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Post by modman »

I set up a patreon account for the forum here
Feel free to contribute or not, nothing will change on the forum with regard to all information being freely available to all.
More background and discussion in the member's section. started out in 2007 on a free web hosting server promoting phpbb forum software because existing forums censored totally legally created schematics of friendly boutique builders. Our url literally got censored on other forums to prevent links being posted on the established forums. The forum grew massively and a lot of work was done… so we quickly moved to a paid server, where we owned the content, could manage it ourselves and develop the functionality of the forum. At the end of the 2000s hosting had become more affordable.

In the summer of 2011, we received a DMCA notice because the forum was accused of breaking the copyright laws. The notice literally stated "the copyrighted material at issue includes, but is not limited to, images of copyight-protected printed circuit board of my widely-known guitar effects pedal", clearly claiming that taking a picture of a pcb is a criminal offence. The way the DMCA was initially implemented, the precise claims of the notice would not be looked at until you got before a judge in an American court. Which would mean I would have to seek legal representation in the US to fight it but then again having legal foot aground in the States would be an additional liability. After these notices (there were several from different builders), all American great-service-better-prices server companies dropped us we were hot. Because we were...

We seeked refuge on a dodgy Indonesian server which, as it eventually turned out, was a porn a warez server under constant attack from legit companies trying to protect their IP but unable to do so by legal means. This meant so much downtime that the forum could not function. So we finally found a young Swedish server company willing to host us with a very specific legal policies. They won't take down your server unless you bring a notice to a Stockholm judge. Having worked for a Swedish software company the last few years, I kinda know my way around Stockholm. Much more expensive, but worth it. And all these moves and losing months of lease here and there would not have been possible without the generous donations of forum members.

There used to Google ads in the early days of the forum and they brought in something, Ebay ads were very unreliable and intrusive, so I eventually did away with all ads on the forum. Some money was put together in the Freestompboxes Tracers' Fund to buy and analyse some of the more mysterious circuits. Money that returned from that paid for the server cost for a few years. The last few years I've been paying the server costs out of my own pocket. Which is ok. Some weird evolution at the sever company made for the fact that we couldn't upgrade the forum to the new phpbb software, so we are hopelessly behind on 3.0.11 while version 3.3 came out in the beginning of this month.

My personal interest in building pedals has long gone, but I do work on tube amps. The only obligation I think I have is not to the stompbox truth but rather to the community of people who've shared so freely throughout those 13 years. It would be a terrible waste if it went offline. That is another reason a developer and graphic designer will work closely with me on reworking the forum... in case something happens to me, they have access and know what to do.
Please, support on Patreon for just 1 pcb per year! Or donate directly through PayPal