Say 5 years ago to get a serial for a program you just had to watch newsgroups like alt.cracks. All the majority of programs / games wanted was a serial / registration code. Easy – download trial, get code, full version now working.
Then – presumably because of piracy – it got trickier. Programs would phone home to sync the registration, you would get crippled programs that were not the full version and you needed to buy that full version. They were easily worked around though and key-gens and replacement exe’s became the order of the day (I researched it.. I read the right places…) but essentially it was a basic process (serials) that had become slightly more complex. I doubt very much it stopped piracy.
And then it became as it is today – combinations of crippleware, time limitation and not just phoning home but sending postcards too. And it’s all still very ‘get roundable’ – you either know someone who has the code or you know where to look. But the malware has crept into the market. A serial is one line – copy / paste. Easy for anyone to understand. Want another program ? If it’s torrent then chances are the file is much much larger than the real program. It’ll be packed with bonus malware that is so very easily run and when it does you just infected your machine with some of the nastiest code going – are viruses even written these days ? So arguably the malware producers are the driving force behind the cracking of products – the more recent the code they crack = more people use = better chance of zombifying more machines. Yes ? Which means that no matter what the program creators do, it will be worked around in some way. It’s an arms race – just like comment spam. And maybe like comment spam the malware coders have deeper pockets and / or a much wider audience so they will win. Because they WILL win. But then how do you combat that ?
This is where you get into an RIAA / BPI argument isn’t it ? Let’s say I have Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Fireworks on this machine and the authorities found out (note: I do not have any of them). They would say I have stolen $1000 from Macromedia (or whoever – Adobe ?) but like with people stealing music, I wouldn’t have because I’d never have bought the product anyway. Now that market is a different one but if you look at the market for $20 – $100 apps couldn’t they benefit from saving costs of protection coding time by using more basic methods (serials) AND reducing their prices ? It’s the “I wouldn’t have bought it unless I’d heard it’s argument about music and it’s one that does exist – so-called ‘music pirates’ buy more music (me buy a rap / hip-hop CD ? No way – but I’ve got one because I listened to it first). And the bonus of reducing their security is that the avenues for malware are reduced too. Which means that the arms race reduces simply because you aren’t giving the bad coders the lead to make the bullets to fire back with.
Which is all wonderful in the world of beautifulness and altruism.
And talking of methods to combat piracy … if you replace your motherboard Microsoft say you have a new computer – and you’ll need to buy another copy of Windows. (src: Newsvine)
Not a chance – prove it :)