Status: WG Proposal (Closed, Uncompleted)
Source: Mike D'Amore, Yamaha Corp USA
Date: November 15, 1999
The purpose of the IPWG is to facilitate and insure the continued development, availability, growth, and profitability associated with the marketing, distribution, and licensing of sounds and sound sets to the interactive audio community.
The immediate goals of the IPWG are to facilitate improvements in interactive audio and to make use and licensing term recommendations regarding reasonable and appropriate distribution of sounds and sound sets into interactive media and playback environments. The recommendations will be based on broad industry input and be consistent with the IPWG Purpose above and copyright-owner rights as intended under existing and evolving copyright laws.
The IPWG has successfully launched and discussion is underway. Roughly 20 members have joined and the mix between Soundware vendors, game sound developers, and MI hardware vendors is looking just about right. Currently, the group is close to completion of Phase 1a of the Working Group Goals and is moving rapidly on the Phase 2a.
IPWG Goals v 1.0
1. Describe the topic and purpose (goal) of this WG:
PURPOSE: The purpose of the IPWG is to facilitate and insure the continued development, availability, growth, and profitability associated with the marketing, distribution, and licensing of sounds and sound sets to the interactive audio community.
GOAL: The immediate goals of the IPWG are to facilitate improvements in interactive audio and to make use and licensing term recommendations regarding reasonable and appropriate distribution of sounds and sound sets into interactive media and playback environments. The recommendations will be based on broad industry input and be consistent with the IPWG Purpose above and copyright-owner rights as intended under existing and evolving copyright laws.
2. Describe the motivation behind (for example, benefit to the market) addressing this topic:
a. To facilitate improvements in the quality of audio in interactive software.
b. By doing so, to facilitate growth in the market for interactive audio related goods and services at all levels within the community.
c. To formally recognize that professionally designed sounds and sound sets contribute greatly to this on-going improvement.
d. To insure that the licensing of sounds and sound sets for interactive media usage is addressed in a comprehensive and comprehendible way, such that professionally crafted sound sets can continue to be made available to the content creators working in interactive medium to the benefit of all involved.
e. To insure that the current IP issues surrounding the licensing of sounds and sound sets do not slow, inhibit or prevent the adoption of DLS I and II by content creators, software developers, software publishers, hardware manufacturers, and sound set developers.
It is the group's contention that if 2d above does not happen in a timely fashion, all will suffer. Sound set creators and licensers will lose profitable business. Content creators will loose access to this very important production resource. In turn, this will have the net effect of raising the cost of creating music for interactive media. As this cost increases, however, budgets will most likely not increase commensurately. Net effect being that the quality of audio in interactive software will decrease, reversing the gains made in recent years and endangering continued growth in the marketplace.
3. Describe the current situation (technology, market influence, etc.):
a. The current situation is one of confusion and misunderstanding.
b. Copyright law on the subject is incomplete and poorly defined.
c. Some sound set creators are seeking to clarify the situation through litigation. Others are considering leaving the interactive market altogether.
d. Many content creators are infringing on the rights of copy right holders out of ignorance, confusion, or the lack of a sensible set of licensing terms to comply with.
e. Content Creators are threatening to boycott entire brands in reaction to poorly understood and preliminary statements made by brand holders on this topic.
f. The wide spread adoption of DLS is being negatively impacted.
4. Determine specific issues which will must be addressed by the WG (in phases, ranked by order of importance):
- Phase 1a) Determine, in detail, how the furtherance of the IPWG's Purpose and Goals will improve the quality of interactive audio at an industry-wide level.
- Phase 2a) Identify the various constituencies involved with the commerce in sounds and sound sets in the context of interactive software. Suggestions include but are not limited to: Sound set creators, sound set marketers, sound set consumers (game musicians), interactive software creators, playback technology vendors, interactive software distributors, interactive software consumers (end users).
- Phase 2b) Develop a common glossary of relevant terms in order to facilitate organized, coherent conversation among the constituents.
