Category Archives: Copyright and Trademark

FreeWaveSamples: DMCA Response Period Expired, Samples Restored

This is an update to a previous post about a DMCA request frivolously filed by Roland Corporation against

I sent a DMCA counter-notice to my ISP, Linode, and they forwarded it to Roland.

14 days (10 business days passed) and Roland did not respond.

Yesterday Linode contacted me to let me know I was free to put the content back up, so I today I did.

For reference, these are the URLs where samples have been restored:

It’s no surprise that there was no response from Roland regarding my counter-notice. I’m sure the badly-written IP enforcement bot they’re using isn’t advanced enough to handle that sort of thing.

I will not consider the manner closed until I hear from a real Human at Roland. They could continue to harass me, and that is why I haven’t removed the “Free Wave Samples Is In Danger” banner text from the website.

Roland: Wrong But Persistent

This is an update to the unsubstantiated legal threat I received from Roland a few weeks ago.

My ISP, Linode, was reviewing the situation and still hadn’t come to a decision (I suspect they wrote to the email address of the sender and failed to receive a reply, as I did). However, today they received a DMCA takedown notice.


Dear Sir/ Madam,

I, the undersigned, state the following:

1) I am the legal representative authorized to act on behalf of Roland Corporation, of certain exclusive intellectual property rights (“Roland Corporation”);

2) I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that

use Roland Corporation’s intellectual property in the content without authorization. This use falsely suggests Roland Corporation’s sponsorship or endorsement of the website and violates Roland Corporation’s exclusive rights;

3) Roland Corporation represents that use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;

4) Based upon information at its disposal on, we believe that the statements in this notice are accurate and correctly describe the infringing nature and status of the Infringing Material;

5) I understand that, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(f), any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be liable for damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees.

The reasons that the domains named above must be suspended are as follows:

a) Offer(s) a counterfeit or otherwise unauthorized item for sale that violates the IP Owner’s trademarks and/or copyrights.
b) Misuses the IP Owner’s brand name, trademarks and/or copyright.
c) Uses a copyrighted image without authorization from the IP Owner.

The reported website(s), and by consequence the infringing content, is accessible globally, and is protected under the Berne Convention, the protection of which extends to 168 countries (full list here:

We are providing you this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 USC§512(c) to make you aware of material on its network or system that infringes the exclusive copyrights of Roland Corporation.

Attempts to resolve this issue with the Registrant have been unsuccessful. We seek your help in removing the infringing content. Please take reasonable and prompt steps to investigate and respond appropriately to this report of abuse commensurate to your commitment to addressing abuse as outlined in your terms of service and commensurate to your obligation under relevant law.

We may be contacted at the email address below.



I do not agree with Roland’s claims and do not believe they would win a court challenge.

This content on does *not* violate Roland’s copyright, nor Roland’s trademark. The trademark issue is explained in this earlier post. Here I address the copyright (Linode thought that was their concern, but to me that letter still reads as a trademark threat).

The samples posted on are not samples that were created by Roland. They are sounds that I played on and recorded from the Roland synthesizers that I own, recorded at a specific pitch (C in the best octave for the patch, usually), edited and denoised, normalized, etc. Some of them sound better than the original instrument (particularly in the case of some of the noisy 1980’s synths).

This is a very important difference.

In buying an instrument, you also buy the right to do whatever you like with recordings of sounds *from* that instrument. If this were not the case, every song recorded using a sound from a Roland synthesizer would be in violation and the music industry would fall apart.

This is why there is a thriving sample pack industry, with retailers selling CDs, DVDs, and downloads of samples from various synthesizers and drum machines. If you want all of the quality, flexibility, programmability, and versatility of the original instrument you buy the instrument. If you just want access to some of the preset sounds, you buy the sample pack. You don’t get much value from a sample pack, though – the presets are the least interesting part of an instrument, and using them in a song makes you sound unoriginal and uncreative. In addition, the pitch shifting involved in transposing a single-note sample to other pitches loses any articulation associated with that sound and introduces artifacts and aliasing that makes it sound less realistic the farther you go from the recorded pitch.

This is also true for other instruments. You can buy a guitar and get all of the flexibility that comes with owning an expressive instrument with hundreds of years of design history behind it. Or you can buy a sample CD with a few notes and sounds that you’ll be hard-pressed to make sound like a real, live version of the instrument on a recording.

If these were binary dumps of the actual samples in the synthesizer’s ROM, this *would* be in violation of Roland’s copyright, assuming the samples in that particular synthesizer are legitimately copyrighted. That has been a problem for emulator developers, such as the MT-32 emulation project. (references HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). I was aware of that case before ever starting the site, which is why I have not taken binary dumps of any samples. Interestingly enough, the MT-32’s samples were not copyrighted, and things turned out favorably for the emulator.

However, worrying about this stuff makes me tired. And at this point thinking about Roland fills me with disgust. I’m not sure I even want to mention them on my site, freely advertising and promoting their brand and increasing their name recognition when I get nothing for it (these are FREE downloads, for pete’s sake!).

