Important: boutique sections closed... DMCA kicks in.

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Post by modman »

Dear friends,

As you might have already read, we have been receiving Digital Millenium Copyright Act notices from commerical builders who think that they own the copyright to documents created by someone else, simply because they built the product described. All this was iniated by Lance Keltner, who felt that the information freely provided by members to other members was his property. At the point where he filed the copyright and trademark infringement complaint, his trademark wasn't even registered. (see ... nvcht8.1.1 )

  • he didn't own the trademark whose use he contested
  • he didn't own the pictures and documents contested
  • complaint is useless because it doesn't list specific items
Futhermore, what has been doing for the last four years is in fact protected under US legislation as 'fair use':
Fair use, a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.
Still you must understand (I do at least) that at the prices the hosting company ask for comfortably hosting this site, they cannot take any trouble at all. If they are threatened with DMCA notices a number of times, they will drop the client. If they have to put in one man hour, they will be losing money over this account.

That's why I am making other arrangements... until further notice, cold turkey for the boutique gear junkies.
But remember: there is not one schematic that is not available - everything that is posted in the boutique sections are circuits you will find in other guises in the other folder with commercial effects.

Build a MXR Distortion +, a Tubescreamer, a RAT, do some tweeks and turns that you like -- there you have your boutique baby for under $50
But whatever happens, by Jove, FSB is here to stay...

Reculer pour mieux sauter.

Thanks for your confidence, support and patience.
that's at ALL of you-
Feel free to comment, as always ---


Update 26th July 2011, 16.44 CET

Thanks everybody who chimed in on any of the threads regarding this matter. I hope it is clear to everybody that we are in Stealth Mode (Boutique sections down, Subscriptions blocked) but that this is just a temporary condition. Solutions are out there, they just take a few more days at max to compare, figure out and set up.

Remember that we had letter about copyright issues before and took down a number of schematics because the claim was valid. If there were factory schematics contested by the owners, we never hesistated and acted appropriately.

Dissecting stompboxes and sharing information, pictures and documents is absolutely legal. For now on, we should devote more attention to encouraging members to put their copyright notices on their documents. If you drew the schematic (no matter what circuit) you own the drawing and you should protect yourself by putting a copyright notice, maybe with a gmail address and a nick. It would suffice then, if somebody claims copyright to get into contact with the owner.

You can always just put (c) -- we are here to take the heat.

A lot of people have asking about donating to This is always an option. You can contribute by paypal to I don't want to set up a special account for hosting donations, I'll know by looking at the date. If you donate now to support a safe serverharbour for the forum, you will also get access to the Tracer's Fund. There is some money set aside from google & ebay ads that was meant for server costs. We are looking at hosting plans three times the price of our current solution, with less option (for the admin, not for the users). I just don't like half-hearted solutions. Once we are home free for the running year, we can look into more economical solutions for later...

Still somebody should make it clear to LK that we are not mad about his complaint - but rather about the steps he took to rally up other builders to file similar complaints. That is the reason the Boutique folder got closed.

as always,

Update 29th July 2011, 16.23 CET

I am the first (but not the only one) to repeat that this is just simple hobbyist website about making silly guitar pedals. And make no mistake: there is an interesting history of guitar effects on the web still to be written because hobbyist were first. Some among those first people are still here with us today, freely sharing like before - others used this information (and their business instincts) to create a living on the basis of the information that appeared online. Some of these people have thriving businesses now - that's not because of the schematics - it was because of the commercial talent. I have a lot of respect for that, because my personal commercial talent is way below zero.

I could so easily have set up a parallel online fx kit store cashing in on the newly surfacing schematics. This would have given the builders whose names and effects are mentioned and documented (trademark or not) real ground to press charges against the forum. Remember that we started out as forum on a free forum webspace formula and only when to a paid plan because the freeforum company's future was insecure. In our time as freeforum we were unknowingly taken over by another company, who might as well have erased the disks, but forgot to... In all, this is our 3rd or 4th server in 4 years... standard hosting is dirt cheap -- that great, until you find out you get what you paid for: nothing.

I can now officially announce we are changing hosting companies. All the extra money that this is going to cost will not be spent on features, webspace or bandwidth, only on proper legal representation on the server site who will look into the validity of the claim. I.e. the contents of the complaint. If it is DMCA, I doubt very much whether it would even see my mailbox, except of course we mess with Apple or Sony or any other company that has good legal representation all around the world. If it is a valid complaint we will have to problem fighting it, AND in case we did do something wrong and have to take something down, this will not jeopardize the relation with the host. The latter is VERY important as well...

We are not trying to destroy people's lives, we are just solder jockeying boys with toys. And it has come to my attention (I don't really rub shoulders with other admins) that the attitude towards fsb is changing on other forums. We have also welcome a number of commercial builders who came to appreciate the work that is done here. I saw a very big commercial stompbox brand refer to this website for service info about an effect that wasn't your average diy.

