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protect my files from being copy!

Posted on 2000-02-24
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Last Modified: 2008-09-18
I, WANT TO KNOW IF THERE IS A SOFTWARE OR SOME UTILITY THAT COULD PROTECT MY FILES IN MY COMPUTER OR WHEN I MAKE A CD COPY OF MY FILES, I ONLY WANT THEN TO BE READED BUT NOT TO BE ABLE TO BE COPIED! IF SOMEBODY TRYS TO COPY THE FILES WON'T WORK OR WON'T OPEN!
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Question by:alonsolezama
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by:1cell
ID: 2555384
what operating system are you using
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by:DontPanic
ID: 2555917
There is a major problem with allowing someone to read but not copy a file.  Most if not all file copying programs work by reading a file, and outputting what is read into another file.  Thus usually if a person can read a file, they can copy it.

One solution to this problem would be to encrypt the file and make a special reader program that would decrypt the file and allow someone to read it, but not copy it.  The encrypted file itself could be copied, but only by using such a reader could the contents be understood.
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by:rayt333
ID: 2555997
50 points for this answer???

Microsoft would give you millions for this answer, if only there was one??????????
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shauny_g earned 50 total points
ID: 2556463
What you're asking is impossible. Because of the way computers work it can't happen. If you can access data and therefore read data you can always copy data. It's just impossible to stop people from copying binary code.

Anything can be copied, you can't stop people from copying things. But you can make it harder. Software, what is it? To me it's nothing and isn't worth anymore than 1 Australian dollar. It's made of binary digits being 0's and 1's and as long as computers can read these digits they can copy them.

If you're making software what you've got to do is encrypt the programs and make access codes to use them. However, what one intelligent person can make, another person of equal intelligence can find a way past it. So even the best ideas to stop software pirating won't work.

I don't like the software industry anyway. If I know someone know pirates software (and I know a few) there's no way I'll dob them in. Kids are the biggest software pirates. They'll make heaps of copies of games (thanks to cheaper high storage devices and hard drives) and trade and sell them to each other for a very small fraction of the original cost. Some kids make copies of games they have and trade them for other copies of games which they don't have and they keep doing this process until they've got a huge collection of over a hundred games. And all you need to do this is a high capacity storage device and a single full version game. The only downside is no manual and no box. The gaming industry is where pirating is at its worst because kids can so easily copy games.

The people who make software charge 100's and sometimes even 1,000's of dollars for something that costs less than a dollar to make. It costs nothing to copy a CD. And they're churning out CD copies effortlessly and making profits close to 100%. What I do hate is pirates who charge the original price for software.

I'm not a pirate but I respect and tolerate those that do pirate as long as they aren't using the ways of the real thieves (the one's who make the software and over charge). What do you need to make software? Time and Labour. Adding an extra 1 dollar charge to the copies made should be enough to pay for the time and labour.

I'll repeat that again.  Adding an extra 1 dollar charge to the copies made should be enough to pay for the time and labour. The biggest thieves of the 20th century would be those who started the software industry and tricked everyone into thinking that software is worth more than 1 dollar. And I'll repeat that other sentence again because it means alot towards what I'm saying.  Adding an extra 1 dollar charge to the copies made should be enough to pay for the time and labour.
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by:1cell
ID: 2556828
I have some problems with that statement:

If you can access data and therefore read data you can always  copy data.
*******This is not necessarily true depending on the envionment.  NT and especially Novell offer compensations for different types of viewing rights

It costs nothing to copy a CD.
******* This is true.  However, have you recently employed anyone or a group of people to right software for you? Or databasing for that matter.  The development and testing of the software is what's expensive not the production.  Also, if you check into printing costs, you'll find that the cost of the manual and box alone are much more to produce than the CD.

And they're churning out CD copies effortlessly and making profits close to 100%
******* This is not true.  The initial cost of development is usually handled after some time but it's never 100% profit.  Normally there is a company with employees behind the software.  Things like payroll, benefits, and company maintenance come right off the top and that does not include marketing and future development.

