NI not playing on the users side, crippling Traktor, abiding to pointless copyright

_Theo_ Member Posts: 20 Member
edited December 2023 in Traktor Software & Hardware

The introduction of being able to use streaming services as an input source in Traktor has taken us as users back to the dark times of the 70s and 80s where recording and copying music was seen as a threat.

In the 80s When DAT tapes suddenly gave consumers the possibility to digitally copy music as easy as the old cassette tapes, the music industry had enough and enforced a chip called SCMS (Serial Copyright Management System) to prevent any copy frenzy by consumers. Sony amongst others accepted to implement this chip in consumer products to not face any law suits and by so killing the whole consumer DAT market. When the chip was finally in place the market had already moved on to recordable CDs.

The SCMS never succeeded to limit copying copyrighted material. It did however limit any users possibility to copy their own created recordings. And even if the SCMS chip hindered users to copy songs digitally simply doing a DA to AD copy was good enough as the quality deterioration was negligible for most users.

Today we see the same idiocy played out in Traktor. As soon as you introduce any streaming source into any deck you cannot use anything that has to do with sampling.

This of course has to do with the streaming license as a stream should in no way be able to be copied from the streaming source (and by so reintroducing the same pointless stupidity as mentioned earlier).

By so NI has taken the precaution of not letting you as a customer to fully use Traktor and what you might have paid for. As soon as you introduce a streaming source into a deck. You will not be able to use any type of loop recording come loop/audio recorder or any remix deck no matter if the source is not the stream itself.

In reality this limitation is pointless as you can overcome this by doing some creative signal routing. However this takes you as a user inconveniently back to the days before Traktor as all the extra overhead needed to get this functionality back in Traktor very much defeats the purpose why many bought this great software in the first place; simplicity, creativity and ease of use.

Instead of abiding to the streaming services ancient and ineffective copyright laws, NI should stand up putting their customers firstly by assuring any new feature will add to, and not limit the current functionality of the product.

From a legal standpoint all NI has to do is to inform the customers of what is allowed and what is not, and this can be done by simply putting forward a warning sign, with some legal link and an acceptance button.

It is not NI who will be sued if some user suddenly releases a song containing samples from another artist, no matter how the audio sample has come to be in the first place, and by so it is not NI's prerogative to act as a copyright police.

I highly doubt any producer will start suing DJs who mix parts of their tracks into a live performance as long as they have gotten payed for the use of their songs (which they will by the user using the streaming service).

In the end laws and agreements should never be upheld by technically limiting a product or service simply because it will neither be able to take into considerations all different variations of legal usage nor uphold the legality upon any creative user who wants circumvent it. It has only limited markets, products and their sales figures, history clearly proves this.

If the streaming companies forced NI to include these limitations to allow streaming services to be used into Traktor, then this was a wrong deal to be made not putting their customers and their product first.

Acting as a copyright police is putting NI's bets on the wrong team...



  • lord-carlos
    lord-carlos Member Posts: 2,009 Expert

    Traktor has taken us as users back to the dark times of the 70s and 80s 

    Not really, as it's optional :)

    From a legal standpoint all NI has to do is inform the user about the license and restrictions. 

    Do you know the contracts NI has with the streaming services?

  • _Theo_
    _Theo_ Member Posts: 20 Member
    edited December 2023

    I didn't put it forward from a contract point of view but from a legal perspective. I did edit the text a bit though to make it more clear. As mentioned it is obvious they had to implement it to abide to the streaming services, but by doing so they didn't put the customer first.

    It is true that it is optional, nothing states otherwise, however the disappointment stays the same. The added feature cripples the product, and this for no meaningful legal reason whatsoever. NI should have stood their grounds saying, "we can implement, but we will not limit functions in our product". Instead they have chosen to be the underdog...

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro
    edited December 2023

    It is very easy to bypass. We record streams with OBS. And easily record with Audacity.

    As far as sampling goes. Loops and cue points go a long ways with a couple of effects.

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro

    I don't really miss Traktor internal recording. I usually had to fix it with Audacity for loudness anyway.

    If I really want a sample I have just bought tracks and I also have a huge amount of music on hard drives to find something. If I am doing something preplanned and need exact perfect copies. I never used Traktor for that anyway.

    I used to make all kinds of remixes with sampling for Traktor. But rarely sampled directly in Traktor from a track. Instead I used Ableton and Stem separation outside of Traktor. Then added to Remix decks or resampled those samples with the loop recorder in Traktor.

    It does limit us. But I wouldn't go as far as to say NI is against us. I am sure all of the NI content for producers is copyright cleared and they are very aware of how the system works. NI makes a lot of content they wouldn't want resold as packs so I am sure they see both sides of the issue.

    Blame Metallica not Native Instruments. Lol

  • PK The DJ
    PK The DJ Member Posts: 805 Guru

    Of course you cannot record when using a streaming service. The music does not belong to you. It's a rental service.

    Even if you did purchase the music, that does not give you the right to record it, alter it, distribute it and so on. You are only buying the right to play the music, not the music itself.

    This has been the law for many decades. It's nothing new.

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro
    edited December 2023

    A huge amount of artists want their music played and it doesn't get the copyright strikes. There are different things an artist or label can do when publishing music.

    They can put it as copyright free. And then anyone can basically remake that music. But there are typically warnings against using for redistribution for monetization.

    They can add the copyright, but not have penalties if it is played live on YouTube or streaming services. No strikes.

    And then there is the absolute no replaying or streaming for any public venue without getting it cleared.

