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how to prohibit software piracy ?

Posted on 2003-02-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
How to prohibit piracy of an application developed in Visual Basic and provide a lock to application for licencing ?
Question by:keshava_more

Expert Comment

ID: 7993798
You can do this by installer. Download the latest innosetup and try yourself. It's very easy. http://www.innosetup.com/files/site1/is32.exe

Expert Comment

ID: 7996615
You'll need a nice legal EULA too : http://www.indiaitlaw.com/eleccont.htm
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

SunBow earned 400 total points
ID: 7996803
> How to prohibit piracy

Do not participate.
Do not steal.
If we all behaved, what would be problem?
Managing Security & Risk at the Speed of Business

Gartner Research VP, Neil McDonald & AlgoSec CTO, Prof. Avishai Wool, discuss the business-driven approach to automated security policy management, its benefits and how to align security policy management with business processes to address today's security challenges.

LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 7996865
One good lock is to place a number on CD. Have program verify # is on CD, and that the media is removable (not HD).

Piracy cannot be stopped. Look at billions microsoft spent on prevention, and still they find people with 100,000s of cloned SW in pretty shrinkwrap. Know that you cannot stop them, the best you can do is slow them down. So I advise to not spend a lot of time on it.

Also know, that the more difficult you make it to run program (protections), the more likely people will not like it and the more likely you would have to provide further support other than developing it to be even better than before (think of benefits of shareware).
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Expert Comment

ID: 7996871
also - not just avoid encryption talk, but IMO if you want a protection scheme, make it very simple is OK, compared to using a scheme of protection already used by others. The trick is, to not let it be known what the scheme is.

Expert Comment

ID: 7998547

I agree with SunBow.
But even better examples than MS is AutoCAD and 3D StudioMAX, they use hardware copy protection.

Theese programs are still cracked in less than a week.

So use some simple anti-copy protection so you just stop the avarage user.

The cracking groups you won't be able to stop whatever you do.

Put all that energy into making a REALLY great application instead.

Also charging the right price and licensing method will amke user register insted of running it illegal.

If you target home users with your application. Try not to charge more then $40, that's where my limit is if I REALLY like an application.
If it costs more I might try it and then search for a free program that does the same thing or a cheaper one.

I also like the subscription licensing more than single license. It makes me feel like I'm getting more for the money if I get free updates for one year.

If you target companies you can charge around $500 or less at this price range most companies can even buy a license just for trying it out.

I think the best way to protect your application is to set a resonable price. This is very dependant on what the application will do for the user and if it requires any additional license for other programs in order to work.

/Hans - Erik Skyttberg

Expert Comment

ID: 8011184
The more people that have it, the more people that are trying to crack it. That goes for protection schemes also.

Be creative, and dont tell anyone. I can come up with half a dozen diffrent things that all have pros and cons as far as effectivness vs user irritation. Knowing more about the app and the market its aimed at would help.

Just as an example.....
the program records the machine info when it installs. The drive, directory, operating system, the date that the os was installed (gotten from the os directory creation date), the part-ID of the motherboard, anything else that seems fairly permanent to that software being on that machine. It puts all of these into an encryption string and compares it with each use.

If the program is copied to another machine, it wont run. If a cracker uses a hex editor to remove the encryption string, it wont run (finding and removing such strings is common but understanding what its really looking for is much harder). If the person updates their OS then its not all that uncommon to have to reinstall old software os it shouldnt cause a "your protection scheme keeps me from using my software" complaint.

Gandalf  Parker
Random Idea Generator
(out of work)
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Expert Comment

ID: 8011646
ditto Hans.
How much you spend advertising? Developing client base?

Cheap and easy to use (more copyable) can help on that.

> Put all that energy into making a REALLY great application instead

-and that could be an upgrade that is the real bread&butter, that warrants better protections.

> I think the best way to protect your application is to set a resonable price.

Consider, high price for few customers vs low price for many customers. Consider that it takes time and effort to make copies, and this is not feasable for most people when price is low, making it simpler and easier to buy original copies from author.

Expert Comment

ID: 9816046
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:

Accept: SunBow{7996865}

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