But maybe I am not the only one with mixed emotions: proud and happy about the security of the new server, but sort of sad about all this money that is wasted because some people feel their's not space enough for us and them on the internet. For centuries people have tried to changes others into being like them, just because they couldn't co-exist, now man invents infinite space (internet), and they are still going at it...

I'm so grateful for all financial contributions, but I'm a little embarrassed to that the forum to have this kind of turnover. But I mean, if we can make this work in the long run (next years) we should do something... not from member contributions but on the basis of ads etc.
As I drove through Mogadishu this week, what struck me more than the shrapnel-encrusted buildings and the patrols armed to the teeth was the tide of hungry people on the move. Thousands of people, mainly women and children, were heading for crammed relief camps that can offer sustenance and hope only in the smallest measure.

In one of the camps, Korson, I was introduced to Abdullai – an acutely malnourished boy of 13 who had walked 320km to the capital with his mother and five siblings from their village in Bakool to the south. They began their journey determined to escape a drought that has killed all their livestock and left them on the brink of starvation. Now, however, they find themselves in an unforgiving city whose camps and health clinics are stretched to breaking point by the influx of people from the surrounding countryside. ... f-response

Was going to contribute some money to fsb as well -- but might be looking into a donation for a good cause.
I'll look into finding some organisation that supports our Native American brothers...

Please, support on Patreon for just 1 pcb per year! Or donate directly through PayPal

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Post by culturejam »

See, I told you guys it was just backups. :lol:

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Post by FiveseveN »

How big is your database (check the latest backup)? I'm quite sure we can host this site outside DMCA jurusdiction.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. (Charles Darwin)

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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »


Don't let those motherfuckers win
Testing, testing, won too fwee

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Post by cpm »

can we know who is submitting those claims, as for having a "hall of shame" names?

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Post by brentm »

It must be one of those guilty until proven innocent type of issues.

I'm sure, with hosting companies, anytime they receive a DCMA notice, they assume their client is guilty and aren't really concerned about aggressive "patent/trademark trolls" but rather keeping their IP addresses off the DCMA radar.

I think the latin/french phrase says it best at the end of your post. Good on you for taking a calm and calculated approach to this whole mess.

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Post by BraindeadAudio »

That explains why when I was in the middle of looking at one of the threads it said I didnt have permission to see it anymore?

People need to get off their high horses and let people have fun with this awsome hobby.

Look what happened with music, now people host on blogspots and theres no stopping them.

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Post by mich »

If you need some cash for a different server, pm me please

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Post by tonight, we ride »

Thanks for fighting the good fight modman.

It's time to flood the streets with fuzz pedals.

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Post by Mugshot »

spill the names. and then let's have a hall of shame list as suggested, and then point out their bullshyt for the all the word to see. :evil:
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considering the low quality of the transistors and caps
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Post by CodeMonk »

This goes further than just FSB alone.
What about BYOC and others like that.
FSB could just be a stepping stone to taking them down as well.

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Post by freq67 »

I just let my opinion be known.....

"Lance you are a pussy............leave FSB be and grow some balls and quit acting like a whiny little bitch."

posted to the Retro sight.

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Post by monkeyxx »

this sucks!

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Post by Scruffie »

We've been neutered!

Ah well... fuck the boutique section, bunch of clones anyway.

Lets all get are designing hats on instead :mrgreen:

I highly doubt that it's dissapearence will EVER stop people dissecting boxes and making it known what there contents really is, it just wont be so nicely arranged in one place...

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Post by B3ar »

What a jackass.

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Post by RnFR »

don't worry fellas... this shit ain't over.
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Post by rocklander »

RnFR wrote:don't worry fellas... this shit ain't over.
world's greatest tautologist the world
Ronsonic wrote:...the lower the stakes the more vicious the combat.

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Post by iq01221 »

Don't worry, I'll buy one, clone it and post my oun clon. What can be wrong? :popcorn:

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Post by electromatic »


I normally lurk and learn, by looking at how things are done by practical examples. I do simple designs and builds, baby steps really.

I find this DMCA law disgusting.

From google cache,

"I am bullying Free Stomp Boxes...
I totally believe that what they are doing over there is wrong."

Seriously a square of the squarest order.

We are here because we won't be under the thumb of freedom-hating websites/forums that herd their members.

Modman, is there a fund I can send some paypal booty to, for a more robust server location? I wanna help support the spirit of freedom, and the invaluable demystification and debunking. I recognize the threat, and the need for member support.

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Post by RnFR »

the thing is, it's not really the DMCA, more the abuse of it. as far as donations, we may be setting up something shortly as new services may be more expensive. we'll let you guys know if it comes to that. thanks for the support! :thumbsup
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