For now I’m taking the mentioned Roland samples down and filing a counter-notice to their DMCA request. If they don’t respond in 14 days, which I doubt they will, then I may put them back up. If I can stomach it. I’ve also emailed the EFF to ask for their opinion since they were involved in the original MT-32 emulator case.

I have not taken ALL of the Roland samples down. Only the ones mentioned in their complaint. Based on the outcome of this dispute, I’ll either remove everything from Roland (there’s lots more), or keep them all up.

There is an update to this situation.

Free Wave Samples Is in Danger

Ten years ago I created because there was a shortage of free high-quality samples online. Specifically, the type of samples that would be useful for making music with samplers and trackers. I recorded sounds from my large collection of synthesizers (and some other instruments), a mix of preset patches and custom patches that I’ve created.

Now, after a decade of giving away samples without any issues, the site is under threat from Roland. A trademark threat of all things.

This is an unsolicited email I received:


To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of the IP Department for Roland Corporation and its division regarding your infringement of Roland intellectual property rights. As I am sure you know, Roland Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, including keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion, digital recording equipment, amplifiers, audio processors, and multimedia products. With more than 40 years of musical instrument development, Roland sets the standard in music technology for the world to follow. For more information, visit

In connection to Roland Corporation’s proprietary rights over its famous trademark we are notifying you of the following:

Roland Corporation has recently learned that the trademark ROLAND appears as a metatag, keyword, visible or hidden text on the web site(s) located at the below listed URL(s) without having obtained prior written authorization from Roland Corporation. This practice infringes upon the exclusive intellectual property rights of Roland Corporation.

As a trademark owner, Roland Corporation is obligated to enforce its rights by taking action to ensure that others do not use its trademarks without permission. Unauthorized use of the trademark(s) could create a likelihood of confusion with Roland Corporation’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site(s), online location(s), products or services.

In light of the above, we request that you respond to this e-mail within ten (10) days, informing us whether you have obtained rights from Roland Corporation to use the trademark(s). If so, please provide us with details as to who granted you such rights and when. If not, please remove all metatags, keywords, visible or hidden texts including trademark(s) presently appearing on the above-cited web site(s) and any other web site(s), or draw this issue to the attention of the appropriate person(s).

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.


Roland Corporation


This looks like the type of message that is generated by an automated IP enforcement bot — the kind of thing that crawls the web and automatically bothers people when it sees certain keywords. I sincerely doubt that a Human was involved in sending it at all.

Here’s why their claims are not valid:

1. There is no possibility of brand confusion because the mentions of Roland on the site are NOT a competing product. It’s THEM that I’m talking about when I use the word Roland. These are samples recorded from my Roland synthesizers and I have every right to say where they came from. That is Fair Use.
2. They are using an overly broad interpretation of trademark.
3. There are no products for sale on the site.
4. You don’t get to decide what keywords someone uses in their meta tags. That’s not covered by trademark, and it’s pointless to even care since search engines don’t even use keyword meta tags anymore.
5. If this was a problem, Roland should have objected long ago. As this capture from The Wayback Machine on May 5, 2007 shows, I’ve been offering Roland samples for more than ten years (including the JD-990 sample that is in their list of URLs). It has been a popular site for a long time, and I believe it was in 2008 that it first cracked the Alexa Top Million (it’s been the 200-250k range in recent months).

In any case, I replied to their email explaining that their claims were not valid in this case. Heard nothing back. Received the same email again a week later. Replied with the same answer. Heard nothing back.

A week or so later, my ISP notified me that it received the same email and said that I needed to remove the content or my server would be “limited”. I contested it and I’m still waiting to hear back from their “trust and safety” department. One thing I will definitely give Linode — their customer service is quite good, and they look into things rather than making unilateral decisions. I experienced this firsthand a few years back when a malware scanner came up with some false positives for some apps I had posted on the Zeta Centauri website.

One of six things will probably happen here:

1. A real Human at Roland will look at this and realize it’s silly and drop it.
2. I’ll end up removing the Roland content from the site under duress, even though they have no right to force me to not mention them. And, of course, I’ll replace it with a very unflattering note explaining why it was removed.
3. I’ll change ISPs. This is unlikely because the same thing will probably just happen again.
4. I’ll shut down the site. This isn’t too likely, but it is possible. It’s does require time and energy to maintain, and even though it gets a lot of traffic, the Google ads on the site earn only slightly more than the hosting costs. Enough to buy an inexpensive synth once a year (and then record more samples from it).
5. I’ll fight it in court and win. This isn’t too likely because it’s not worth the time, money, and energy. If I were earning a living from the site, that might be a different story (this is just a hobby, not a company). But, I also hate bullying, so it might be worth the fight, especially since trademark bullies are some of the worst kind of bullies.

I’ve spent a LOT of money on Roland audio equipment over the last 20 years (probably $20k total). Result #1 is the only thing that will keep me buying and using Roland gear.

If you’d like to keep online, please contact Roland and let them know they should leave me alone.

And for the love of all that is good, please don’t use (or let your company use) shoddy shotgun-blast-approach automated IP protection bots. A number of companies sell them, and none of them are very good. Down with Barratry bots.

There is an Update to this situation.