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Danny Grizzle
WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 12:48:50 am

WAVES is promoting their new "TLC" program covering dongle theft & loss in a major e-mail campaign delivered today.

You can see the Waves webpage their email links here. The email is a marketing message. The link seems, appropriately, to have been crafted by the corporate lawyer.

Which is a very sore topic for me, because my iLok dongle key was inside a laptop case stolen in Houston in 2007, the day after Thanksgiving.

I got a little more "TLC" from WAVES today -- no how, no way are they going to relent in their demands for thousands of dollars (WAVES Diamond Native Bundle) to restore access to software that I paid to use. Even though I was paid up and current on my "WUP" Waves Update Plan maintenance contract at the time of the theft.

Beware who you deal with. I'll copy the COW on today's correspondence:

-----------

WAVES reply to my iLok theft appeal:

Your homeowners or business insurance will definitely cover this type of item with proof of ownership and replacement value. I know this FOR A FACT, as I had a claim this past year when Delta lost one of my bags that contained not only my personal ilok and Nuendo syncrosoft key, but also a Waves ilok and Cubase dongle

My final response to WAVES:

What you know FOR A FACT is a specific set of circumstances.

Well, that is the end of the story then. Because my employer's insurance has a $75,000 deductible. Being a home builder, I know this was setup to cover things like bulldozers and backhoes, or an office fire. But in my circumstances, it amounts to a total loss. There is no way on earth my employer is going to pay Waves twice, especially when there was no ROI on the initial purchase. Not to mention current brutal housing market. In fact, to this point, I have spent more time screwing around with Waves installs and copy protection schemes than I have spent in actual productive use of the product.

Maybe I singled Waves out a tiny bit too much. I also lost a Nuendo key, but quickly bought Apple Logic for $500. Electric Image replaced their $8,000 dongle (cheaper at today's prices) for $50. I lost another iLok with some other authorizations on it, but those companies all came through. BIAS Audio has ditched dongles, and reauthorized everything at no cost.

I really don't have time to fight all this. Older, sadder, wiser. But still sore, and very unhappy with Waves.

I've read the Waves website, and understand your concerns about unauthorized use. In my case, the theft was random, but a more likely scenario would be pilferage in a recording studio. In that case, maybe the dongle would resurface on eBay or be used "hot" in somebody's studio (why didn't Waves address that in their copy protection scheme?). In my case, the thieves almost certainly didn't know what the dongle was -- they broke into my Suburban for a GPS, then got lucky finding a laptop in the back seat.

I've seen a lot of other copy protection solutions, including some from vendors impacted by the same laptop theft. In the most consumer friendly, I was able to logon to my user account on the vendor website and deauthorize my prior installations. Simple and fast -- good for the vendor, and good for me.

But Waves addressed this with a one-sided solution that was all about Waves, with no thought for the customer. Just as a comment on society, I've really about had it with absolutely authoritative, one-sided terms-of-service agreements. To the point I am ready to speak to my congressman. For instance, GoDaddy domain registrar has a blanket TOS saying the contract is binding including any and all future revisions, regardless of scope, and with no requirement of notification. So conceivably, they could unilaterally amend the agreement to take title to Manhattan, the State of Texas, or somebody's home. This is absurd, and is bound to result in more government, more consumer protection laws, more bureaucrats, more compliance costs, and more pressures on business viability. All because of sucky business practices, pond scum lawyers, and bad deals where people fail to get along.

At some level, I consider Waves business practices as calculating as a cheap lawyer, the bottom feeders who troll below the level of actual merit, in the land of sleazy extortion and xeroxed demand letters. The value of what you do is not worth a lawsuit. If I had ever actually used your product, then, through dongle theft, lost access to a lot of carefully crafted work, I would have been forced to pony up several thousand dollars. In effect, Waves hardcore dongle policies only work when they hold hostage a customer's own creative works.

QuarkXPress, notoriously, had a similar attitude towards their customers after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida near Miami in 1986. Every other software vendor reauthorized their customers with no hassles. Not Quark -- "Talk to your insurance company." Then Quark antagonized Adobe with an arrogant hostile takeover attempt. Look at them now, in light of Adobe Creative Suite and InDesign. When karma comes around for Waves, you can be sure a lot of people who know you a little too well will not be grieving.

