, but credit to the original inventor should be given. This is exactly what underlies open source/open hardware/open whatever, only that there are specific licences that protect the public from vultures.
In fact, it appears that the MI hardware is released under CC-BY-SA, which means that anyone building on those schematics has to give credit and release their version under a compatible licence. I don’t know how Behringer has designed their circuit, so I will not make any accusations. But it is not so obvious that they are not violating that licence. The software by MI is released under the MIT licence, so here would be no problem.
For anyone interested, have a look at this video in which Fran of “Frantone” fame speaks about making guitar pedals and the copying or cloning of designs.
Fran: “It always boils down to that in the pedal world companies, even established companies are much more comfortable ripping of my designs, my pedal names and ideas, my motivs and such. They are much more comfortable just outright stealing my work rather than actually paying me for a licensing deal to actually make the real thing the right way. That’s the way the pedal business goes. It is largely a business of knock offs and clones. That is what it is.”
If you follow the video to the end it appears that although interviewed as one of the pioneers of guitar pedal building, she is not given the credit she thinks she deserves for her technical inventions in the ‘pedal movie’.
Apparently the whole of music industry is kind of a wild west. So if you ever think of building a module and going the commercial route with it, be warned !
Circuits are one thing as they can’t be copyrighted, but that’s just absolutely shameless with the faceplate. I expect we’ll see a surge in design patents on modules and synths in the future, not sure why we haven’t already.
Circuits are one thing as they can’t be copyrighted
Well, there’s always patents:
In rare instances, yes, but most synth module circuits are likely to be only “obvious” variations of well known designs. Probably whatever’s behind the Intellijel front panel is not sufficiently novel to warrant patent protection — and it might not even be the same thing behind the Behringer front panel anyway. As @BlackDeath suggests, it’s the front panel imitation that’s the egregious thing here, and I think (IANAL) a design patent might be the only way to protect against what Behringer’s doing. But I’m not sure this is even design patent territory. (IANAL, again.)
Again, this just weirds me out lol. The original layout isn’t even that great
What, you mean 12 pots, 4 switches, 4 LEDs, and 12 jacks shoved into 12 HP x 3U isn’t to your liking?
At least when I shamelessly copied (by eye) the @lookmumnocomputer quad vca faceplate and made it eurorack it started from a good looker hope you don’t mind. These will be the only 5 to exist
How about a quintuple quad vca rig?
Behringer released their 909 which is suuuper tempting. But they have linndrum on the way too, oi
This is like complaining that a make of car has exactly the same array of dashboard controls as another make.
My Prius’s dashboard does not look like the dashboard of anything else, including a different model of Toyota.
It’s not merely like oh, this has 4 inputs and 4 CVs and 4 outputs and 4 input attenuators, and so does that. This is exactly the same unusual controls such as linear/exponential pots and “boost” switches, whatever those are, in exactly the same arrangement, with virtually identical labeling right down to the radius of curvature of the lines from the CV inputs to the LEDs.
There are lots of quad VCAs on the market. No other two of them look anywhere near as alike as these two.