Many users of software employing the popular iLok copy protection product are finding their licenses invalidated. A server glitch is to blame, but fixes have now taken since earlier in June and still appear to be at least partially incomplete.

New installations and a process called “synchronization” can have the impact. iLok developer PACE has posted a solution, but as recently as this weekend Pro Tools 11 users continued to report problems.

In addition to Pro Tools, affected products include plug-ins from Abbey Road, Antares (makers of AutoTune), Celemony (makers of Melodyne), Eventide, Flux, McDSP, Slate Digital, Sonnox, SoundToys, and Waves, according to a report issued by Simon Morrison and posted to forums at KVR Audio and GearSlutz on the 9th of June.

You can follow the latest official information from the deveoper:

https://www.ilok.com/knownissues.html

This includes a fix that should re-synchronize iLoks with the servers. Since the problem was remote, that appears to solve issues. However, Morrison noted in his forum posts ongoing issues as of Saturday:

Pro Tools 11 users are reporting significant issues with iLok License Manager.

These issues are affecting license activations and transfers.

Copy protection schemes have come under increasing criticism in recent years – not only from users, but developers. Many major developers (including Ableton, Cakewalk, MOTU, Propellerhead, Steinberg, and others) now use their own in-house copy protection of varying degrees of strength rather than third-party solutions. A recent search of the CDM press inbox revealed many developers that pitch “no iLok” as a selling point of their product. This issue illustrates some of the tension: iLok consolidates licenses in a way that could potentially be more convenient, but any failure then impacts all products – and maintaining specific authorizations still transfers more responsibility to the user than something like a simple serial number authentication does.

Developers of games now have access to online stores that promise a solution to piracy and make buying software more easily, ranging from the Xbox Live Arcade to STEAM to the Mac App Store. But so far, those solutions haven’t been available to music developers. (One exception: Cakewalk recently made its entry-level Music Creator product available on STEAM. I’ll be curious to hear how successful that was.) And unlike games, which can more easily motivate users to connect online because of multiplayer features, music software must cater to musicians working in studios, and therefore could be potentially resistant to online authentication.

One argument against piracy has been that professional users would want more reliable software. But any time the “cracked” version is more reliable than the official version, it seems developers have lost.

If you’ve been impacted by this issue, let us know as the issue is (hopefully) fixed for you. And if you’re a developer who’s been affected, we’ll be interested to hear how you resolve the issue – and how you’ve managed your strategy to deal with both customer service and piracy concerns.

Thanks to Lee Ray, among others, for the information.

  • Charles

    Just another example of why this crap punishes legitimate users instead
    of pirates (and actually encourages piracy – pay for it and then use the
    crack). I refuse to buy anything that uses iLok. Good thing ProTools
    users are all hobbyists who don’t need to make money using their
    software.

    • George

      Hi Charles, What on earth are you going on about? hobbyists? Almost every professional studio you could ever work in uses protools.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I, uh, assume Charles was being ironic. ;)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Ironic slash maddeningly frustrated. Ahem.

    • Charles

      Yep. iLok invalidated my sarcasm tags.

    • George

      Ah.. Sarcasm, completely undetectable in text form.

  • Seth Elgart

    I skipped getting the new versions of all my Arturia software because they went iLok, and won’t buy anything new from them. Which stinks, because I *want* to be their customer but won’t put up with iLok products. So they’ve been punished because I haven’t bought their new stuff, and I’ve been punished too because I can’t use their tools any more.

  • Todd

    Our studio is 20 mins away from home with no internet connection. 75% of my sessions have been ruined over the past month because my iLok is working fine at home and then I get to the studio with no internet connection and then iLok is suddenly not recognized. Without an internet connection your screwed because you can not troubleshoot on iLok.com or their new software. I won’t go into detail the amount of stress this has caused when trying to track professional musicians without wasting their time.

    Yesterday was the last straw for me and I spent the rest of the researching how I can be free of iLok… and much more productive in the future because of it.

    I was able to surrender my Melodyne license and I’m in process of switching to their computer authorization system. GRM tools strangely allowed me to save my license to my computer instead of my iLok ( I wish there was this option for all licenses)

    I switched my Echoboy delay plugs to stock Logic tape delays and I’m demoing Reverberate to replace Altiverb.

    I’m currently mixing a 10 song album and so far none of these changes have caused the mix to suffer so far……. so I’m free (unlocks shackles, removes them and runs off into the sunset) !!!!!!!

    Thank you Peter for blogging about this awful situation to hopefully gather frustrated musicians like me together to push for change in the industry. I uploaded my favorite screenshot :) Support told me to continue to keep trying Sync/Repair even if it doesn’t work the first few times……. I lost count how many times I saw this message since their new software was released.

