AnsweredDo we OWN our project files?

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azslow3
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2018/01/11 21:59:21 (permalink)

Do we OWN our project files?

In short. In case I will use the information from CWP file, in particular to open CWP files in Reaper, is that going to be legal?
 
In details.
We do NOT OWN CW software nor any part of it. And we are not allowed to RE/modify/etc. any bundled with Sonar code. That is in EULA and there is no questions about that part.
 
But WE OWN WAVS, MIDI, FLAC and other media files which Sonar produce. At the end, that is why we have payed for the license to use Sonar (plug-ins, etc). So we can do whatever we like with these files. We can use them in other DAWs, we can split them into bits, modify, sell, etc.
 
CWP files are also "media" files. They have the information how we have named out tracks, fade-in/fade-outs, automations, which settings we was using for the project and plug-ins, MIDI data, etc.
CWP files do not contain any CODE (at least it looks so).
CWP files are not "encrypted" (breaking any encryption is illegal).
 
But...
At least some "presets" from CW contain IP, as was mentioned in the forum before (f.e. FX chains from Craig).
There are many precedences that formats can be "protected" by something, f.e. mp3 not so long time ago.
 
So far, by deep Googling, I came to the conclusion that at least in Europe (and I am in Europe) file formats can not be patented. Restrictions can be on the DATA usage, but data in my case are solely made by users (using Sonar) directly or by Sonar on behalf of users. Restrictions can be on algorithms for using the data (like with mp3), but it seems like not the case with data in question.
 
But I am not a lawyer. In case someone has opinions (better with references...), please let me know.
 
As already discussed in several other threads, when a program development is stopped, people start to think about data preservation. While we can save WAVs and MIDI, there is a bit more information in our projects.

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Cactus Music
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/11 23:20:07 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ooblecaboodle 2018/01/17 13:08:25
Edit- Post was not correct answer.  
 
post edited by Cactus Music - 2018/01/17 18:11:12

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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/11 23:24:30 (permalink)
More concerned about if can I open a Sonar Project in a couple of years so I can at the very least do an export. I don't want to see it deactivated.
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TheSteven
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/11 23:31:48 (permalink)
I assume for a number of reason that we own our own project files.
But I don't get the reason for your post - it doesn't  much matter unless you can open them in other DAWs.
Owning the files is not the same thing as owning the format which is probably coperighted i.e. owning your own project files doesn't mean that Cakewalk is going to or is obligated to make the specification available.
 
The concept that some people hold about 'abandonware' has no legal standing - just because something is no longer sold or published doesn't mean it becomes public domain or negate the owner's rights (not considering copyright expiration dates).  
 

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sharke
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 00:27:20 (permalink) ☼ Best Answerby azslow3 2018/01/12 07:51:44
I'm gonna presume that you're looking into ways of harvesting the data from the CWP files so that you can recreate projects in Reaper? In other words, you're thinking about reverse engineering them? 
 
I guess it depends on whether CWP is a proprietary format or an open format? I suspect it's a proprietary format, and the details of it are unpublished. But while that might mean Cakewalk (or Gibson or whomever) could theoretically launch a legal challenge against you, I think there are probably enough legal precedents established that they wouldn't bother. In other words, the courts would probably deem it "fair use." 
 
You have to ask how, for example, OpenOffice is able to read and write .xls files despite .xls being a proprietary Microsoft format. Did OpenOffice get express permission? Do they pay a royalty? I don't think so. Have Microsoft tried to sue them? Definitely not. 
 
Would I release a program which converted CWP files into Reaper files, and charge money for it? Probably not. But I'm sure if you released a free app to convert the files, nobody would bother you. 

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bitflipper
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 01:41:28 (permalink)
I still own all my old WordStar files, for all the good that does me. Although they do keep the WordPerfect files company in a shoebox full of floppies I can't read.
 
Which is not to make light of the OP's question. Though unlikely, the worst-case scenario is you cannot open CWP files at some point in the future. Best way to prepare for that would be to render all your projects to wave files.
 
Whether or not you own your project files is a moot point. You're not going to put them up on eBay. Nobody is going to sue you over them, any more than Borland is coming after me for my Turbo Pascal code.
 
Oh, and if you're thinking of reverse-engineering the project files, forget it. I've tried, with only limited success. There have been many different versions of the file format over the years, details hidden from users but that make it hard to figure out what's what in there.


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michael diemer
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 03:49:01 (permalink)
I think it's a good idea also to save midi files. Also, make sure to save your vsti configurations, so you can load them into your project in another DAW.  If you save wave, midi and vsti's, you will pretty much have your project as it was in Sonar. At least I think this is true. the more knowledgeable folks here will correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 07:50:11 (permalink)
Automation envelopes. Unfortunately that's a huge part of the mix you can't export. 