Danny Grizzle
Satterwhite Log Homes
(903) 238-4465




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Ty Ford
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 2:04:22 pm

Danny,

Thanks for the heads up. I'm sorry for your pain. Perhaps Waves will relent (or come up with a better solution) if the word gets around.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Danny Grizzle
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 4:44:07 pm

After I posted, I read the Wave TOS on the new "TLC" program.

I'd rather fill out a rebate coupon, cutting and glueing a UPC bar code from the box, than to comply with this labyrinth of eligibility requirements. For instance, WAVES will not honor a theft claim in the second half of the annual maintenance contract agreement.

What kind of stipulation is that? After reading the long list of other legal exemptions, you come to realize even if you jump through all their hoops, they have a clause where, essentially, they will come through only half the time during the annual paid contract!

I bought WAVES through a major national retailer, one who purchases multiple pages of ads in every pro audio magazine. To their credit, they have gone to bat for me several times over this issue, but still WAVES will not budge.

In the past, they fought other battles with WAVES over the WUP maintenance program. WAVES did relent on some issue on that matter. I think the problem was high fees, and no renewal after a lapse. Now WAVES will renew WUP after a lapse, without requiring payment of back fees.

I've heard nothing but good about WAVES product performance, though I do think their bundles are grossly bloated and overstated. Anybody can include 40 processors instead of 8 if they count Versions 1-6 as 6 separate plug-ins.

BUYER BEWARE: WAVES is a company who regards their customers as thieves. Between the cop who investigated my theft to my treatment at the hands of WAVES afterwards, I feel totally violated.

BTW - I am not adverse to dongles. Before this theft, I liked the fact that they allow me to use my software on multiple computers, something generally not possible with challenge-response copy protection. But I was always troubled that WAVES opted out of the iLok key replacement program.

My attitude is about the company, not about the product. But I am learning a lesson I've heard the president of my company express about vendors many, many times. Price is not the most important factor, and neither is quality. There are some people who are not worth dealing with just because of who they are. WAVES is like that - at this point if I were to win back my Diamond bundle, I don't know that I would find space for it on my hard drive, and I don't have enough regard for the company that I would wish them on somebody else via eBay.






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Scott Pederson
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 5:39:32 pm

After I posted, I read the Wave (sic) TOS on the new "TLC" program.

I'd rather fill out a rebate coupon, cutting and glueing (sic) a UPC bar code from the box, than to comply with this labyrinth of eligibility requirements. For instance, WAVES will not honor a theft claim in the second half of the annual maintenance contract agreement.

What kind of stipulation is that? After reading the long list of other legal exemptions, you come to realize even if you jump through all their hoops, they have a clause where, essentially, they will come through only half the time during the annual paid contract!


This is quoted directly from the Waves TLC webpage:

http://www.wavesupport.net/content.aspx?id=4077

* TLC is available at no additional cost to V6 bundles with a minimum of 6 months of Waves Update Plan coverage remaining. (TLC is not available for single plug-ins.)

This means that you must have 6 months of WUP remaining for TLC. TLC is elective and not automatic with WUP, meaning that you must ENROLL in TLC with a license that has greater than 6 months of WUP remaining. In no way does it state that you will not be able to file a TLC claim during the last 6 months. If a customer has less than 6 months of WUP remaining and wishes to enroll in TLC, they simply purchase an extension of WUP (and the included TLC).

It should be noted that TLC is not retroactive. You must enroll in order to be covered, just like iLok's Zero Downtime, which brings me to my next point:

I was always troubled that WAVES opted out of the iLok key replacement program.

iLok's Zero Downtime only provides temporary licenses that allow a customer to work while they speak with each manufacturer regarding the possibility of replacement licenses. Zero Downtime does NOT guarantee that the licenses will be replaced except in the event of a broken or defective key. There is no mention of any guarantee of replacement licenses for lost or stolen keys - read carefully.

