Steve Aoki Admits to Using Pirated Software

All a perfect misunderstanding? Steve Aoki has now confirmed that he was indeed using a cracked version of production plug-in Sylenth 1.  But, he also says he purchased a legal version initially.  Here’s the official response, posted by Steve Aoki on


31 Responses

  1. jw

    This is bullshit, Paul.
    2.3. You may use the Software, after you have purchased/registered it, for any private, commercial or otherwise professional use that doesn’t conflict with any other terms of this agreement. Each licensed copy of this Software may be used by only one person (Licensee). If you install the Software onto a multi-user platform, server or network, each and every individual user of the Software must be licensed separately or included by a multi-site license.
    2.4. You may make a copy of the purchased Software for backup purposes, provided others do not use or install your copy of this Software. The assignment, sublicense, networking, sale, or distribution of copies of this Software is strictly forbidden without the prior written consent of LennarDigital. It is a violation of this Agreement to assign, sell, share, loan, rent, lease, borrow, network or transfer the use of this Software. If any person other than yourself uses Software registered in your name on another computer location or workstation, regardless of whether it is at the same time or different times, then this Agreement is being violated and you are responsible for that violation!
    I’m no lawyer, but it seems like the registration feature of the software is simply an enforcement of the greater licensing mandate, which is directed at consumers who haven’t paid for the software (demo users or unlicensed users wishing to use the full software), NOT to consumers who HAVE PAID for the software.
    Certainly the team that cracked the software was violating the copyright, & ought to be held accountable, but in regards to a licensed user installing a cracked version, who gives a fuck?
    The registration feature enables the developers to distribute feature-restricted demo software, it’s not like the software developers give a shit if a user bypasses the registration feature so long as they’ve paid for a legit license, & so long as it’s not undermining their ability to make & sell their software, which it’s clearly not. The registration feature serves no purpose once the user has purchased a legit license.
    This is a witch hunt.

    • Visitor

      “in regards to a licensed user installing a cracked version, who gives a fuck?”
      Obviously not notorious pro-pirates like you.
      But I can assure you that the owners care — and yes, they have lots of good reasons to do so.
      Anyway, the upside is that people don’t tolerate theft anymore. Compare with 2003: Thieves didn’t have to make any kind of excuses back then.

    • no

      It matters because downloading cracks keeps pirate sites alive and thriving, regardless if the software was bought elsewhere.
      These sites make millions each year through ad revenue & other channels and using in them in any form just keeps them going.
      One comment about this from someone was, ““Soooooo time to pirate some Aoki beats then right? And no one in the music industry can ever complain about people downloading their music for free”
      He can afford it, but stuff like this just fucks all the small labels and artists who are being crippled by piracy.

      • FWiW!

        Funny that people were saying this is great publicity for Lennar Digital.
        Huh? It’s even BETTER publicity for Team ArCADE!! Because if it’s good enough for Steve Aoki, well..

    • Lawyer

      That agreement, at least the parts you pasted do not expressly grant Aoki (or his associates and assistants) permission to duplicate copies on separate machines without separate payments and licensing keys. That stated, it is likely permissable if there is a license key that allowed reinstallment on a new machine as stated by Aoki in this letter. But does Lennar have a license key that allows two separate installations. If not Aoki is not telling the truth in this admission.

      • jw

        Nothing I see in the agreement forbids mutiple installations. That’s the point.
        …for any private, commercial or otherwise professional use that doesn’t conflict with any other terms of this agreement.
        The way I read that is that unless the agreement explicitely states that only one copy can be installed, he’s in the clear. But again, I’m no lawyer.
        But the EULA clearly seems to be concerned with unlicenesed USERS rather than unlicensed INSTALLATIONS.
        I don’t think it’s fair to just assume a software license applies to a single installation. That has to be stated.

        • Visitor

          The license clearly prohibits the use of warez versions of the software.
          If you can’t understand the license then you shouldn’t pretend to know what it says…!

          • jw

            2.5. You may not copy, decompile, attempt to discover the source code or resources, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, or create derivative works of the Software in whole or part, including translation to another language, computer language or format. You may not attempt to unlock or bypass any copy- protection or authentication algorithm utilized by this Product. You may further not remove, hide or change any textual or graphical information like labels, copyright or license notices.
            Clearly the “You may not attempt to unlock or bypass any copy- protection or authentication algorithm utilized by this Product” line is directed at non-licensed users. You can make a case based on the letter of the agreement, but the spirit is clear. At BEST a mountain is being made out of a mole hill here. At worst, this is digital mccarthyism.
            What is the real goal here? To get a user to pay for the software, & to use the software as a single licensee. That has happened.