Adding an extra 1 dollar charge to the copies made should be  enough to pay for the time and labour.
******** How much is your time worth and how long does it take you to burn a CD?  Or do you own a press to handle thousands?

Don't get me wrong, I have trouble paying 100's of dollars for new software and OS's (anything adobe) but the main reason it's high priced is because 75% of the world steals it.  The fact that kids are copying $25-40 dollar wares doesn't mean the companies charge too much for games.  It means the kids would rather not spend the money.  Your theories are incorrect and have nothing to do with the issue except the first statements.  In fact they go against the ethics of this site.

Alonsolezama, can you tell us what OS you are running and whether this system is on a network?  If it is on a network, is it NT or Novell?  There are ways, though they aren't perfect, to do what you're trying to do.




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by:jjmcd
ID: 2560856
alon - there are a number of CD protections schemes, most of which can be easily circumvented as has already pointed out.

There are commercial solutions available which are quite difficult to defeat, however, these will cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in license fees.

The quetion you need to ask is do you want to invest those many thousands in copy protection, or in making a better, more marketable product.

I, and a lot of people like me, make a judgement of the quality of the software I am considering purchasing based on the answer to that question.
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by:samri
ID: 2560991
alonsolezaman,

     Your question is pretty general.  Do you want to prevent people from copying the program or the data, OR do you want to prevent people from using you program/application illegally.

if you are looking for the first case (cannot copy at all), then there are lengthy discussion, that it is 99.999% impossible to do. (rayt333 : I like you comment.. very interesting indeed).

but if you are looking for a second case, where only people who are the legal owner can use it, you can implement other method such as requiring some kind of authentication card that need to be fitted into the PC, or device that needs to be plug-in to the serial port, etc. etc.

very interesting question I would say.

regards,

samri

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by:jimat
ID: 2561154
shauny_g > unfortunately there are other people who, like you, are confused about what it really takes to construct a good piece of software.
Give some thought to the hundreds or thousands of hours it takes to put these one's and zero's in the proper order to get the desired effect.

Try to imagine, for a moment, that you had the ability to write software.
You've just spent the last four months perfecting a really fine game.
Some little kid decides that, since it only takes a few dollars to copy this game, you're ripping off everyone by charging $55, and starts making copies to sell or give away.
You will never see a return on your months of hard work because there are people who can't (or won't) look any farther than the end of their nose to see that software doesn't just appear magically under someone's pillow at night delivered by the Software Fairy.
There's a lot of work involved in crafting good software, and that work deserves compensation (in the real world).
A REAL thief is someone who takes these results of another's labor without paying for it.
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by:jjmcd
ID: 2561192
jimat makes a very good point.  And there are lots of costs.  Large software companies take many, many people to write the kind of software you want to buy.  Good games in particular take an amazing cast of players.

A couple years back I was involved in a game project.  Games require a game engine, and some sort of scripting capability to allow a rich plot to be delivered.  The skills needed to write the game engine are often quite a bit different from those needed to write the game editor, so different folks are needed.

The actual game script requires some sort of author - programmers tend to be remarkably unimaginative.  Of course, the author often can't describe his scenario in the scripting language, so some sort of scripting programmer is needed.

That's all well and good, but the game needs to be visually appealing, so you need artists.  Of course, you can't have a game without music, so you need composers and musicians.

Of course, the game typically involves soms sort of characters or objects that need not only to look good, but to move realistically.  So you need a group of modelers to turn the artist's graphics into the objects that the scripting editor will script and the game engine will animate.

OK, now that we have the game, we need to package it, distribute it, market it, etc. etc.

