ForumsSoftware ← Aalto license transfer

Sorry if this is covered somewhere already, but I couldn't find the answer: Is it possible to transfer an Aalto license?

Thanks Randy!


Hi Brendan,

Sorry, I don't do license transfers. I have a very unobtrusive demo version, and I advise people to try before they buy. Please see the License Terms section on the Aalto page for all the details.

[EDIT March 2017] NOTE: This conversation is from 2013! Currently license transfers are allowed for a small service fee. Please contact me for details.


It's not as if I didn't demo it properly. My wanting to sell it has nothing to do with me purchasing without spending enough time with the demo version, and it's not as if I've had it for a week and already want to get rid of it - I've had it since September of 2011. As most people have at least once or twice during their lives, money is ridiculously tight right now, and with my girlfriend being due for our first babygirl this July, I have been trying to "trim the fat" anywhere I can.
Rather than digging through the fine print, I just asked the question here. Now I've got my answer. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my Q.


On another note: I absolutely LOVE the new t-shirts! Beautiful design.

Hi Brendan,

I remember seeing your username but I didn't look you up to see if you were an existing customer or what. So, please don’t take my comments personally at all.


I hope that I can express an opinion on this....

I have not intention to sell Aalto at all, and I love the way that the soundplane works with it.

But I hope that you can reconsider this policy. I can understand from the manufacturer's point of view that this is a pain, and I'm sure that license agreement prohibits it, etc. I suppose that you've considered all of the reasons pro and con, so I won't get into all of that. I just think that if I buy a product (whether it's a car, a hardware synth, or some software) I should be able to sell it.

Just my opinion. Hope you don't take it the wrong way.

I have no problem having this discussion.

My main reason is, I have no way, no technological means by which to take Aalto away from anybody! This is the flip side of my lack of copy protection, which I think is a huge benefit to my customers.

So... let’s say Joe customer enjoys his personalized copy of Aalto for a year, then decides he’s not using it much. So he sells it to fund some other plugin purchase. Joe tells me about the sale and so I assign a license to Bob who he sold it to. But Joe still has his own, watermarked copy. I have no way to mess with or inspect Joe’s hard drive or take his software away from him, because I want to spend my time writing DSP algorithms, not bullshit to get in Joe’s way. So now I am trusting Joe to never, ever use his software again.

So I think the analogy with a car is not good. If I could buy a car, copy it and sell that copy to whoever I wanted, retaining a perfectly functioning copy, very soon cars would not be worth much.

And then there’s support. Say Joe is a power user of Aalto while he has it, and asks a lot of questions. (Answering questions is how I spend an hour or two every morning.) Now after a year Joe sells Aalto to Bob, and Bob, whom I now have the responsibility to support, now asks a whole bunch of questions as he learns his way around. But this time I'm not getting anything in return for helping him. And the more this happens, the more people I have to support who aren’t supporting me.

Besides, when doing support I don't want to have to keep track of who is a licensed user and who is not. I just kind of want to answer everyone’s questions if I can. I answer questions if you haven't bought the software yet, and it seems dumb that after buying and selling it again, you would get worse support than if you never had bought it at all.

Support is a major deal to me, and in a sense I think it’s the main thing you are buying when you get a license: the relationship where you can ask me things. So I think it’s not fair for Joe to sell my services to Bob, without giving me anything in return!

I think I give good support, and having no copy protection to get in anyone’s way is something I'm also proud of. If I let people resell their licenses, I'm afraid it would hurt my ability to provide value to my good customers in these other areas.

I understand, and I don't think it's entirely a simple issue.

I suppose that maybe I believe that the majority of users are honest. How many people would really sell their copy and then ask for support?

I think that in reality (forget the legalese) one buys software and owns it, and it just isn't right to forbid transfer of its ownership. But I do appreciate the fact that you don't use annoying methods of copy protection, etc. Maybe there isn't a good solution.

Thanks for understanding-- it is not simple. In the end I think a lot of devs/business owners, me included, go with their gut on a lot of decisions like this. Personally, I have never considered returning a software product I bought or transferring it to someone else, so setting up the infrastructure to transfer licenses was not a priority for me. Having more data might influence my decision.

I think that in reality (forget the legalese) one buys software and owns it, and it just isn't right to forbid transfer of its ownership.

In my version of reality, owning anything only comes about as a result of agreements between people, which is fundamentally the same thing as “legalese.” But this gets pretty deep pretty fast. :-)

yeah - I appreciate your undefensive discussion of this...

I'd also say that on my end (I have sold software quite a few times in the past) it is also a 'gut' thing.

I owned tons of softsynths at one point - a rather sizeable investment. At some point in time I realized that (with very few exceptions) I simply didn't like doing synthesis on a computer, and I sold virtually all of it (with all necessary permission, of course). I also sold off quite a bit when I moved from windows to mac, etc.

So, my gut is that it simply should be permitted. While this might be apocryphal, I recall hearing that in some countries (I recall Germany) it is a legal requirement that the sale of a license be allowed. Forgive me if this is a false recollection....

On the other hand, Aalto (and the soundplane) are very reasonably priced, great products, and I have no complaints, so I am very far removed from being annoyed or inconvenienced. But I'd encourage you to reconsider at some point.

You're correct, in the EU:

This document states the software author cannot stop resale:

See Judgement:

But since Randy doesn't like it... I wouldn't do it.

Here are the KVRAudio rules:

They also state that if a software company says not to, be nice and don't do it.

Your choice

Well that’s interesting news. I will have to reconsider my policy, at least when doing business in the EU. I don’t have time to absorb everything now but will take a look in the future.

I wonder though, how this affects, say, iPad apps. You can’t transfer them, right? So, are they all illegal in the EU?

I imagine nobody would bother to resell a $4.99 app, but then, I did not imagine anyone would want to resell an Aalto license.

My take is that buying software is payment for ideas and it's more like restaurant food in the grand scheme of things.

Hi Randy

Sorry for the "bump" on this thread, but i'm in a similar situation.

I've switched to a DAW that do not even support VST or AU. Aalto is a great plugin, but i can't use it anymore. I see that it isn't "allowed" to resell the license (or at least not fair), but what about giving it back to you? (don't stop reading :]) Not for the whole amount! I don't want the money, just spend it to a non-profit association like or can't check if i really delete Aaalto (it is already uninstalled), that is a problem, but you can delete my user account or remove the download option. I mean, no one buys a user account with nothing in there.

Just spend the amount you think and i will never ever ask you again about a license transfer. :D

Kind regards (from Germany),

Hi Sebastian,

This is an interesting idea, maybe a donation could be made in the name of anyone who wants to "return" Aalto after some time has gone by. When I have time to do something I want to consider all the ideas I can to make sense of this situation.

Meanwhile I have donated 1/2 an Aalto to, a group working for internet freedom and government transparency.

all the best,

Hi Randy

Great. I wasn't sure if you like the idea. Don't forget to remove the download from my account. :)

All the best,

Ive got a similar question (I think):

I got locked out of my hotmail address, that I used when I got my license, and wasn't able to log back in at all, so basically anything sent to that address is as good as gone to me...

Is there some way to set the address to my new email, without buying another license? My copy of Aalto is up to date currently, but any future updates will basically be inaccessible to me...

If, worst case scenario, I have to get a new license, I'll be happy to, love Aalto so much any support I can return, I'll do so gladly. Just wanted to see if theres a simple solution first. :)

If you already have an account you don't need your email to log in to the Madrona site. Just log in with your username / password, and then you can change your email in the "My Account" settings.

If that doesn't work, email me at and I will help you sort it out.