How to add copy protection to a software?

This is a discussion on How to add copy protection to a software? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Well, if its just a cd key then all they have to do is give their friend the cd key ...

  1. #16
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    Well, if its just a cd key then all they have to do is give their friend the cd key too, it needs soem online verification. An easy way is to associate teh hard drive serial number with teh cd key and only let it change once every 30 days or so. For this you need to have soem authentication server program runnign all the time.
    And of course, you will also need to give out your phone number, and be sitting near the phone all the time, and be ready to receive phone calls for activation, for people who use your program on computers without internet access.

  2. #17
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Copy protection is a scheme that is making a lot of people rich on a very bad idea. It infuriates your potential customer base, generates empathy for the pirates as the schemes become ever more intrusive and annoying, and wastes loads of capital the company could be using towards something else like improving the product or future development.

    I disagree that there are 3 types of people. It comes down to this. Either you are a paying customer or you are a thief. Every one of my 300 some games has a crack on the internet and some of the ones I want can be downloaded from the net and cracked in seconds. However I don't do this and I still go out to the stores and BUY my games.

    It's very simple folks. If you aren't a thief you don't steal it regardless of the ease of access. If you steal it for ANY reason.........then you are a thief.

    If you find a wallet with money in it in a Wal-Mart parking lot do you turn it in or do you keep it? You could keep it and no one would ever know or care (at least in your world) but that would be stealing. You could turn it in and yet the owner may never retrieve his/her money/property.
    However all of those are irrelevant to the issue of whether or not you are a thief. I believe it comes down to the principle of character. If you steal then it's my personal feeling that you have none.

    In short, ignore the copy protection stuff and the wasted resources it requires. Improve your product and deliver the best product you can to your customers and they will reward you with profits. Make them mad in an effort to protect yourself from those who never would have contributed to your profits in the first place and you will see your profit margin decrease and your name tarnished. Please don't alienate the very ones who would support your business.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 09-02-2008 at 08:05 PM.

  3. #18
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    It's very simple folks. If you aren't a thief you don't steal it regardless of the ease of access. If you steal it for ANY reason.........then you are a thief.
    The problem is that some people dont see copying software as stealing. The software I have made is targeted against people not are not very computer literate. For them to download something from a torrent site is out of the questions as they simply dont know how to. (they wanted a manual for my program, which has 3 buttons with text on them...)

    But, as they dont know anything about software, they most likely dont see the harm of giving their cd to someone else so they can get the software as well. For them its sort of just letting your fiend borrow your book or something like that.

    So I am going to have a cd-key for install (more for psychological reasons - This software only works with this key, and its yours) and checking for a file in the register(to stop people from being able to run the program without installing it)

  4. #19
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    > The problem is that some people dont see copying software as stealing.

    That's because it ISN'T stealing. Just like if I copied a book onto paper and put it on my bookshelf, that wouldn't be stealing either. The only reason its illegal is because the people who make the laws are interested in money and the economy.

  5. #20
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    It's not stealing, its copyright infringement. Big difference.

    We have been over this before on this board and basically the difference breaks down to the fact that when you are pirating software you arent depriving anyone of their legitimate use of said software. I'm not saying it isn't still morally dubious, but its not the same as stealing.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  6. #21
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    That's because it ISN'T stealing. Just like if I copied a book onto paper and put it on my bookshelf, that wouldn't be stealing either. The only reason its illegal is because the people who make the laws are interested in money and the economy.
    That's called plagiarism. Using another's ideas as your own. And yes it's also a form of stealing. You are stealing someone else's ideas.

    Call it what you want but it's stealing. Can you get the piece of software from the manufacturer without paying for it? The fact that it is digital media and not a physical CD-ROM or DVD is irrelevant. But you could not get a hold of the physical CD-ROM or the DVD without paying for it and so acquiring it by copying and/or downloading it when you haven't paid for it, and thus should not have access, is stealing.

    After talking to a lawyer about this, copyright infringement is a civil charge and stealing is a criminal charge. So theoretically if you download digital media that have not been payed for then you are both infringing on the copyright, possibly the patented code in the case of software, and you are stealing. Likely you will get hit with the copyright charge since the other two are harder to prove but you could get prosecuted for all three. And it has nothing to do with people who are just concerned about money and the economy. That is a stupid argument since everything we do revolves around money and the economy so who wouldn't be worried about money and the economy? Really dumb statement. The FBI could care less about your money - they just want you in jail because you broke the law.