Of course, none of these people will work for free, and with all the 'help' we get from our various governments, it costs a LOT more than the salary to keep these people coming back to work every day.  In fact, even a middle of the road programmer costs close to a quarter million dollars a year, a rock star programmer, the kind who can do the really competitive games, can get that in salary, and depending on the kinds of perks he requires, and the particular government you need to pay taxes to, could cost close to a million to keep on your staff.

And this guy isn't going to do the game alone, unless you have unlimited time to get it to market.  The staff for a decent game will probably number around 100. OK, this will include a lot of office professionals, tech writers, etc. who don't cost nearly what a programmer costs.  But again, help from the government means these people don't come cheap, either.

So I have an investment of millions or tens of millions of dollars in this program, and one in a thousand is going to sell over a million copies, and you expect me to sell it for a buck?  Unless I got REALLY lucky, I sure wouldn't be in business to make that next game!
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by:jjmcd
ID: 2561207
back on topic ... alonsolezma, sorry I can't find the URL but there's a page out there that gives a good description of various CD copy schemes.

The simple ways are to writa a directory entry for a file larger than the entire CD, which will prevent many CD copy programs from copying the CD, and/or writing some data in a place on the CD with no file.  Obviously, these take special CD creation software and can be gotten around easily by using image copy software.  Still, they can prevent a large fraction of the copying.

The next rachet up is to write special data outside the data area of the CD, or to manufacture the CD from a special traceable plastic.  While this doesn't really stop copying, it can prove piracy in court.  Obviously, this takes special CD mastering equipment.

The really secure schemes write barely readable data and incorporate special algorithms that allow you to detect a copy.  This takes special equipment again, costs many, many dollars, and can fail to read legal copies on some drives.

For a low cost solution, you can always use a dongle.  This is kind of a pain for your user (and it would certainly prevent me from buying your program), but the costs are pretty reasonable for small volumes.
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by:jjmcd
ID: 2561222
hmmmm ... rereading your question, I think we've all jumped to the conclusion that you want to protect software you sell, but you specifically said FILES.  Is the problem you want people to not copy files, but be able to view them, on a machine you control?  This is a kind of different problem.

If this is the case, can you limit the types of files?  Is there a specific application whose data you wish to protect?  Did you write the application?
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by:1cell
ID: 2561253
I think alonsolezama is hangin with elvis and the lizard king.

If you are still here, could you PLEEEEEEEEEASE tell us what the operating system is?
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by:jimat
ID: 2577847
Has anybody tried to view alonsolezama's profile?
All I get is a blank (with advertisements)
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by:shauny_g
ID: 2582020
I am aware that the extra charge is for labour and I'd just like to say that people who make software should charge depending on how much time, labour and the estimated amount of sales they will make. For example, if someone spent 4 months making this computer game, had 30 people working on it at 30hrs a week and a target audience of 1,000 sales then they should decide from those variables what would be a fare price to charge. If we were going to pay these people $500 a week then we'd have about ~20 weeks of pay so that would be $10,000  and 30 labourers would make $300,000 with a target audience of 1,000 would make sales of $300. We could increase the price by some percentage to gain profit for the boss but we'll leave that part out for now. Some businesses in situations like the above text are getting target audiences of 300,000 and instead of selling the software for a 1 dollar profit (using the above method) they charge the $300 price and make huge profits for nothing. The extra money we spend on software is to pay for labour but some people think they can charge extra and I don't mean extra as in normal profits, I mean huge profits. I'm not saying that they all do it, some businesses do have a load of labourers but others don't and still charge for huge profits.

I must point out to that person who said my theories of over charged software are incorrect that you only have to look at the biggest facts and figures to see my point. Bill Gates has billions of dollars stored away, all he's done is time and labour. How can one man's simple labour turn into billions? If it cost him so much to pay for the labourers at microsoft then what's these extra billions of dollars doing? Shouldn't they go to the labourers for their work? Nothing but extra profit.

