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POCALOID (also known as POKALOID) was the name of cracked versions of the VOCALOID software that allow unlimited use without purchase. Due to the popularity and of the "POCALOID" name itself, the legacy of the name has led it to become synonymous in referring to any illegal Vocaloid regardless of what version it is.
Note: This Wikia will not give links to the software or post the names of sites and forums that do allow this out of respect for the companies. For users who wish to buy the legit software see "Where to buy VOCALOIDs" at Vocaloid Otaku forums.
Pocaloid2 and other illegal versions gained much fame in the early 2007-2009 period when Vocaloid was on the rise to fame. Western users in particular often wanted Vocaloids but could not always gain access to them. This led to a demand for easier-to-access versions, or free versions to try out the software without a commitment, particularly as support of the software was weaker at the time for western fans. Despite the existence of English versions, they were at the time lesser known than their Japanese cousins. They were also considered less "attractive" when they were known, due to the more cute and youthful vocals of the Japanese Vocaloids and the larger support for the version, so were less likely to even be sought after during the period.
Illegal versions of the software have been regarded over time as a taboo by fans and a cause of moral divide among communities. For example, the forum "Vocaloid Otaku forums" is "neutral" in regards to the software neither condemning its usage but not being seen to support it. Others like the Vocaloid wikia itself, cannot link or be seen to support it or producers who use it due to its status as both a wikia and promotional stance on Vocaloid itself, as pages can be pulled without notice by companies and producers if they do. Others do not shy from supporting the software and show no special circumstances from linking or talking about it. Sites like YouTube have harder to maintain circumstances leading Pocaloid to appear more often, but sites like DeviantArt openly pull illegal software downloads. Originally, there was no deterrent to using it and less outrage by fans, so between 2007-2009 usage without consequences were common. Even the teams behind the cracking did not always deter its download and usage and fans were often more encouraging to its usage. As the Vocaloid franchise grew both in user numbers and fans the attitude altered with the growing fanbase. This was particular as the consequences of illegal versions existing became more known and their impact on Vocaloid itself more acknowledged. The later versions of VOCALOID3 and VOCALOID4 contain disclaimer messages, discouraging the usage of the illegal version for commercial usage, while encouraging support for the software developers by actually purchasing the original version of the software in question.
Earlier versions were also known to cause problems with legit copies of VOCALOID. V3AE and V3FE, as well as V4FE, have been found to store data in different areas of the Windows Registry, theoretically allowing it to coexist with legal versions.
- Legal Implications for more details.
While there are other illegal variants of the software, POCALOID2 is arguably the most known illegal form of the VOCALOID software. POCALOID2 was released by "TEAM ASSiGN", based from the original VOCALOID2 software.
POCALOID is the combination of Peace-out and VOCALOID (TEAM ASSiGN was formerly called TEAM Peace-Out). ASSiGN chose to crack VOCALOID and VOCALOID2 as a "call" to Yamaha to correct their software's flaws, which they claim causes problems even to legitimate users, though some some of these issues were later addressed by Yamaha.
The software contains additional modifications from the original to supposedly 'improve' the VOCALOID experience. Due to these claimed improvements some producers are enticed to use POCALOID instead in spite of risks of indignation.
POCALOID has a different splash screens, which often display fanart instead of the normal VOCALOID splash screen. The interface may look different, such as a wood-like background behind icons such as the pen tool (instead of the background-less VOCALOID2 interface). POCALOID also carries the software title of "POCALOID" and a tiny picture of a VOCALOID character for its icon.
VOCALOID3 ASSiGN EditionEdit
For VOCALOID3 they released it under the name "VOCALOID3 ASSiGN Edition" (V3AE). It has removed all security features—it will not deactivate after the trial period, its copy protection is also removed, and it does not require online activation. It has curiously expanded language files, containing localization data of the GUI for more languages. ASSiGN released VOCALOID3 Legacy Libraries Bundles that compiled all known VOCALOID2 voicebanks and installed it en masse.