    • Todd

      Update:

      So yesterday morning the Sync/Repair function finally worked (after two days of error messages) and my iLok worked for the day at home.

      Today I went back to the studio and iLok was not recognized anymore….again Same machine, same everything, just new location…. without internet connection… and I refuse to get internet, it is a studio, not a cafe.

      Was able to get in 12 hours of work today since I have replacement software that I have purchased that does not rely on iLok. I was kind of expecting not to work now since this has happened so many times.

      Now I’m back at home and I can try sync/repair again.

      My iLok plugs have become fun toys to recreationally use at home, nothing pro about them anymore. No reliability.

    • Eco

      Absolute garbage – after a gruelling time getting my licences on the iLok and then a week or so of successful use, I am now unable to open either Pro Tools 10 or 11. I receive messages telling me that my iLok has no licences and yet both my iLok account and Licence Manager indicate that all licences are there. I’m beginning to lean towards both incompetence and trying not to even think about the scam of creating dependency on an iLok that would scare us into purchasing ZDT. Indeed ZDT should be a free service….or maybe we should total our downtime and bill iLok for the loss of productivity. I agree, this example of poor adoption of technology simply encourages piracy. For now, I’m using an alternative DAW. AVID, I hope you’re paying attention!

    • DPrty

      I feel your pain. I switched to Reaper. I used it free for two years then purchased it. I don’t miss anything Avid or Digi.

  • Jameshitsdrums

    My home studio worked great until I installed Pro Tools 11, I am now left with no studio at all, my iLok doesn’t allow me access to Pro Tools 10 or 11. My audio interface cuts out as well (this never happened before the iLok problem.) I have managed to open Pro Tools 11 a couple of times though, as soon as I exit a session that is it, doesn’t work again and crashes my mac. The Ilok also doesn’t glow blue anymore. I’m relatively new to this so any advice would be appreciated on fixing my set up, has anyone else had similar problems?

    • gLOW-x

      I advice you, like all others, to contact Avid and iLok.com. You paid for it, they got to answer and help you. They made an unacceptable error, they need to fix it.
      Good luck :D

  • dmo

    How much of a return do developers actually get on their investment into iLok protection? Does it actually increase their sales significantly? Or is it more of a matter of investing in a format with the long-term in mind, so that one day iLok works problem free, and piracy of their products in the future is near impossible?

  • Greg Lőrincz

    What if everyone complained at the consumer watchdog of the country of origin:

    http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/ ?

    Since you guys could not use record properly, you might be able to claim a compensation. Also, complaining (very politely!) on their Facebook page or tweeting them could pressure them. As far as I’ve experienced, such public complaints often result in apology, instant technical help, discounts, etc. I’m not suggesting that Avid does not care about their customers but what I can tell their policies badly affect those who paid for their products.

  • just sayin’

    This is why I paid for Reaper.

  • http://website.coma/ DAE Error 7002

    I heard rumours that any lapse in service can net you a $200 compensation via pace themselves. Can anyone confirm if this is qualifies or if this even exists?

    • gLOW-x

      If it was right, they would have closed their doors for a long time… :D
      And that’s why there are so much dongles haters.

  • Martin

    It looks like software developers are starting to wake up to the fact that they have been taken for a ride by PACE for years.
    The principal aim of the PACE iLok system is neither to protect software purchasers productivity, nor to protact software developers from piracy, it is to make PACE money.

    “Hobbyists” will use cracks of iLokked products if they are there, and they will use something else if they aren’t. In no case will they buy the iLokked products because they simply don’t have the budget ( or often even the need) for them. So nothing gained there by anyone except PACE.
    Increasingly “Pofessionals” ( for example people who’s careers would be compromised if they were unable to deliver the music for a feature film on time because their mix session becomes unopenable hours before a deadline ) are forced to either turn to non-iLokked software that they can rely on, or ( and here is the irony ) try to find a crack for software that they were actually more than happy to pay top dollar for !!! ( some, if they are feeling charitable will indeed ‘buy the iLokked product but use the crack’ … others, especially if they have been burnt one time too many by this PACE bullshit, may be tempted to do otherwise …

  • eff_em

    Personally, I like dongles. I think everyone who’s installed Komplete has wished for a dongle solution. But, I fully recognize their imperfections. I think iZotope has the right idea: where the user has a choice of dongle OR challenge/response, and multiple challege/responses are available.

    • Matt

      I don’t know what you mean by that, I’ve been re installing komplete on my computers for years now every time I format my drive for spring cleaning or get a new computer and have never once run into an issue installing komplete (except the 9 dvd wait but what are you going to do about that)

  • gLOW-x

    Over time/money lost, there is a funny point : you pay TWICE for dongle.
    You pay the dongle itself (not so expansive), but you pay the protection development too.
    What is the part of protection in a product you paid for ?
    10%, 20%…30% ? It would be funny to know it.

