POCALOID (also known as POKALOID) was the name of cracked versions of the VOCALOID software that allow unlimited use without purchase. The cracked version of VOCALOID3 goes under the name of "VOCALOID3 ASSiGN Edition" rather than "POCALOID", but will still be detailed here as well.
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.
While there are other illegal variants of the software, POCALOID is arguably the most known illegal form of the VOCALOID software. POCALOID was released by "TEAM ASSiGN", based from the original VOCALOID software. Due to the popularity of the original "POCALOID" version, it has also been used as a name to refer to illegal Vocaloid in general.
POCALOID is the combination of Peace-out and VOCALOID (TEAM ASSiGN was formerly called TEAM Peace-Out).
ASSiGN chose to crack VOCALOID1 and VOCALOID2 as a "call" to Yamaha to correct their software's flaws, which they claim causes problems even to legitimate users. They made 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. In contrast, recent cracking of VOCALOID3 and even VOCALOID4 contains a disclaimer message. This message discourages 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.
ASSiGN released VOCALOID3 Legacy Libraries Bundles that compiled all known VOCALOID2 voicebanks and installed it en masse. For VOCALOID3 they released it under the name "VOCALOID3 ASSiGN Edition" (V3AE). Another variant exists, called "VOCALOID3 Free Edition" (V3FE), released by an unrelated group. The softwares contain all the known functions of the VOCALOID3 Editor. 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. Cracking of VOCALOID4 soon followed, exclusively under the FE banner.
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 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.
Some editions of POCALOID can be harder to determine than others. Typical signs of POCALOID are the 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.
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 unestablished 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 then 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.
V3AE's interface is a lot less obvious 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.
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.
It is also a common tactic to download a POCALOID version of a voicebank, or a trial version as a means of trying out the voicebank to see if it is worth purchasing. However, this does not make it any less illegal especially for vocals that do not otherwise have a trial version available.
Though many are using the software to obtain the Japanese VOCALOIDs, the line is not drawn here and at the same time English VOCALOIDs have also been the target of POCALOID cracking as well. This, despite the fact the English VOCALOIDs are much easier to purchase than their Japanese counterparts for westerners and in a number of cases may even sold at a much cheaper price. Prior to the alternative discovery of how to make a Japanese interface English, Prima was also a heavy target for POCALOID users wanting their software in English as installing would alter the interface into the English version.
As of VOCALOID3 and beyond, Japanese VOCALOIDs can now be purchased via the VOCALOID Store, removing the common excuse about region locking and VOCALOIDs can be purchased here instead. Furthermore, fans have discovered ways and means to get around the problem with limited access to some of the older VOCALOIDs, as well as the new ones. To date, most VOCALOIDs can be legally bought from various 3rd party websites even without visiting the VOCALOID Store.
One of the most well known cases of heavy usage is Galaco. 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 are often amongst the easiest to identify of the illegal VOCALOID versions. Even if these are not taken into consideration, Galaco winners can be easily looked up on Nico Nico Douga. It was also known that individuals had entered the competition just to obtain her for cracking. Since the release of the commercial version of Galaco, POCALOID identification by Galaco's usage is much harder, if not impossible.
Rana faced a similar situation. 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 and not that common and are actually much harder to tell from illegible users of her software due to the difficulty they face at times in proving actual legal ownership. 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. And likewise, once the commercial release occurred it became much harder to tell a Pocaloid user.
In Feb 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 personnel blogs were not included within the results.
Alternatives to POCALOIDEdit
One argument against the use of POCALOID is also that UTAU exists and is legally able to be downloaded without any security problems or the legal implications that POCALOID carries with its use. Unlike POCALOID, users will also have to seek out advice if software difficulties are encountered, the fandom will not shun the use of UTAU and all VOCALOID fandoms will support it indefinitely. UTAU is also free, downloadable from a legitimate source, and usage is not only encouraged by fans but supported by studios like Crypton Future Media. Two other free voice synthesizers that are suitable for singing are Sinsy and AquesTone. Sinsy in particular added English capabilities in December 2012.
There are 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.
- "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".
- Legal Implications for more details.