Softube Dumps iLok Key Requirement; Who Should Be Next?

ilokSoftware plugin maker Softube has announced that it has dropped the requirement for a USB iLok key for all its products.

All Softube plug-ins can now be used with iLok’s machine-based licenses. This license type authorizes the computer itself, making the USB iLok key optional.

Each license will contain two separate authorizations, meaning that the user can either authorize one computer and keep one authorization as backup, authorize two different computers or authorize one computer and one USB iLok key.

If wanted, users can still use a USB hardware iLok for easy portability of their licenses.

iLok dependency is a recurring criticism, among Synthtopia readers, of software that uses the hardware technology for copy protection.

Let us know what you think of Softube’s decision – and if you think other companies should follow!

29 thoughts on “Softube Dumps iLok Key Requirement; Who Should Be Next?

  1. I wish everyone a lot of fun when they discover that changing only a few minor features (like replacing the hard disk) requires re-authorization, because the disk based auths won´t work anymore. Had this once – and it was “big fun”, because the fact that a dying hard disk could not be de-authorized required a lot more action than just plugging in an iLok.
    iLoks may have their shortcomings (like requiring an empty USB Port), but unless they physically break, they support every transition of hard- and software in the easiest way possible.
    Neither upgrading my OS many times, nor replaced my Mac hardware ever caused problems. Every plugin authorized to iLok was available right away without any interaction. Having to re-authorize all plugins which used a hard disk protection (key file etc.) was more cumbersome and time-consuming.

    1. it really comes down to the software manufacturer. if you’re having to re-authorize every time you make a hardware change, then you should be complaining to the software maker. they have the ability to set thresholds for how often it will require it to authorize.

    2. Yeah, but the machine-based iLok auths are all done via their app, so if your HD crashes, it takes all of 3 minutes to unauthorize your old drive and authorize the new one. I wish any company using iLok would get on board with this. Aside from the ever-present fear I have of losing my physical iLok, I also have to carry a USB hub to get it recognized by Pro Tools 11 on my MBP.

    1. its crazy they havent done this, right? even back in the day of parallel and ADB based dongles they had the ability to pass through…. you’d think these guys have never used a macbook….

  2. I never have any problem with re-authorizing plugins. Yes it takes time to re-authorize all plugins when re-installing software but I only do something like that once in a couple of years. iLok type dongles need to be used everyday! Sometimes iLoks fill up and can’t store any more license (ver.1) sometimes dongles die and you have to convince the developer that it actually died and wait for weeks till they ship a new one. Sometimes that costs more. No such problems with disk based authorizations.

  3. i-Lok and it’s DRM dongle brothers need to just go away. This is not 1999.

    I’m glad Soft Tube has figured this out. Now how about it, NI, Arturia, UVI, et. al. ?

    1. Arturia dumped with Collection V. And allows up to 5 computers activated; smart. NI has their own licensing, up to 2 computers like Ableton. IP checks and constant “phone-calling” home should be next to go.

  4. Arturia’s already dropped dongles, at least from the V-Collection stuff. They use an account manager thing like NI does.

    I look forward to a day when I’m not expected to pay an extra 30 bucks for the privilege of using software I’ve already licensed. Until then XLIS and their ilk will have to wait, no mater how much I’d like their vocoder.

  5. i have mixed feelings about dongles. while i get that they are a very secure method of copy protection (for the most part – everything gets cracked eventually) there’s always been problems with them as well. for me, its primarily theft. what would stop somebody from just yanking your dongle out of your laptop while you’re at a show? it also never helped that there was absolutely no recourse for those situations… tell them your stuff got stolen and its usually just a “that sucks, buy a new copy” type response. as an account holder one should have the ability to “nuke” a license and be provided with a new one without being hassled for it. as long as the original license is nuked, nobody’s gonna get any use out of it.
    secondly was the portability problem…. somebody, i cant remember who now, started going something whereby you could keep your dongle at home and when you tried to use it on your laptop, it would phone home to your home machine and verify the license on the dongle there. i thought that was a pretty innovative feature (was it reason maybe?)

    personally my next on the list of doing away with dongles would be SoundToys.