Unlike the official version, all previous POCALOID2 voicebanks cannot be directly imported into V3AE and may require a second separate download for to obtain a V3AE version. For the official version, an import utility is provided for VOCALOID2 voicebanks.
V3AE's interface is a lot less obvious than POCALOID2 was and discovering individuals who have used it is much harder. The only way to reveal V3AE is through its startup splashcreen, a giveaway of its usage. The use of exclusive or limited time available voicebanks in VOCALOID3 can also prove the use of V3AE.
VOCALOID3 Free EditionEdit
Another variant exists, called "VOCALOID3 Free Edition" (V3FE), released by an unrelated group. The softwares contain all the known functions of the VOCALOID3 Editor.
VOCALOID4 Free EditionEdit
This was cracked soon after the release of VOCALOID4, and like the version before it, did away with security features. Some versions also modified Cross-synthesis to allow voicebanks to utilize XSY even though they were not designed for it.
Illegal Vocaloid and the "Fandom"Edit
Level of UsageEdit
It is unknown how many fans are using this version of the software. In the past, since Japanese VOCALOIDs are difficult to purchase by westerners due to region screening, shipping and limited importers, it is expected that the numbers are quite high. Many of the cover songs seen on YouTube using VSQ files commonly found within the fandom are thought to be made by users who have a version of POCALOID. Those who are seen using several VOCALOIDs, in particular ones that are known to be difficult to purchase, are suspected to be using POCALOID, particularly if no original works are seen from the user.
While some fans are indifferent on supporting Pocaloid users, others are not as mere usage was seen as morally wrong and avoid producers known to use it. Some editions of illegal VOCALOID can be harder to determine than others. Users often hide their POCALOID usage by not allowing the toolbar to be seen or never showing the VOCALOID interface in a video, as this will show that they are using POCALOID.
In the case of expansion packs such as Appends, they often work without having to own the original voicebank. This can also signify a use of POCALOID if they don't have access to the original voicebank.
Within Japan as well, POCALOID is sometimes suspected when relatively unknown or recent established producers are seen with a number of VOCALOIDs. Since VOCALOIDs are often not very cheap to purchase in the first place and most new producers start with just one or two vocals due to tight financial situations or lack of experience, having more vocals than expected can often catch attention. In most cases, this can be said to be a fairly reliable gauge for spotting illegal versions.
However, outside of Japan this is not such an easy factor and it is hard to determine the financial earnings of any producer. For producers who gain a VOCALOID very soon after its initial release (all software has to be exported from Japan, which takes time) or have far too many VOCALOIDs, especially ones that are harder to acquire, POCALOID is often suspected.
Common POCALOID VoicebanksEdit
Despite there already being Sweet Ann released for VOCALOID2, Prima was generally more popular for download as she was the more recently released vocal back in 2008 and therefore had more of a spotlight on her. Sweet Ann was a more obscure or unknown English vocal as she was released prior to Hatsune Miku's release and generally considered less appealing by those who did know her existence due to the voice and boxart. But these were not the sole reasons for users downloading her.
Prima was a heavy target for POCALOID2 users wanting their software in English. Installing her version would alter the interface into the English version. Users who did download her did not necessarily use her vocal as they were not really interested in obtaining the vocal, just the interface. However, Prima's version came with flaws due to its differences between it and existing Vocaloid2 and even the Pocaloid2 version at times encountered this problem. This led her vocal to obtain a reputation for taking out other Vocaloids and her vocal was notorious as a problem installation regardless of if it was legal or illegal.
She was often among the most commonly downloaded vocals during the VOCALOID2 version despite this. This became less common once methods of obtaining English versions legally were discovered and post VOCALOID3 the engine installed into English or Japanese during installation.
Due to their large fanbase and popularity, Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka and Kagamine Rin/Len, as well as Kaito and Meiko, have always been heavily downloaded. These six Vocaloids are among the most popular Vocaloids and most commonly known by name. This makes them a primary target for download compared to lesser known vocals.