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azslow3
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 08:26:25 (permalink)
First of all, thanks for the answers.
 
Cactus Music
Hate to say this way, not meaning to sound nasty,, just a gut reaction,,  but your wasting a lot of brain cells worrying about nothing.

I know But that is quite some fun to refresh my old RE skills...
 
TheSteven
But I don't get the reason for your post - it doesn't  much matter unless you can open them in other DAWs.

Let say I am quite close to be able open them in other DAW...
 

Owning the files is not the same thing as owning the format which is probably copyrighted i.e. owning your own project files doesn't mean that Cakewalk is going to or is obligated to make the specification available.
 
The concept that some people hold about 'abandonware' has no legal standing - just because something is no longer sold or published doesn't mean it becomes public domain or negate the owner's rights (not considering copyright expiration dates).

The specification can be "deducted". I am not requesting anything from Cakewalk. Also I do not try to intrude Sonar. The file structure is probably copyrighted, but so are books and scores. That does not prevent you to read them. There there can be other implications for contained information use  (f.e. scores do not give you the right to play that music without extra fees), but the information in CWP is as yours as WAVs and MIDIs.
 
sharke
I'm gonna presume that you're looking into ways of harvesting the data from the CWP files so that you can recreate projects in Reaper? In other words, you're thinking about reverse engineering them? 

This.
 

I guess it depends on whether CWP is a proprietary format or an open format? I suspect it's a proprietary format, and the details of it are unpublished. But while that might mean Cakewalk (or Gibson or whomever) could theoretically launch a legal challenge against you, I think there are probably enough legal precedents established that they wouldn't bother. In other words, the courts would probably deem it "fair use." 

Reading (more cryptic then CWP and for me in "foreign" language) courts outcomes, that is how I have interpreted them
 

Would I release a program which converted CWP files into Reaper files, and charge money for it? Probably not. But I'm sure if you released a free app to convert the files, nobody would bother you.

Probably I will release the result as not open source donationware. But I have not decided yet.
Related project (AATranslator) is far from "free".
 
bitflipper
Oh, and if you're thinking of reverse-engineering the project files, forget it. I've tried, with only limited success. There have been many different versions of the file format over the years, details hidden from users but that make it hard to figure out what's what in there.

I normally try to avoid steeling peoples time by just creating a buzz... The format is not obvious at first, but once you understand its logic, it is not so difficult to extract the information. Also X+Platinum is what I target, any interface related parts are not relevant and I do not think the core had many changes, Platinum files till some degree can be opened in older versions.
 
sharke
Automation envelopes. Unfortunately that's a huge part of the mix you can't export.

FX chains, synth settings. Possible to save in each VST separately and reconstruct after, but boring and error prone. And many other details which can take time to put back in place. All that can be avoided in case "just open" can work.
Sure there are many things which can not be converted, ProChannel, RegionFX, not sure about step sequencer, not sure about AudioSnap.
 

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pwalpwal
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 10:27:29 (permalink)
do it until you're legally challenged and then stop doing it, seems to be the modern way

just a sec

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subtlearts
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 10:47:19 (permalink)
I suspect that even if there is strictly speaking some legal fine print somewhere in the EULA to discourage tinkering with the project files to work out a way to extract meaningful information from them, it's on pretty thin legal ground. If you create a piece of software that doesn't actually alter any Sonar code, that doesn't even alter the CWP file, just reads it (which we do, legally, every time we open one in Sonar) and outputs another file that can be opened in another DAW, what have you done? You haven't altered any file the EULA prohibits you from altering. And the code you write is yours, not theirs. 
 
If you were using tons of Cakewalk branding to piggyback off of their marketing in order to sell shedloads of a commercial product, then there would be a case to be made against you, but I think it's pretty clear that's neither the reality nor the intention of what you're doing.  
 
So do we 'own' our project files? That's an interesting question and while I'm not a legal expert, I suspect a strong case could be made that we do, at least substantially. As you touch on above, what about a WAV file or an MP3 that I create of my own composition... I don't own the file format, but I definitely *do* own the intellectual property contained in the file; even if extracting that information requires software that I do not own the rights to. If ownership of the file format implied ownership or legal rights pertaining to the contents, the file format owner could make a claim on all IP of anything stored in that format. What if I store it in multiple formats? Who owns it then?
 
If I sell you a bottle, I cannot then claim that anything you put in that bottle is mine. If I try to put that in the EULA of the bottle which you agree to by using it, and then try to defend that right in court, how do you think it will go? At the end of the day, we *have* to own the rights to the contents of our media files, regardless of who created or who owns the file format, because otherwise the entire edifice of copyright and IP law is rendered meaningless. 
 
azslow3
The specification can be "deducted".

 
At the risk of being pedantic, the word you're looking for here is 'deduced'... 'deducted' means something a little different. 