  6. Everyone should get rid of them. They don’t work. Pirates get around them immediately. And the rest of us have to deal with a pain in the ass when trying to work on both a laptop and desktop. It’s antiquated technology that really needs to go away.

    1. When a company places copy-protection above usability then we all have an option to support that, or do are best to diminish that. I don’t believe in cracked software, but I don’t use dongles, so it is my duty to crack the protection on software I have paid for, so I can use it how I choose to. Legally I don’t have a stance, but ethical I will not be halted in this practice – it is my responsibility to fault all hardware copy-protection that I find intrusive and overbearing – it is my duty.

    2. That’s not really true. There are no recent cracks of Cubase or the East/West stuff — switching to a dongle put a stop to it. The question becomes, is the app worth the trouble of a dongle or not? In the case of Cubase, for me, it certainly is.

  7. “it has dropped the requirement for a USB iLok key for all its products”

    Hip hip hurray!

    “can now be used with iLok’s machine-based licenses”

    Boo! Hiss!

  8. Misleading title. It does not drop iLok. People had difficulties with iLok drivers, which are still installed when using the disk authorisation.

    1. “Softube Dumps iLok Key Requirement”

      “All Softube plug-ins can now be used with iLok’s machine-based licenses. This license type authorizes the computer itself, making the USB iLok key optional.”

      The headline and article make it clear that they’ve dropped the iLok USB key requirement.

  9. iLok stinks, as do other copy protection systems
    I remember this statement from Cakewalk products some time ago “still no copy protection, we don’t treat our customers as suspected criminals”. That says it all. In any case, my Doepfer-based modular doesn’t have a dongle, neither my Prophet08, Moog SlimPhatty, Elektron A4 and AR… Make the right turn and buy hardware!!!

  10. I have iLok, Syncrosoft & Propellerhead dongles. I’m waiting for a power surge to wipe them all out so I have to phone up each company and convince them I am not a criminal. The whole thing is crazy. I have a lot of apps, games, etc and not one of them outside the music software industry uses hardware protection. Its usually just a serial number.

    Dongles are not going to stop people from buying software they want, or from being pirated, but they are an inconvenience and sure as hell make it difficult when things go wrong, like the time somebody stole your dongle or you left it in your pocket after a gig and it did a cycle in the washing machine. Hackers will hack, pirates will steal regardless of all this. Some will even blatantly say so on forums ‘Where can I get a copy of Ableton for free, etc’.

  11. Protocols has to be next I went 11 months thinking my new computer was a dud when it was the il ok all along and they really made it a pain for me to replace. That’s a year of virtually no access to my software. Also machines have fewer and fewer accessible usb ports now, so I’m having to unplug one thing to put in this ilok, which I don’t trust being out of my sight any more.

  12. While using A Popular DAW recently, my iLok stopped working abruptly in the middle of a track and I was locked out. Since I had not bought ’emergency protection’ and I live overseas from the manufacturer, they proposed to charge me over $100 to /eventually/ deliver a new iLok so that I could continue to work with software which I had already bought and paid for.

    The one-off ’emergency code’ which they offered as an interim replacement would have expired long before the ‘replacement’ iLok could have possibly been delivered. Fortunately I had /another/ iLok which I had been obliged to use with Another Version Of The Same Popular DAW. I was very lucky to get the broken iLok to work for long enough to transfer the license, but that was after many tries.

    I am currently stumbling along with the second iLok and praying fervently that /it/ doesn’t go belly-up, because if it does there’ll be effectively nothing I can do. I live for the day when I can afford a Mac and Logic, if for no other reason than that I can finally say goodbye to the iLok, hopefully forever.

    Of course, I will also be saying sayonara to software which I have already paid a bundle for, but I don’t even care about that any more. I just want to be able to sit down to a DAW with a reasonable expectation that I can continue working on it for the rest of the day, or even, ideally, to the end of the project.

    Are you listening, software manufacturers?

  13. Like many folks today, I often work on a laptop. And I move it from room to room, as convenient.
    A stubby protuberance to get bumped – or worse, to damage a USB port – is an absolute _deal-breaker_.

    I hope XILS Lab dumps iLok. The moment they do, they’ll have my cash for their PolyKB soft-synth – the most convincing and fresh-sounding VA I’ve ever heard.

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