    Native Instruments does not have the live algorithms or anything placed in the software to monitor the different stipulations for ever sample or track being played. So the smart thing was simply disabling recording.

    I also believe it was Beatport that insisted on the disabling. If Beatport knowingly made their content available to a software that records it they would have been in deep with all the major labels they distribute.

  • _Theo_
    _Theo_ Member Posts: 20 Member

    PK the DJ, you are missing the point. It is not (necessarily) about being able to sample the stream, it is about not being able to sample anything as soon as you have a stream, not even from the sources that you normally do have the right to sample. The copyright restriction cripples the whole Traktor sampling recording functionality to stay compliant with the streaming service, which wrong in my opinion.

    Even if one would sample a stream when doing a live session (instead of putting it in a deck looping it) nobody will miss out on any money or infringe in any way on copyright. As soon as you go commercial you'll better have your licenses in order or you are screwed...

  • _Theo_
    _Theo_ Member Posts: 20 Member
    edited December 2023

    Zephry, you are pretty much spot on. However, it will all be regulated once you go commercial, hence there is no need to have this limitation. Stupid as it may seem, I can accept not being able to rip loop from the streams, but I cannot accept I am not able to rip any loops from any source because I am including a stream on one deck.

    I wonder how many people have actually read the terms & conditions for Beatport and Beatsource. You are in no circumstances allowed to use the streams in any commercial/public situation, only privately. Hence all you are allowed to to is to DJ on your own in your bedroom, in private, or else you are in violation.

    To me it makes this streaming service pretty pointless for those who truly want to be lawful citizens.

  • PK The DJ
    PK The DJ Member Posts: 805 Guru
    edited December 2023

    It's not pointless, because both Beatport and Beatsource also sell music, so presumably the idea is that you use the streaming to preview the music and maybe try out a few mixes etc. before spending money in their store. They were selling music before they introduced the streaming.

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro

    Yep. It would be nice if it didn't stop the sampling completely. Maybe put in a feature request for the decks not streaming? But they are pretty full up on adding any changes for a while. Lol

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro

    Copyright is a touchy subject. Even discussions like this one might get deleted.

    No major software or anyone wants to be in trouble with BMG or Atlantic, Sony etc. so I am not surprised at any decisions that have been made.

    As for me I play by YouTube and Twitch rules for my streams.

    I was shut down on Facebook once because a TV in the background had the nightly news playing on it. Lol

    It is a frustrating subject. We all are inspired by other artist's works.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,729 Expert

    Even if one buys track, it does not mean he is legaly allowed to play it on public without aditional fee.... The same with streaming.

  • zephry
    zephry Member Posts: 545 Pro

    Yep. A person doesn't have rights to anything. Even Sony recently announced that people are not allowed to sell some games they bought. I don't know the full story. Even movies bought from a streaming source can lose the license and the buyer no longer can watch a movie they purchased.

    I don't think ripping CDs was ever legal to do?

    Fun stuff.

  • _Theo_
    _Theo_ Member Posts: 20 Member
    edited January 1

    It actually depends upon the country you live in. When CDs where big in Sweden you had the right to backup your CDs. Not only this, you where legally allowed to resell your original CDs whilst keeping the backups.

    This might be true, and I am not arguing this per se. However, there is a separate license you pay when playing music in public not directly related to what format you are using, in Sweden it's regulated by STIM.

    Again, you have the full right to put one stream into one deck and loop it, whilst mixing it with your other decks. Taking this sample into the remix deck looping it there is essentially no different user wise, but it is from a pure technical standpoint. If the streaming services really wants to limit you to only play the stream from start to finish, their service is no different to simply using Spotify.

    If this is the case then they are certainly not advertising their service to be as you put it forward:

    "Content streamed with your Beatsource Streaming subscription is intended for your personal use only. Use of Streaming for public performance purposes will require additional licensing, which is not included as part of your subscription."

    So all they are saying is "personal use" not as a preview to buying the songs..

    But no matter what we think about streaming, sampling and what not, my main point is still valid. In no circumstance should Traktor hinder me as a creative artist to loop other sources not being streams.

    Beyond this I amongst many am personally also of the belief being able to sample a loop into a remix deck instead of devoting a whole deck to do so is no different from a legal perspective usage wise. This restriction is there in an attempt to prohibit copying which A) is a different matter, and B) will not be limited due to the restrictions implemented in Traktor.

    I am all ears to hear complaints from any producer in this forum who would deny a DJ the possibility from their creation in whole or partly in a live DJ session as long as they have gotten properly paid for the streaming and/or downloading, along with a license to play songs in public.

    DJ's are usually good promotion for your music, not bad...

  • mykejb
    mykejb Moderator Posts: 804 mod

    I am all ears to hear complaints from any producer in this forum who would deny a DJ the possibility from their creation in whole or partly in a live DJ session as long as they have gotten properly paid for the streaming and/or downloading, along with a license to play songs in public.

    The problem with that is the last bit though - "as they have gotten properly paid for the streaming and/or downloading, along with a license to play songs in public". How does Traktor know if you've paid or have a licence? You can stream stuff from Beatport/Beatsource just by getting the subscription, but you don't have a licence to play it in public. Now, if the streaming services also had a "licenced to play in public" tier that Traktor (or any other DJ software) could check that'd be different and would pretty much solve the problem of recording streams.

    I agree that using bits from streaming shouldn't affect you recording from non-streamed sources. Technically it'd probably be a nightmare to code though.

    -- Mike

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