- Phase 3) Evaluate the needs and goals of the various constituencies involved in the various transactions involved. For example, the end user wants high quality software at a reasonable price while the sound set creator wants reasonable compensation for and protection of their intellectual property.
- Phase 4) Determine what synergies and conflicts exist between the needs and goals of the various constituents.
- Phase 5) Honestly summarize the current market situation. Establish within the group a base line understanding of relevant copy right law and recent court decisions. Review current licensing schemes. Evaluate their merits in the following terms:
Are current sound set licensing agreements: Useful given the needs of the various constituents?; Reasonably accessible and well understood by all involved?; Being knowingly or unknowingly violated by any of the above groups?; Conducive to enforcement?; Conducive to facilitating improvement and growth in all applicable market segments?
- Phase 6a) Based upon the forgoing analysis, form an opinion on what constitutes reasonable use of sounds and sound sets, as found in the various types of media where they may exist, in the context of interactive software. The suggested list of media includes but should not necessarily be limited to Audio Sampling CDs, Sample CDROMs, ROM Expansion Cards, Erasable Transportable Media (Zip Disk, Floppy, Flash ROM Card, Etc.), Erasable Built-in Internal Media (RAM, FlashROM, Etc.), Erasable Internal Storage (Hard Disk), etc.
- Phase 6b) Determine whether this opinion is legally defensible. (It has been suggested that WG members here seek the advice of their respective in-house councils and report back to the group their findings in so far as such disclosures are legal, reasonable and practical.) If it is not, modify it to make it so. Reestablish consensus.
- Phase 6c) If such an opinion is not reached, consider creating a document summarizing all information of current usage policies gather up to this point and publish and maintain as current on the IA-SIG Web site.
- Phase 7) Determine the potential impact on the adoption of DLS and DLS II. Determine modifications that should be made to the opinion based upon such expected impact.
- Phase 8) Gather support for the derived opinion amongst the various constituencies involved with the commerce in sounds and sound sets in the context of interactive software as defined in Item 2 above with the exception of interactive software consumers (end users). While end user support may not be practical to obtain, the opinion should endeavor to be of benefit to their experience of the affected interactive media products.
- Phase 9) Determine the best course of action to promote the adoption of the derived opinion. Determine whether a standard licensing agreement should be created, and if so, how should such work be funded? Determine if there exists a candidate for promotion to a recommended agreement either in whole or by aggregating parts of existing agreements? Alternately, determine whether it is sufficient to simply publish the recommendation and allow various vendors to create their own agreements. Widen the group of involved participants in the process at this point as necessary.
- Phase 10) Take the determined actions.
- Phase 11) Publish and promote results at GDC 2000.
- Phase 12) Determine appropriate next steps, if any.
5. Additional specific issues to be discussed in pursuit of the above process:
- Understanding that there is some legal ambiguity surrounding the following issue, form a consensus opinion on what we believe to be protect-able intellectual property as relates to sounds, sound sets, and the methods of creating and distributing such in the context of the creation of interactive software. Make distinctions as appropriate between ROM based synthesizers, RAM based synthesizers (samplers), and CD-ROM based sound sets. Determine whether said opinion is legally feasible.
- Form an opinion on the distinctions between the various modes of delivery of the final product. For example what is the difference between pre-rendering licensed sounds to 'mixed' digital audio files prior to storage on the final media, and rendering such sounds to a 'mix' at runtime through the use of a hardware or software synthesizer.
- From an opinion on the goals for and role of encryption in the licensing of sound sets for use in interactive software.
- Describe the proposed completion schedule for the group:
- 8/15/ 99 - PHASE 1-4 (Goals and Mutual Gains analysis)
- 11/1/99 - PHASE 5 - 7 (Licensing agreement review, analysis, and draft opinion)
- 12/1/99 - PHASE 8 (Gather feedback and build support)
- 1/1/00 - PHASE 9 (Action plan development)
- 4/1/00 - PHASE 10 (Implementation of action plan)
- GDC 2000 PHASE 11 (Determine next steps)
For IASIG Members Only
- Working Group Document Archives (Coming Soon)