    Same applies to advertisements : you pay them too in the final product.
    And now iLok users will even pay ppl who will apologize and defend their bad work…

  • Paul Sombric

    They really need to get rid of iLok… It’s a pain and I can’t get any of my sessions done… I just installed Pro Tools 11 and I am not finding it cool that I can’t get it working. Every time I try to open Pro Tools, the iLok registration pops up. I type in the password and username and it denies it! I feel like I took a step down when “upgrading” to Pro Tools 11. Whatever.

  • sanbaba

    makes no sense to me either. i know ppl who use legit products now but never ever ever wouldve gotten started without piracy. and eeryone forgets this stuff costs developers MILLIONS to implement over the years… and costs them far more than that in lost sales. oh well, not my problem…

  • Hopkins Stanley

    So, like has Pace taken responsibility? I’m frightened to synchronize my ILOK secondary to having to deal with headaches from a product that I never wanted to deal with in the first place (as well as pay for no less…)…seems like this could have been thought out and planned for in the first place. Perhaps a bit of quality assurance/management to troubleshoot and perhaps even test the process before causing lots of folks lots of stuff that they shouldn’t have to deal with…ugh!!!!

  • Kevin

    Just installed my previous version of Pro Tools on a new computer, but now all of a sudden I can’t just type in the serial number to activate it, I need to install an iLok manager. I already had an iLok, so I thought it would be fairly easy to do, however, when the iLok manager asked for my login info, which I had forgotten , it found my user ID, and e-mailed it to me, but when I tried to reset the password it said that I needed to activate the e-mail link. But none had been sent. I tired this several times and the system finds my user ID, won’t send any activation link, yet requires me to click an activation link to reset my password.

    The real frustraion however, comes from the fact that they say they have 24/7 support, but what they mean is you can read the FAQs 24/7 and they actually have no support at all, and no way whatsoever to contact them by phone, chat or e-mail.

    iLoks were a pain in the ass when they first came out, and a decade later they appear to be worse!

    Sorry to be spreading the negativity, but when a company says they have 24/7 support, and they actual cannot be contacted at all, they are lying and misleading people.

    I will send this on to Avid in the hope that the digital audio community will begin using a better solution than iLoks.

  • Nameless

    i need someone with pro tools to do me a big favor….i was sent this ptf
    files and i don’t have pro tools, i use cubase…i can send you the
    project files you make an OMF or/and AAF file for me i’d really
    appreciate it…the project is made up of audio files alone….it is 3:07
    mins long…somebody please reply and i’ll send you the files via email,
    we can talk via facebook or twitter, thanks

  • Tezza

    Wow. Speechless. Glad I don’t use ilok products. All I can say is “class action” for damages due to missed income and spoiled reputation.

  • TTTT

    USB is not a professional standard.
    Turn off all USB devices (as the Avid recommended once),
    and CRACK IT ALL!
    If you make money with software pay it!
    Share your knowlege and keep it free!
    Record all good music!

  • jep

    I am sysadmin in a audio post house, we have near 80 iloks on floor and a huge pack of licenses. Since the transition we have tons of various problems from timeouts to licenses wipe while moving ilok from one station to another. Their support have been of no help and if you don’t nag them enough they just drop your case in the limbs of their ticket system and never get back to us.

    Ilok has always been a shitty company with a shitty copy protection product imho but now they have reached a new summit. We started to ask for alternative to our plugin suppliers and resellers and will consider the option to not use Ilok for licensing as a major selling point.

  • ShepDog

    Help. This @#$%^&* iLok USB will not read on my MacBook Pro. Killed a massive session and there’s no way to finish it. What to do?

  • Carlo D’Anna

    Pro tools offered a bunch of free plugins for pro tools 11: BF Classic Compressor, Bomb Factory, Mooger Fooger etc. I get an ilok notification for each one I downloaded saying not authorized by ilok. I tried that fix you recommend. and it still does not work. Any suggestions/

  • TTTT

    Last few years ‘pirates’ done all the debug job, even developed some warez,
    made some companies to push forward and let some ‘leaks out’.
    Community rules!
    Who owns ‘iLok’? The same guys that sell it big.
    At the same time, their flag products works good only in lab conditions,
    in total dependency of cheep piece of hardware, causing pain and horror.
    AAX has bright future,
    but just after it’s cracked, or just ‘leaked’ as torrent.
    Serious job is done, now it will go public.
    64 bits!

  • http://flawlessri.com/music-videos.html LLaqui

    LoL Sounds like Pro Tools the company got scammed, who ever sold them that stupid ILoK service is laughing all the way to the bank!