    By no means are you lightening the moral issue here by just saying it's really not stealing. It's that and more. You can justify it any way you want in your own little world but in reality it boils down to stealing. Copyright laws are there to protect the company that publishes and/or authors the product. Somehow I have a feeling if it were your own company's bottom line that was being affected you would agree that it was stealing. Trust me if you tried to take one of my books and/or copy it illegaly and I had the means and resources to do so I would prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. You would be affecting my bottom line, my reputation, my name, and my future as a viable business.

    But in the end I still printed my books regardless if someone was going to steal them or not and I did everything in my power to print the best books possible for my customers. Making policies that would be inconvenient and annoying for my paying customers to attempt to make it more difficult for the thieves would have been financial suicide. Why inconvenience my paying customer base to address those that will steal regardless of what I do?
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 09-05-2008 at 05:10 PM.

  7. #22
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    I don't think you understood my post. I know it's called stealing in legalese, but it's not really stealing. And you can't steal ideas. You just can't.

    And I wasn't saying that because they were interested in the money and the economy that they were misguided. I wasn't trying to imply either way on that.

    And it's not plagiarism if you put the author's name on it.

  8. #23
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Legalese is a lot more precise than casual language. That's why it's so incomprehensible. If even legalese calls it stealing, then it most definitely is stealing.
    All the buzzt!
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    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  9. #24
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    Legally speaking, yes. Otherwise, no. And just because something is precise, doesn't mean it's right.
    Last edited by robwhit; 09-06-2008 at 12:54 PM.

  10. #25
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Stealing is taking away something that belongs to someone else, or that someone else is entitled to. That's a broad, casual definition. Do you disagree with it?
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  11. #26
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    In any case, if you want to secure your software with some sort of CD key or executable key, go ahead. I'd do that too probably. Wouldn't change anything but would make me feel better probably. Or probably not... it doesn't matter since the time and energy spent to implement such a mechanism is irrelevant.

    As been said already, however, anything more complicated than that will get you into trouble. Not only you spent a lot of time implementing a mechanism that is going to be easily defeated, you also helped pirates rise their socialite, and you made a few customers angry.

    ...

    It's really a strange world this we live in. Stardock, the makers of Galactic Civilizations I and II have delivered their games without any copy protection at all. GalCiv II was developed on a 1 million dollar budget and on the first month alone sold 300,000 copies. ~$30 times 300,000 = 9,000,000.

    That's 9 million in gross sales over a 1 million budget. And no copy protection. Why? Because they turn-based strategy games rock. And yet... guess what? They are criticized.

    http://forums.galciv2.com/106741
    http://forums.galciv2.com/104297

    Naturally they are criticized by the competition who wished they had 1/10th of their sales and criticized by the industry that fuels DRM.

    The guy behind Stardock says it all:
    "The question isn't about eliminating piracy, it's about increasing sales. It's about trying to make sure that people who would buy your product buy it instead of steal it."
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    Stealing is taking away something that belongs to someone else, or that someone else is entitled to. That's a broad, casual definition. Do you disagree with it?
    I disagree with the entitlement part. Either something belongs to you or it doesn't. Entitlement is just a matter of ego.

  13. #28
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    It's a question of semantics. If I make an agreement with you that I give you something or perform some service in exchange for money, and I fulfill my side of the deal, do I already own your money, or am I merely entitled to it until you actually give it to me?
    In either case, it's stealing if you don't give it to me.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  14. #29
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    In either case, both sides agreed to the purchase, so I don't see how it's relevant to this discussion.

    But no, I don't consider it stealing. I consider it not following through with a purchase agreement.
    Last edited by robwhit; 09-06-2008 at 05:02 PM.

  15. #30
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Guess there's no way convincing you otherwise rob.
    But it still feels strange to me that notion of yours, because you get something you didn't pay for when you download and use a piece of commercial software. Granted, if said piece was a physical object you would be charged of either a misdemeanor or a federal crime under USA laws if the software was worth $5k or more (but it's probably not much different anywhere else. It sure isn't in Portugal).

    If it's hard for you to adapt the wording to the new realities, I suggest you give the issue some more thought. The decision is not yours to take. It's of the society as a whole and the law (usually) reflects those views. Currently receiving pirated goods is generally considered stealing. You see the wording everywhere, in rental movies and in theaters for instance.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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