Since Waves will provide replacement licenses for broken or defective keys with the proper RMA information from Pace, there has never been any need for the additional expense of the Zero Downtime program.

The iLok Zero Downtime policy simply guarantees that a covered customer will not experience an interruption in service due to temporary licenses. Any other interpretation is incorrect and misinformed.

The following is taken directly from iLok.com:

The iLok.com Zero Downtime program enables iLok owners to immediately replace licenses in case an iLok is broken, lost or stolen. Benefits of covering an iLok include:

* Immediate replacement of licenses in the event of disaster
* Priority support during replacement event
* Peace of mind

Here's how Zero Downtime works:

* Sign up for Zero Downtime coverage for each critical iLok you own. You also purchase spare iLoks as needed for emergency.
* When a covered iLok breaks or is lost or stolen, log in to iLok.com and go through the RMA process for the affected iLok.
* iLok.com automatically deposits time limited temporary licenses in your account.
* Using iLok.com, you download the temporary licenses onto a spare iLok. You can now continue to work using these temporary licenses.
* You send us the broken iLok.
* Once we've validated the broken iLok, we provide you with permanent replacement licenses in your iLok.com account.
* You put the replacement licenses on your spare iLok. You now have a complete replacement of your licenses.
* If the iLok was defective and under warranty, we send you a blank replacement. You can use the replacement as your spare if you like.


In any event, if any of you professionals out there have questions regarding TLC or anything else regarding Waves, please give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you.

Scott Pederson
Waves
865-909-9200 ext 2


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Ty Ford
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 2:12:36 pm

Danny,

FWIW: My post to Waves:including a link to your post here.

Hello,

I'm one of the Audio Forum leaders at Creative Cow. The following post appeared today. It would seem that Waves needs a better solution to take care of its customers in times of devastation. Please let me know if there are plans to change your existing policy and when we might expect them.
Thanks,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Tim Holbert
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 5:02:28 pm

Hi Ty,

Recently Waves has implemented a better solution for cases like this with our TLC (Theft and Loss Coverage) option. You can find complete information on the Waves TLC option at http://www.wavesupport.net/content.aspx?id=4077

Unfortunately Danny Grizzle had an older version of Waves that was permanently authorized to an iLok and could not offer the same type of coverage available in Waves V6. When Dan's iLok was stolen the Waves licenses on that key were still accessible and useable by the thief. For this reason Waves had an iLok Policy that had to be read by the customer before proceeding with an iLok authorization. It clearly stated that we could not cover lost or stolen iLoks and licenses, and suggested specifically insuring that iLok and the assets in the event of theft.

These cases are always tough, even when it was clearly stated that we could not cover this type of case for older versions. However we definitely do feel for the customer when it happens. This was one of the driving forces in our development on the Waves Theft and Loss Coverage.

Tim Holbert
Waves



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Ty Ford
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 5:39:30 pm

Thank you Tim,

The theft of intellectual property rights is a horrid thing. I had one plugin vendor that simply chose not to upgrade their software because it had been so easily stolen. I sympathize with you.

You will, or course, do what you will in this case. Sometimes a policy deemed appropriate in a company meeting fails around the edges upon implementation.

When the unforseen happens at these edges, a company has the opportunity to make big points with clients and the industry at large. In doing so, the client becomes a powerful force for the company and the company's street cred rises in value. At the moment, you have made that an unlikely event. In these situations, the client will take whatever action they deem appropriate to settle the debt they perceive.

Thanks again for the clarification and good will to both of you.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Danny Grizzle
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage
on Dec 17, 2008 at 8:24:08 pm

None of us can get our jobs done without multiple tools from multiple vendors.

The part about the license agreements that become unworkable in practice is Vendor 1 pays lawyers to construct a legal contract that puts all kinds of stipulations on a product *after the sale* - "or return this product for a refund." Of course, Vendor 1 reserves the right to change license terms at will, or to amend them in upgrades to subsequent versions. Then Vendor 1 holds training meetings so that their employees and technical support may or may not accurately know and characterize what is going on. WAVES is probably better versed in this because their company is reputed to have a long history of adversarial customer relations.

Then, from the consumer's viewpoint, factor in Vendor 2, Vendor 3, Vendor 4, Vendor 85.