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pwalpwal
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 10:51:08 (permalink)
fwiw, i don't consider the cwp format a "media" file as such, more a "media metadata" file, or "project" file, although i suppose that as it embeds any project midi into the cwp it could be considered such

just a sec

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pwalpwal
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 10:52:33 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby jude77 2018/01/15 17:42:53
if i ever need a reverse-engineer, i'll be pming azslow3
 

just a sec

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azslow3
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 10:53:09 (permalink)
pwalpwal
do it until you're legally challenged and then stop doing it, seems to be the modern way

That is dangerous approach. If the module is not "free", there will be limited numbers of it and so the situation can be clarified by a small fee pro instance to whoever claim some rights (it can be that CW is using some 3d party library for CWP and so the call can be from other company...)
But in case it is public and spread, someone can "get me".
 
I mean it seems like I am able to help people transfer own projects. And it is fun for me to do so. But I do not want cross any borders by doing that.

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pwalpwal
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 11:16:37 (permalink)
your translator app sits outside sonar, and so long as its use requires a licensed sonar to be installed i reckon you're good to go, please do studio one translator first!
(how do apps like chicken translator handle this stuff?)

just a sec

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pwalpwal
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 11:18:41 (permalink)
and fwiw, all these "borders" are still being defined in the digital world, law is so slow to catch up, just go for it, "be an innovator!"
 

just a sec

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azslow3
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 12:09:09 (permalink)
subtlearts
If I sell you a bottle, I cannot then claim that anything you put in that bottle is mine. If I try to put that in the EULA of the bottle which you agree to by using it, and then try to defend that right in court, how do you think it will go? At the end of the day, we *have* to own the rights to the contents of our media files, regardless of who created or who owns the file format, because otherwise the entire edifice of copyright and IP law is rendered meaningless. 

I have not found any statements about any output files in CW EULA. But ...
 

azslow3
The specification can be "deducted".

At the risk of being pedantic, the word you're looking for here is 'deduced'... 'deducted' means something a little different.

You are correct about my knowledges in (not computer) languages
 
Ownership and other laws, patents are copyrights not always follow common logic. Remember drying a cat in microwave, "too hot coffee", etc.
And in the software world, patents for mouse double-clicking, representing any process by an icon on computer screen, etc.
For you bottle example... there was Flash format with fancy EULA.

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azslow3
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 12:14:55 (permalink)
pwalpwal
your translator app sits outside sonar, and so long as its use requires a licensed sonar to be installed i reckon you're good to go, please do studio one translator first!

Studio One is out of equation. Reaper is friendly for such translators while Studio One is not.
AAtranslator can work with Reaper and Studio One, but no FX and no MIDI.

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mettelus
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 12:24:35 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby azslow3 2018/01/12 13:38:48
The ProjectScope utility already drills into the cwp's and no one had a cow about it. It is a simple utility to assist users. The ability to import those into other DAWs (and even a repair utility for those who have had cwp's go bad) would be wonderful.
 
One of the ways Word put WordPerfect out of business was to import wpd files, so there are numerous precedents. The actual "damage" was that Word was given away for free until MS annihilated the competition.
 
Bottom line to legal action is that a company is only going to pursue damage mitigation or loss of revenue (neither of which apply). If they cannot get a dime from you (if you don't sell it, there is no claim against you) and you are not damaging their product (which they already publicly bailed on), then they are not going to spend millions in legal fees to recoup nothing. Also in such a setting, a company who has proven no corporate ethics with conduct, you would come off like a saint for providing a free service to benefit customers who were abandoned.

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ronkenobi
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 13:00:14 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby pwalpwal 2018/01/12 13:38:24
Im the owner of cakewalk Platinum
The Info in splat shows me that.

And im the owner of all my projects
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azslow3
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 13:51:38 (permalink)
mettelus
Bottom line to legal action is that a company is only going to pursue damage mitigation or loss of revenue (neither of which apply). If they cannot get a dime from you (if you don't sell it, there is no claim against you) and you are not damaging their product (which they already publicly bailed on), then they are not going to spend millions in legal fees to recoup nothing. Also in such a setting, a company who has proven no corporate ethics with conduct, you would come off like a saint for providing a free service to benefit customers who were abandoned.

A good point.

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MandolinPicker
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 16:18:17 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby donbelisle 2018/01/12 16:47:17
This might be of interest to you. Its called ProjectScope and it was developed by Mark Adamczyk. It is a browser that shows all of the information within the Sonar Project file.
 

 
The program is free. You can find it at http://adamczyk.com/miscellaneous-files
 
Hope that helps!!


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Grem
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:04:40 (permalink)
Interesting question azslow3. At first didn't think much of it, but once I understood what your really asking...Good point.
 
As some here have stated, the new digital world we live in the laws have not kept up. And once you move out into the international world, it gets even more complicated.
 
