Free custom timecode vinyl? Well kinda sorta…

I got a mail this morning that caught my eye, perhaps because of the Cloq Werks name and perhaps because it was all about vinyl.   Interest piqued, I dug a little deeper and found exactly what I had expected to. But rather than write a whole piece about timecode vinyl, I am instead going to write about the angle that they’ve taken.

Cloq Werks make custom control vinyl in a plethora of colours to work with Serato Scratch Live. I had to dig hard to find that reference, and it was only mentioned once on their Facebook page and only alluded to as “SL” in the email. Obviously, they’re being very careful not to lean too heavily on the established brand.

Their unique approach is this – because you bought the timecode licence when you bought the Scratch Live package, you’re entitled to have backup copies of that timecode that you already legally own. And Cloq Werks are quite happy to create and supply a backup of your timecodes – for free. You’re actually making a voluntary donation to them for their time and materials to safely backup the recording that you already own. They are not selling you the original timecode signal recording because you already own that. They go to great pains to stress that you’re not buying anything and they’re not selling anything. Allegedly. But I’m not a lawyer though.

Sounds like a plausible spin of the law, and they do seem to have done their research on this. The splash screen on the site lists legal statutes and even links to the scary RIAA as corroboration. Feels more like a leap of faith through a legal loophole than a legitimate thing though.

The “backups” as they’re described are available for donations of between $9.99 for a pair of black ones right up to $39.99 for a pair of white ones. But how do you feel about this? While Cloq Werks may well be exploiting a loophole, or even operating fully within the law for all I know, it doesn’t sit right with me that any money I might spend doesn’t go back to the developers of the original product. I know you really REALLY want those elusive and expensive Serato whites, but is it because you want white vinyl, or because you want SERATO white vinyl?

Given the wide ranging cross section of readers we have on here, is anyone qualified to comment on how legal this actually is?

  • Leon

    We thought long and hard about taking this approach with Dublights Vinyl. In the end we decided to try & work with the developers to deliver a product everyone could have faith in. At the very least, Serato told us that “reproducing timecode on vinyl in any way is prohibited”. My dark side tells me they should go for it. At the very least it may convince manufacturers to try and be easier to work with…

    • Their argument is quality. They rigidly control the manufacturing process to ensure that it all just works. If they licensed the timecode but offered no support then everyone could have a slice of the pie, but the market perception would be that Serato/Traktor is crap because it doesn’t track well.

  • chris

    I wouldn’t trust it. I once walked into a club in my neighborhood (on my night off). The guys that spin there are usually decent, but this DJ was trainwrecking all over the place. I go up to the booth and he was using Scratch Live’s internal mode. Why? Because he upgraded the software version of Serato and his “custom” (aka bootleg) timecodes didn’t work anymore. I quickly ran home, let him borrow some of my “proper” Serato vinyl, and the party was saved.

  • Looking shady that website….

  • Qoolee Kid

    $40 for white knock offs? i’ll just take a new pair of any of the performance series

  • Apparently they used to be called Timecodevinyl and they have a YouTube channel with a few videos on it (set up in 2009) which mentions an old website that no longer werks (ahem). I wonder if they started getting legal hassle and changed tact/name to avoid it?

  • Phatbob

    Leaving aside the legality aspect, it does look like this is just the TCV guys again, and having bought 4 white records from them a few years ago, I wouldn’t suggest anyone else waste their money, because they were shite.

    With Serato pressings, Serato’s own colours, and the new customs, there’s no need to go bootleg.

  • TJ

    It’s also a bit like saying you can’t make or pay some one to make back up copies your now very large CD music files!!!

    I read this on another site
    One comment read like this:
    In short, it IS legal to make an “archival” copy of any DVD/CD content that you’ve legally purchased/acquired the rights to.

    The terms of use of the subject content is what you must adhere to.

    a look at a Microsoft Office or Win 7 DVD. It states: “Do NOT lend or
    make “ILLEGAL” copies of this disc”. It does NOT state that you cannot
    make a copy (a legal one~ as a rightful license owner)

    The key,
    is that a user adhere to the user license for/to the software/content
    that he/she purchases the right(s) to, and protecting it from illegal

    Make a copy, and keep (archive) it safely
    stored away, and not only are you insuring your continued rights to the
    content but making a prudent decision in protecting your right
    by webserf – 6/8/12 7:12 PM

  • Joe Z

    I have 3 pairs of TCV Vinyl (Cloq Werks Now). I bought a whole bunch from them when legalities stopped them. But I was following them on FB and they literally just changed their name. They stuff IS actually legit. The vinyls are pretty good, great colors that you cant find anywhere else (Pure While, Purple, Dark Red, and Glow in the dark before Serato came out with it).