At some point, the consumer begins to appreciate the need for some kind of "Implied Warranty" law, defining seller obligations. Because the consumer side of these agreements are usually, "no warranty express or implied" followed by language that the software is not guaranteed to work or perform in any way, now or in the future.

I actually try to read the license agreements and TOS that now pervade my world, but I find them grossly one sided and onerous. In effect, suffocating -- no individual or company can possibly be in compliance or even aware of all the obligations demanded by the runaway, self-absorbed lawyers of the software industry.

Anybody who starts reading these agreements instead of clicking through will be horrified. For instance, I will no longer stay in Hampton Inn because their WiFi TOS essentially gives them authorization to access and full rights of ownership to all the contents of any computer and any attached disk drives that access the hotel network.

Corporate lawyers are paid paranoids who draft conceited agreements which they suppose to be air tight, framing customers as adversaries. This is ludicrous, one-sided and out of control. The only possible remedy is market rejection of companies and products that engage in such heavy-handed practices. Especially when the company in question, like WAVES, is a known tough enforcer. Their reputation caused me pause before I became a customer and parted with over $4,000... now I know why their reputation is deserved.

To be literal, was the license on my WAVES iLok key? Yes. Is there a remote chance the thieves or their fence sold the WAVES iLok key on eBay? Maybe. But my question is why WAVES ever engineered a copy protection scheme that subjects their customers to these kinds of dangers?

Even the new TLC program requires too many hoops and hitting too many marks. There is a very high cost of ownership, simply in compliance overhead (my time is worth something).

But my time is not worth hiring a full time lawyer to monitor every "Accept" button I am forced to click to access software I have paid for. In fact, I would readily assert that, at my $100+ million company, perfecting compliance with every software vendor license would cost more than our entire payroll. That's how out of control things are.

The way this shakes out in the real world is to turn and burn on bad actors. Reputation, reputation, reputation. We all take our lumps, fire employees who don't do what they are supposed to do, and cut off vendors who do not meet expectations. The bad cases get blacklisted, "Not eligible for rehire."

At some point, somebody is going to have to rein in software license agreements. I'm more in favor of market forces than state or federal consumer protection laws. But obviously, there are boundaries to what is acceptable. For instance, these license agreements generally do not incur obligations of slavery, though the people who draft them rarely exclude any possibility.

Whether protected by law or not, there is an implied warranty. That is, if I pay for something, I have the reasonable expectation that I will get fair use of what I paid for.

Imagine if Sears attached a license agreement to every hammer they sold.

WAVES has cleverly tied their software to a hardware dongle. Like a stolen hammer, their point is basically, "Buy another one." OK, fine, be that way.

I was whining before about onerous licensing and TOS agreements. That was before I considered educating my insurance agent about them.

Not even Microsoft is hardcore like WAVES. I wasted more time than it was worth (30 minutes), but after the theft, Microsoft reauthorized Vista Ultimate on my replacement MacBook Pro.

As I said, market awareness is a fair force to bring to bear. In my opinion, not only is WAVES copy protection practices and customer service track record a bad reflection on WAVES, it is also a stain on retailers who choose to sell their products. Several pro audio sales guys have told me horror stories similar to mine and noted that they actively steer customers to competing products as a result.

This post is probably wandering because I had to compose between all the other activities of a busy day. But if anybody would like to scan a list of my software losses as a result of my laptop theft, I will be glad to send a copy. What you will see is an embarrassing variety of high-end software involving media production, web design, database, programming tools, ... on and on. Enough so to dwarf the value of the brand-new 17" MacBook Pro and external HD (also in the bag and stolen) upon which all this resided. This laptop theft was the worst thing that could happen to me short of something involving loss of my wife or children. From the long (very long) list of companies and software vendors, my experience was definitive. As a result of a theft like this, you learn things you don't want to know. In my experience, WAVES has been the absolute worst of the worst. The "worst" behavior list was, thankfully, short, despite license agreements from many other companies who could have been as legally correct as WAVES in tough enforcement of terms.

For most people and most companies, being reasonable trumps being right.