I side with the "you own your IP no matter what container is holding it" camp. And I believe that fair use would come into play.
 
But in the end, it would take a court of law to make all this speculation legal and binding.

Grem

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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:25:53 (permalink)
Someone help me out here. I obviously don't understand what people are talking about here. I'm able to open a project from Sonar in Reaper, I just export the sonar as a midi file, and import it into reaper. I have to do a lot of configuring of synths, midi routing etc, but it's very doable. So what exactly is different about what's being discussed here?

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#24
Cactus Music
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:29:49 (permalink)
Ya sorry for my first answer, I should have realized who was asking it and why. Now I see and it is worth wasting brain cells on.. a fare few too. 
 
At worst if your worried about being busted, stay underground. There already some of that happening here that I'm sworn to secrecy about so cannot even hint. We have a huge member list. 
 
Or another idea might be PM Noel and just ask him what he thinks. They might say it's a great idea thank you.
 

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sharke
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:35:14 (permalink)
Such an app to translate to Reaper files would be marvelous. I imagine a dialog where you'd locate the CWP file, check some boxes to specify which elements of the project file you wish to be reproduced, and then provide a name for the Reaper file. Simples! 

James
Windows 10, Sonar SPlat (64-bit), Intel i7-4930K, 32GB RAM, RME Babyface, AKAI MPK Mini, Roland A-800 Pro, Focusrite VRM Box, Komplete 10 Ultimate, 2012 American Telecaster!
#26
foldaway
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:37:25 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby mettelus 2018/01/12 17:48:32
@azslow3
I've also been considering this.
 
Here's a link to article 6 of the EU directive (2009/24/EC) on the legal protection of computer programs.
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=208108#LinkTarget_129
 
So, as you're in the EU it would be perfectly legal to reverse engineer the .cwp file format & (if I'm reading the directive correctly) the sonar binary, with the purpose of creating a tool to allow interoperability. eg. conversion to another file format.
 
You would also be free to sell such a tool in the EU.  Not sure about the US though.
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sharke
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 17:44:35 (permalink)
michael diemer
Someone help me out here. I obviously don't understand what people are talking about here. I'm able to open a project from Sonar in Reaper, I just export the sonar as a midi file, and import it into reaper. I have to do a lot of configuring of synths, midi routing etc, but it's very doable. So what exactly is different about what's being discussed here?




There is so much to a Sonar project than just MIDI, or audio for that matter. The configuring of synths and routing is just part of it. Then you have automation envelopes, clip edits, clip based FX, fades and probably a whole bunch of other stuff I'm not thinking of. 
 
Even exporting audio stems doesn't give you the full picture with your audio clips. Many of your audio clips will have been trimmed from a larger clip, and the trimmed data is still there if you drag the edge of the clip out to reveal it. I will often go back to clips and readjust the trim points to reveal or hide more of the underlying clip - obviously if you bounce the whole track to a stem, these trim points (and everything beyond them) are lost. 
 
I've had to recreate full projects within Sonar itself, and even that was incredibly time consuming. In software, anything that is automatable should be automated. Any app which speeds up the process would be a boon. 

James
Windows 10, Sonar SPlat (64-bit), Intel i7-4930K, 32GB RAM, RME Babyface, AKAI MPK Mini, Roland A-800 Pro, Focusrite VRM Box, Komplete 10 Ultimate, 2012 American Telecaster!
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michael diemer
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 18:17:42 (permalink)
I see. Thanks that helps. My use of Sonar is not very deep, so I don't have these issues. Funny, I compose for full orchestra, with many instruments, but it's all midi and the FX are quite basic. Just interested in halfway decent mockups, really. But most folks are doing audio, or audio plus midi, and are much deeper into the software than I ever go. So a handful of instruments can be way more complex than what I do with an entire orchestra.
 
That's what is so amazing about Sonar. We can all do what we need to do with it. Such a deep, versatile program. How can they pull the plug on it? There has to be a way to save it.

michael diemer
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#29
Musikman
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Re: Do we OWN our project files? 2018/01/12 18:33:52 (permalink)
This is interesting. Good thing is most of my projects are all audio, very little MIDI.  However, I've just been working on getting all my old cwb bundle files converted to cwp project files. I figure that way at least I'll have all the audio separate and I can re-create the project in another DAW. After it's converted I've tried importing one of the audio wav files out of a Sonar project file into a track in Mixcraft, and it imported just fine.
 
The problem I'm seeing ahead is that although it gives me the audio, it does not place it in the same spot on the timeline as it was in the original Sonar project. So that means I'll preserve the audio, but won't have any way of knowing exactly where on the timeline it starts and stops. So as far as I can tell it will be guesswork for that part, unless anyone here has an solution for that? Appreciate any suggestions! Thanks
MM

Sonar Platinum, Win10 Pro 64bit, AMD FX 6300 6 Core, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9-380
#30
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