JIMAT>>>>>>>>>If a thief is someone who takes the results of someone's labour without paying for it then I guess you're a thief. Think about the info you find on the internet, the knowlege in here is the results of people's labour and you haven't paid for it. Sure the author is offering this info for free but you still haven't paid for it.
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by:rayt333
ID: 2582041
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by:1cell
ID: 2582081
if you  know of one good programmer who is making $500/week he is drastically underpaid.  You have accounted for only a few of the costs of a software company and what it costs to make the product.  I'm not saying the prices are not high in some cases but you are severely underestimating what it costs to produce a good piece of software.

as for the bill gates comments.  yes , he has billions but for only one reason.  He was in the right place at the right time and was smart enough to know what to do.  As for sharing his incredible wealth with all of his employees, first, it's not the american way, second, it's just like every other industry, and third, would you?  Honestly, you are talking about pirating $40 games, would you share your billions?
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by:jimat
ID: 2585057
shauny_g >   You really had to dig for that one!    :-)
Unfortunately it falls a little flat.
Like television (you watch television?) the net is not "free". Sites are funded by advertisers who expect that their ads will result in sales of products or services and they will earn a profit.
The exceptions are the personal sites that people put up because they enjoy it or have a message to distribute. These sites are, in a sense, gifts regardless of the motives of the site originator, and you can't steal something that someone gives to you. They are getting something in return. The "joy of giving", while quite complex in the terms of the underlying psychological motives, is a perfectly valid "profit".
Anyway, the concept of paying to have your product advertised (with the full understanding that you will never get 100% or even 50% of the viewers to respond) has been understood by most business people for... oh... thousands of years, anyway.
By visiting a site (or watching a television program) I provide the advertisers with the opportunity to demonstrate their wares and they provide funding for a site (et al) that I am interested in to draw me to their displays.
Every one understands (well, not EVERYONE, it seems) that I am free to choose to purchase their product or not. It is not stealing if I chose to not purchase.
While you may not like it, the profit motive in its many forms is quite strong in human beings.
It is one of the fundamentals of successful social constructs.
Stealing, to put it very simply, is taking possession of something without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
Of course, the philosophy of theft is much more complex than that, but I'm not inclined to folow THAT path, right now.
The point is that, yes, you can rationalize the behavior of stealing ( i want it...they're making too much money...they're bad people...i want it...)
The real test is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF and consider that, if the roles were reversed, how would you feel about someone taking your product.
Self honesty is easy to put aside, isn't it?
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by:jimat
ID: 2585070
shauny_g >   You really had to dig for that one!    :-)
Unfortunately it falls a little flat.
Like television (you watch television?) the net is not "free". Sites are funded by advertisers who expect that their ads will result in sales of products or services and they will earn a profit.
The exceptions are the personal sites that people put up because they enjoy it or have a message to distribute. These sites are, in a sense, gifts regardless of the motives of the site originator, and you can't steal something that someone gives to you. They are getting something in return. The "joy of giving", while quite complex in the terms of the underlying psychological motives, is a perfectly valid "profit".
Anyway, the concept of paying to have your product advertised (with the full understanding that you will never get 100% or even 50% of the viewers to respond) has been understood by most business people for... oh... thousands of years, anyway.
By visiting a site (or watching a television program) I provide the advertisers with the opportunity to demonstrate their wares and they provide funding for a site (et al) that I am interested in to draw me to their displays.
Every one understands (well, not EVERYONE, it seems) that I am free to choose to purchase their product or not. It is not stealing if I chose to not purchase.
While you may not like it, the profit motive in its many forms is quite strong in human beings.
It is one of the fundamentals of successful social constructs.
Stealing, to put it very simply, is taking possession of something without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
Of course, the philosophy of theft is much more complex than that, but I'm not inclined to folow THAT path, right now.
The point is that, yes, you can rationalize the behavior of stealing ( i want it...they're making too much money...they're bad people...i want it...)
The real test is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF and consider that, if the roles were reversed, how would you feel about someone taking your product.
Self honesty is easy to put aside, isn't it?
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