    I had a problem with 2 of them having the spindle whole being too big, but I think they got that fixed by now. Take it for what it counts, but just thought I would give out my impression. All the features work, decent vinyls, dont have a problem with tracking, sound, etc. Ill try the new performance Serato Vinyl soon and see if there’s really a difference.

    • mrpopinjay

      Please do reply with a comparison 🙂

  • TCV are once again trying to manipulate the loopholes to profit from the work of Serato. The control vinyl collectors (yes, we exist) frown upon the bootleg CV market. These guys have done shoddy work from the start and are continuing to do so. They were forced to close up shop by Serato once before and I see history repeating itself.

    Here is the legalese:
    “Copyright information

    The Serato Control Tone, the audio pressed on Scratch Live Control
    Vinyl and the Control CDs, is copyright Serato Audio Research.

    Control CD download is licensed for personal use only. The creation of
    personal backups of the Control CD is allowed, however duplicating
    Control CDs for commercial benefit is strictly prohibited.

    For avoidance of doubt the duplication or creation of Control Vinyl for any use is strictly prohibited.”


  • kryptonite

    It’s a crock imo. I can only imagine if I put in the work to invent something like Serato or Traktor only to have someone steal something I created for their own personal gain. It would be one thing if they paid for the right to do it, but I’m sure that would take their price advantage out of the ball park. And as far as someone saying they are “legit” – you must not be talking about legally speaking. I have every regular Serato release and would love some of the colors they offer, but not at the expense of hurting Serato’s bottom line. Every dollar you spend on this instead of something legit is a $1 not being spent on R & D.

  • I think this is AMAZING! Good for them.

  • I’d rather get them direct from Serato/Rane. Mainly because I know they are going to work.
    I used a friends SicWax vinyls for a few minutes one night and hated them.

    Beyond that though I’d rather be supporting Rane/Serato. Especially when they have built their product in a way that means I’m not spending money continually for upgrades, tI’m happy for them to take my money for vinyl.

  • LLCoolJeans

    What’s the point? Serato is cheaper/the same price.

  • Ryan Supak

    I hired a dubplate cutter to create some special Serato records with the control signal pitched down 12% a few years ago.

    It seems like it would be extremely straightforward, but the phrase “devil in the details” certainly applied here. It was a lot of effort to get it to truly work right.

  • Pingback: Free custom timecode vinyl? Well kinda sorta…UniqueSquared Pro Audio Blog()

  • i recall there have been laws around for quite some time that allow for archival “backup” copies to legally be made for any copyrighted material you’ve purchased. i tried to pull up a quick search but didn’t find precisely what i was looking for (most of the results were specific to libraries), but if i recall you’re only allowed one copy per. however, the law i’m thinking of is about as old as i am… i’m not fully certain that it’s still valid or if it’s been rewritten or overruled by any new laws.

    i suppose i don’t really see a problem here… but i’d be greatly concerned with quality, and since the cost of genuine Serato vinyl isn’t much more… i’d much rather give my money to Serato than a copy service.

  • Dub-Se7en

    Wonder if they’d press me some FS2 Vinyls?

    • You mean provide a backup of the Traktor timecode audio file that you already own? 😉

      • Dub-Se7en

        yes… a backup…copy..that i could buy… er i mean donate… to have sent to me 😉

  • It would appear that the Cloq Werks site is down.

  • Seems pointless

  • Djsureshot

    Well a suggested “donation” is not the same as a sale and this is probably why they can get away with “charging” you for the CV. Frankly, I may as well purchase a set of real Serato CV at the suggested “donation” for the colored CV. I’ll just keep with the original please.

  • Pingback: Serato vinils offically spelted rong aka collectors items - Sunnylicious | Sunnylicious()

  • Pingback: Record Store Day and the timeless magic of vinyl - Sunnylicious | Sunnylicious()

  • Dj msv

    What was the point of going dj software any way wr already have cdjs that have platters that spin you can use cds usb drives or hard drives if you want to spin cds. Then we still have turntables if you still want to play vinyl cause every dj don’t spin the same music but they are trying hard us away from being creative. Now these companies want DJs to have licenses to play a certain song many times just plain dumb. DJs promote musical acts more while record companies owners sit on their asses and complain.

    • justpressplaythen

      because some of us old heads still prefer 12″ wax, not 9″ platters for manipulation of music.. and when was last time the latest tracks were cut to wax????