          • AnAmusedGeek

            Actually, the ‘goal’ is _usually_ to have the user pay for the software on _each_ machine they use it on…
            I don’t particularly like it – but thats generally the norm. So much so that companies that let you do installs on every machine you use (as long as you only use 1 copy at a time..) usually spell it out very plainly as its considered a ‘feature’

          • jw

            No. It depends on the nature of the software.
            The way this EULA reads, if a copy of the software is installed on a computer at a recording studio, each artist/producer/whatever who uses the software would need his or her own individual license to use the software. What that means is that a user doesn’t necessarily even have to ever install the software… he or she could assumedly go from studio to studio using different installations of the software legally. The number of installations is irrelevant.
            The developer is betting that there will be more users than installations, via shared workstations, which entitles them to the most amount of money.
            If the software is less specific & more personal in use, like word processing or something, then sure, it makes more sense to define installation limitations. But that’s not the case here.
            At least that’s the way I understand it.

          • Visitor

            “The license clearly prohibits the use of warez versions of the software.
            If you can’t understand the license then you shouldn’t pretend to know what it says…!”
            It’s not a matter of understanding the license. jw defends piracy whenever he has the chance.
            Any forum has one…

          • jw

            I’m not defending piracy, I’m defending a person who legitimately purchased the software he’s using.

  2. Paul Resnikoff

    The comment above about ‘free publicity’ for Team Arcade is pretty interesting, especially as a counterweight to the argument that Lennar Digital is the beneficiary here.
    Here’s a Google Trends report on that search term over the past 30 days. 100 = peak search interest, according to Google.

    • Visitor

      “especially as a counterweight to the argument that Lennar Digital is the beneficiary here”
      Only a moron would say that theft is good for the victims. Or for anyone else.
      I spend tens of thousands of $ on software and I get less support, less innovation and less new updates because of piracy which means that consumers get less new and exciting sounds because of piracy.
      Piracy hurts us all.

  3. FarePlay

    What’s right here. As always, those who promote “free” always look to the details or stretch the discussion to find safe harbor.
    Once the Internet was viewed as the great equalizer and what could have been has degenerated into a free for all for criminals who profit from advertising sales. Those who shout the loudest in defense of free market are the first to smear those who defend fair compensation for their work.
    I’ve even been called a racist here.
    And there are those posing as moderates here, waiting to interject their “free market” ideology.
    But I digress. Ultimately, to see a real shift in perception requires the artists and those who have skin in the game to stand up and speak out for their right to earn a fair wage, just like everyone else who works for a living.
    We are starting to see the appropriate outrage as evidenced by the comments we see on this post and elsewhere on DMN and other sites.
    That’s a good thing.

    • jw

      Who is promoting “free?”
      Can you not see the Paypal receipt?
      These are not rhetorical questions.

    • jw

      You’re delusioned in thinking this is about free versus paid. In taking this black & white stance, you write off any comment by anyone trying to understand or articulate the nuances of the issues. If you think this is an issue & Aoki should be smeared or punished for it, you are hiding behind the letter of the agreement & completely missing the bigger picture.
      Everyone is quick to categorize this as piracy, which is a very loaded word, but no one’s presented any argument for who is actually being getting put out by Aoki except that his crew member downloading the torrent generated some miniscule amount of ad revenue for the torrent tracker & aids them in distributing the material to non-licensed users, indirectly, which is… I mean c’mon. The bottom line is that Aoki is using software that he paid for, which is exactly what we should all be hoping for. This attack on Aoki does nothing but generate badwill between content owners & consumers.
      And don’t flatter yourself, you’re not being martyred for your cause. When you say that “poverty level people” (we all know what that’s inuendo for) are paying for iPhone 5s & Beats Headphones & you dismissed the entire country of Sweden as having contributed nothing to international music since ABBA, that’s just ignorance that you should be called out on, regardless of your stance on copyright.

      • steveh

        “Everyone is quick to categorize this as piracy”
        Because it quacks like a duck and it walks like a duck….
        Downloading a software crack torrent = piracy.
        Pure and simple. Black and white. No nuance at all.
        How can you possibly disagree?
        I think a key issue here is that by publicly showing a pic of his Team Arcade cracked copy, someone “famous” like Aoki is implicitly endorsing Team Arcade, and making it appear “cool” to download software crack torrents.
        How can you possibly defend this?
        Why do you think legit music technology product makers try so hard to get/induce famous artists to endorse their products? Steve Aoki gives his endorsement to Team Arcade for free!!