--------

BTW - I elected to purchase a t.c. electronic PowerCore X8 in lieu of doubling up on more of the same with a second copy of WAVES Diamond Native Bundle. If the PowerCore gets stolen, at least the cop can understand it was a physical theft, and the insurance agent can understand it was a hardware loss. Not to mention it is a superb product where the hardware is actually designed for my benefit, to add performance and results, not simply to do damage to me in case of loss or theft.






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Ty Ford
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage - A new strategy
on Dec 17, 2008 at 9:05:17 pm

OK, let's try to keep it simple.

1. If the person who stole your gear is a crack head, the plugins will probably never see the light of day anywhere, period. The will be minimal chance, if any, that Waves will suffer a loss by issuing you a new code.

2. If the unlikely event that the software does make its way into someone's possession and they ever pop up for registration, upgrades or inquiries, Waves knows the serial number and they can deny access and could actually help you in catching the thief.

In either case, I can't see how you getting another set of licenses hurts Waves. Perhaps Scott and Tim could respond to this. The further you guys and Danny go into legal-speak, the farther from a win-win situation this thing moves.

Looking for reasonable people to make reasonable choices,

Regards,

Ty Ford





Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Danny Grizzle
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage - A new strategy
on Dec 17, 2008 at 10:06:22 pm

That's the weird hole in WAVES security system. No matter who got the dongle, they will have to gain access to the actual software from WAVES, probably in the exact version I had installed, then I suppose install and activate it in some way.

Surely WAVES has serialized the dongle in some way. So there you have it -- they meet their new customer! Maybe they can get him setup on WUP, sending them a check every year like I did. Buying upgrades (I went from WAVES Gold to WAVES Platinum to WAVES Diamond...)

I don't think so. The 5 dongles I lost in the laptop bag look exactly like a bunch of cheap USB memory sticks, the kind given away at trade shows. I would bet they were tossed into the trash.

In my real life, one hat I wear is IT Director. The worst part of my laptop theft was a data migration I had in progress, 750,000 customers and every interaction ever conducted with each one (email, phone, office visit). Our CRM is now on Salesforce.com.

I feel stupid to let my laptop get stolen ("It will never happen to me..."), but it is not like there were no precautions. I was obsessive about keeping backups, encryption, and all behind a non-trivial 12+ character alpha numeric logon password, and that behind a hidden user name. The only reason the laptop was in my car was because - Thanksgiving - too many kids loose with food & drinks at my sister-in-laws. Lucky I didn't also pack my 1TB Mirrored RAID external drive!

I am convinced nobody could do anything with that laptop except wipe the hard drive.

This experience is not something you would wish on anybody. As luck would have it, the thieves also got my Palm Treo, which contained a synced version of my extensive sysadmin passwords, also Blowfish encrypted. This they tossed out the window less than a mile down the road, where it was found a few days later. Long story.

Point being: no matter how well you think you are prepared with backups and encrypted passwords and redundancies and insurance, it is *never* enough when the crisis occurs.

BTW - another bad thing to report: Apple makes no effort to keep a clearinghouse database of stolen Mac laptop serial numbers. Duh...

Law enforcement on stolen laptops is a joke. The security video clearly showed the getaway car license plate. The cop ran it and it came back good, but "It is registered to an address on the other side of town. We don't have time to go check."

My brother-in-law, a Houston P.D. sergeant, watched the security video provided to me on CD by the retail store. He said it was obviously professional thieves, and likely the car was taken from a repair shop or would be discovered stolen by someone returning home after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sorry to relate this sob story on this list, but maybe my tale of woe will be warning to others. A year later, and obviously I'm not over it yet.





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Vince Becquiot
Re: WAVES TLC - Theft & Loss Coverage - A new strategy
on Dec 18, 2008 at 5:15:48 am

I looked into this really hard in the past and I would probably be as pissed as you are if that happend to me... BUT,

I think the argument is going to comes down to this:

With an offline dongle, nothing prevents the client from selling the key on Ebay and getting a new one from the vendor. In that case it becomes the equivalent of a physical good, when its gone, it's gone.


Vince Becquiot
Director | Editor

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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