View Single Post
Old 21st May 2009 | Show parent
Gear Guru
Yoozer's Avatar
Originally Posted by IMSTA ➡️
I am sure if there was a way to place copy protection on a book, the publishers would have done so.

And yet, not having it is exactly what allows public libraries to exist and what allows you to borrow your book to someone else. But this is a comparison with a physical object, and one should always be wary of that - since the physical object is automatically scarce and can't be duplicated. Software changes all that because a computer can't help but copy.

However, there are ways that software could be protected
Every time you make a new release of your product, go look at the well-known warez or torrent sites to see how long it takes for a copy to turn up.

If it's there in a few days, you know your protection has been useless. If it does turn up (and for giggles, download it and see how they've bypassed your security) - you've spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours making protection or buying protection that doesn't work. It's a bulletproof vest made out of jello.

But, at least you have the choice of your protection. The movie industry is off worse, since they get someone starry-eyed promising the ultimate protection - Macrovision Says This Time It's For Real, Seriously - and every time it ends up being cracked.

After you see this happening 3 times or so, it is perhaps a better idea to save yourself the effort; the rate of piracy hasn't changed since software could be copied. See Coding Horror: My Software Is Being Pirated

By doing that, you:

- reduce software costs because you don't have to buy an ineffectual protection every time or invent it anew
- reduce support costs, because a serial or online activation works or doesn't, instead of frustrating users to send dongles to be reactivated or whatever
- please users immensely, since they won't have to keep track of which bits of encrypted, vulnerable plastic they carry around

Which means more profit and higher levels of satisfaction and no significant difference whatsoever in terms of sales since those who are going to download it will be doing that anyway.

In that case, any promise to make things uncrackable is an empty promise, and reducing it to a simple serial or online activation rewards your legit users. The illegitimate users don't care for the protection anyway, since they're not bothered by it.

And the publishers are protecting their property, just as you lock your studio door and turn on the alarm every time you leave.
With the difference that locking the door and turning on the alarm actually can have an effect - not so with warez (it does not alert you, and the lock doesn't lock for long). With the difference that the entire planet is trying to beat that lock just for the kick of it. Again, analogies with physical things are dangerous.

I wonder why, that if I buy a DVD with a movie or rent it, I get an unskippable reminder that I am supposed to pay for the privilege of watching the movie, telling me I can't show it in public. This is odd (the fact that one can't skip it). Obviously, non-legit users would never leave that tidbit of information in there, while the legit users are bothered with it.

Ditto with software. The only people who will be bothered by the protection are those who buy it, so you want to please these people and reward 'm for doing the right thing - by making it simple and painless.

I'm a fan of the online activation/serial bit (Ableton Live, Native Instruments) - particularly those who keep track of my serial so I don't have to. The downside of that is of course when said company tanks I'm completely lost.

If the software industry gave customers a better - no, make that completely solid guarantee in terms of software longevity and not being completely left in the cold when the company tanks or the activation servers go down (and it happens to the best of us) you'd get more respect from the existing users, too, plus gain people who hold off now because of the risk of having software die on you for no good reason.