        • jw

          Really? Is he “implicitly endorsing Team Arcade?” Lmao. Because of a tiny one inch logo that inadvertantly flashed on a youtube video for a couple of a seconds? Lmao. C’mon… think this through, please. That’s total bullshit.
          If you’re so concerned with the publicity Team Arcade is getting, take that shit up with Paul, & other journalists making a mountain out of this mole hill.
          The fact that you’re suggesting his legit, paid-for license does not factor into the equation blows my mind.
          Using your logic, Dr. Dre should be in jail for murder. He rapped about it, he made it cool. He quacked like a murderer & walked like a murderer. Right?
          If your definition of piracy is downloading cracked software, your definition is fucked. Piracy HINGES on the word “unauthorized” (look it up), & Aoki is authorized to use the software.

          • steveh

            “If your definition of piracy is downloading cracked software, your definition is fucked. Piracy HINGES on the word “unauthorized” (look it up), & Aoki is authorized to use the software.”
            Authorised to use the software YES.
            Authorised to download and install a crack NO.
            Burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise.

          • jw

            What is the point of the registration system?
            a) To allow the software developer to distribute feature-limited demo copies
            b) To prevent unlicensed users from using the software
            c) The method of enforcing A & B
            d) Just something to require licensed users to do
            The answer is all but D, of course.
            Here’s why this whole thing has my panties in a wad… Registration is FEATURE ENABLING that ALLOWS LICENSED USERS to use the full version of the software. Registration is FOR THE LICENSED USER, not for the software developer. The software developer wants the license purchased, the user wants the software registered, unlocking features so he or she is not stuck in demo mode.
            This argument that software developers give a shit whether a user is using a registered or unregistered copy of the software, provided they’ve bought a license, is just retarded & misses the whole point of the feature. Answer C is absolutely dependent on answers A & B… without A & B, C wouldn’t exist. And a license makes A & B obsolete, therefore making C obsolete.
            Look… I’m not saying this is a use case clearly laid out in the EULA. I’m just saying it’s gray. And when everyone is up in arms saying, “THIS LICENSED USER IS USING UNREGISTERED SOFTWARE! OMGGG!,” the shit has hit the fan, & dogma is driving the conversation. We’re all adults here, aren’t we? With adult-sized brains in our head? How did we let the conversation shift from, “IP creators/owners deserve to be paid for their efforts, & those who enjoy that IP owe it to those creators/owners to pay for the use” which is a totally legitimate argument, to “Yes, the creators/owners have been paid, the user ponied up, but he didn’t put his number in the software! OMGGGG!”
            It’s gray. It’s gray. It’s gray. And if you can’t admit that, you shouldn’t have a voice in this conversation.
            All along the story should’ve been this: Steve Aoki might not have purchased a license for the software he’s using. Oh wait, nevermind, he did. End of story.

          • steveh

            It’s not grey. It’s YES or NO.
            Is Steve Aoki, having at one time purchased the software, authorised to use a cracked copy provided by Team Arcade?
            YES or NO?

          • jw

            My argument is that the following line was written with unlicensed users in mind.
            You may not attempt to unlock or bypass any copy- protection or authentication algorithm utilized by this Product.
            You can make a dogmatic, letter-of-the-agreement argument that he’s not authorized, but any reasonable person can easily understand the spirit of the agreement… don’t use this software without buying a license.
            Do you jay walk on deserted streets? Would you run a red light in order to avoid an accident?
            Very few things are black & white, that’s a cop out. That’s just something that unreasonable (or stupid) people say. Honestly, I can’t stand that type of person. Someone who refuses to understand the spirit of an agreement, who refuses to accept the responsibility of being an adult, & refuses to THINK like an adult, or even think at all. Someone void of empathy, who can not conceive of situations where someone might make a “right” or “ok” choice that doesn’t benefit him or her directly.
            You know how what’s black & white in life? Pretty much nothing.

          • steveh

            Out beyond ideas
            of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
            there is a field.
            I will meet you there.

  4. mnatives

    such a great posting.
    thank for posting am just loking RSS Feed.

  5. TcK

    Not only I used a pirated version of Sylenth1. Nexus also. And the most important, even the host, my DAW: FL Studio is also a pirated version

  6. Numa

    Guys does it even matter?… Honestly.. It’s all about creating good music does it even freaking matter if it’s a purchased version or a bought version… This doesn’t make him a bad producer or DJ in any way