One of the most well known cases of heavy usage is Galaco. It was known that individuals had entered the competition just to obtain her for cracking. Since one had to meet certain conditions to "win" her in a VOCALOID music contest, and due to the conditions needed to keep her active, spotting illegal uses of Galaco were are often among the easiest to identify of the illegal VOCALOID versions.
Even if these are not taken into consideration, Galaco winners were easily looked up on Nico Nico Douga since all the winners were listed there. So if the users name wasn't listed or they did not have a work that met the criteria, they were obviously using her version illegally.
There were reasons generally given as to why she is used;
- Since winners believed that they had earned the right to use her, they did not believe that they should loose her and she was theirs forever. This was a notable as an act of pride as often producers felt they had put a lot of a work into a piece or originally only entered to get the vocal due to its "exclusive" nature.
- Between the issues of her expiring codes, and the discontinuation of her prize version, there was some anger about the way things were handled about her. There were reports of some users grabbing her illegal version as a spite against the situation, but there were also others who did it to avoid the hassle the expiring licenses were creating.
- Since Galaco was essentially "free", some also did not see there being any harm in obtaining her for usage as they weren't "damaging sales". This made some believe they were not morally in the wrong for using her.
Since the release of the commercial version of Galaco, POCALOID identification by Galaco's usage is much harder, if not impossible unless the obvious flaws the original vocal had are not removed from vocal results.
Rana faced a similar situation to Galaco in regards to her licensing issues. Her original VOCALOID3 version was difficult to access by western fans due to the fact she could only be registered if you owned a Japanese mailing address and required purchase of all 30 issues of Vocalo-P ni Naritai to get the tickets from.
Though legit users did exist, they were not likely to be found among the overseas fans at the time. Some even cited Pocaloid downloads as "justified" if they happen to own all 30 issues of her magazine even if they could not register the tickets needed from each issue. Since the method to identify users was vague at best, since even with all 30 issues there was no way a user would be willing to unveil their Japanese mailing address due to security reasons to prove their legit ownership. However, others did exist who only owned one issue and felt justified in owning her fully, or who did not want to buy a magazine to obtain her.
As with Galaco, once the commercial release occurred it became much harder to tell a Pocaloid use of Rana's voicebanks.
February 2014 surveyEdit
In February 2014, a user at Vocaloid Otaku forums decided to see how many downloads of illegal VOCALOID were made. The final total result ranged within the thousands, with Vocaloid packages VY2v3 and Mayu being the highest and exceeding the 10,000 mark. The total number is likely higher since sites like Pirate Bay and personal blogs were not included within the results.
Multiple voicebank releases such as VOCALOID2 multi-packs were the most common versions downloaded illegally.
Alternatives to POCALOID?Edit
One argument against the use of POCALOID is also that there are a few notable free vocal synthesizers also around the net. They may be difficult to find and are not suitable for music, but with audio tuning software can be made to "sing". There are a number of ways to achieve results from such software, some may however not be used for commercial reasons so it is best to check the legal documentations for each synthesizer.
Examples of "free" software;
- UTAU - this is a free Vocaloid-like software which is heavily supported as an alternative to Vocaloid itself. Though mostly in Japanese, the fandom has produced thousands of voicebanks for the software. Though some are paid-releases, the majority are free. The software's development ended in 2013, though re-samplers and other plug-ins and mods continue to be released for the software.
- Sinsy - Sinsy is mostly a Japanese synthesizer, but also added English capabilities in December 2012. Mandarin was also added later.
- In 2015, Alter/Ego was also release by Plogue with several free-to-use voicebanks in English and Japanese. The software is a derivative software based on the commercially released "Chipspeech" software, also developed by Plogue.
- "POCALOID" is also one of several misspellings of the actual VOCALOID software. This is due to the fickleness of romanization of words from Japanese to English. Even though "VOCALOID" is commonly seen in Latin text, some users still translate directly from Japanese sources. This is also the same reason as why Kagamine Rin/Len get called "Kagamine Lin/Ren" and Megurine Luka "Megurine Ruca".