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alex_r

Copy protection system

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Hi, I'm working in a project, and I need a good copy protection system, like used in some games (Age of Empires, Need for Speed MW, The Sims...). Anyone know any good system? Thanks

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Are you going to buy one or make one of your own?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
With the aim of preventing fair use?
How do companies get away is using copy protection systems, don't users have the right to create backups?

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
With the aim of preventing fair use?
How do companies get away is using copy protection systems, don't users have the right to create backups?


Not if the EULA that you agreed to when you installed the program said that you don't have that right.

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1. The "really good protection system" that you refer to doesn't exist. Give up trying to find one.

2. Anyway, you probably dont have anything worth stealing.

3. Generally, effort put into improving your product/game is 100x more effective at earning you money than effort put into a protection system.

4. I imagine the copy protection systems used in the games you mentioned cost good money.

5. If TheAdmiral posts in this thread, listen to him, he knows about this stuff.

Food for thought......

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
With the aim of preventing fair use?
How do companies get away is using copy protection systems, don't users have the right to create backups?


Not if the EULA that you agreed to when you installed the program said that you don't have that right.




Really so the EULA allows for a company to make you give up your rights to be able to use there software? That's just plain wrong in my eyes.

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Anonymous Poster: If there any good I'll buy, but if need to develop...
Anonymous Poster: The soft is a MP3 jukebox system, I just like to protect my software...
Ezbez: In my soft, you can't create a backup :-/ If there any problem I'll change or reinstal the software...
DaBookshah: I know, anyone can break any protection system... What I like is to giv a error if you copy my software, the software will run with a proprietary hardware too...

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I'm flattered, DaBookshah [smile].
The important points have been covered, but I'll say what I always say.

I won't assume that your project isn't worth stealing, but it almost certainly isn't worth protecting. If it's not a desirable product, nobody will try to copy it and you'll have wasted your time, effort and money installing a protection. If it is a desirable product, it will be broken one way or another.

Understand that the people who crack copy protections have far more resources to spend on it than you do: it has been proven time after time that protection with the goal of altogether preventing copying is not cost effective; not even nearly. The only thing that a protection system will guarantee you is time. If it takes a week longer for a crack to surface, would you consider a $300 investment worthwhile? How about 48 hours of development time? I'm not sure about you, but I think your users would appreciate the money/time being spend on quality control. Sales figures have been shown to correlate linearly with quality (by the user's reckoning) and are independent of the number of pirated copies in circulation.

If you're still not convinced, then let me give you the lowdown on existing solutions:

The high-end protections are rather powerful, many of them currently unbroken. SafeDisc, StarForce, SecuROM are all fine examples of copy-protection, and are used on big-budget titles like those you listed. However, I can't imagine they're the solution for you unless I've heavily underestimated your project. These protections aren't cheap - we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars. Moreover, perhaps, the protection is only effective if you employ their disc-layer protections. This means that you need to go through them for every disc you press, at a cost, naturally. If you were planning on distributing your game through any means other than commercially replicated CD/DVD, then you'll need to look elsewhere.

The low-cost packages are very popular with one-man-army vanity projects. By 'low-cost' I'm talking $100-300 (US). Popular examples include Armadillo, ASProtect, EXECryptor and the likes. While these will keep your casual cracker at bay, they're by no means hacker-proof. If I had to pick between them, I'd say to go with EXECryptor: it's well-supported, well-written, reasonably secure and good value-for-money. However, it is still a ring3 out-of-the-box software-based PE protector, and so it's inherently flawed. If I need to spell it out; don't waste your money.

The free packages are great. There are a couple of them around, of varying quality. They tend to be open-source or unsupported, but you can't complain about the price. Of course, since nobody is protecting the protection, the process tends to be easily reversible, sometimes as simple as downloading an unpacker and drag-dropping the exe into it.
What's the use, then? Well it will keep the amateurs away - often, an inexperienced reverser will be discouraged the moment they find their target is protected, without paying regard to the means. Furthermore, you'll need to spend no more than ten minutes applying the protection. If using a protection would make you feel that much better, then I highly recommend UPX or Yoda's Crypter.

What's left is the idea of rolling your own protection. If you haven't paid attention to anything else I've written, pay attention now. Don't even think that you can write an effective protection scheme without putting in hundreds and hundreds of hours. I've seen way too many examples of amateur protection's for one life. It is genuinely upsetting to think of the poor bastard spending dozens of hours on some elaborate protection scheme, oblivious to the minor, but devastating flaw that brings its usefulness down to zero.
Also, implementing a home-grown protection is a wonderful way to introduce bugs. A buggy protection scheme is worse than no protection scheme.
I could write all day about this (and it's beginning to feel that way), but we're all better off if you take my word for it.

Anyway, the bottom line is this:
The answer is not to add a protection scheme, but to price the software cleverly. After evaluating a $10 piece of software, most would be happy to buy. Raise the price to $30 and Astalavista becomes far more tempting.

Regards
Admiral

Edit: I forgot about dongles. But if you seriously think anyone's going to be happy to use a dongle to play their MP3s, you need to rethink your everything.
Edit 2: I must keep my rants shorter in future.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
With the aim of preventing fair use?
How do companies get away is using copy protection systems, don't users have the right to create backups?


Not if the EULA that you agreed to when you installed the program said that you don't have that right.


According to laws in most countries, it's not legal to alter a deal if the deal has already been agreed upon. If I offer you software for $5, and money exchanges hands, a deal has been made.

Trying to alter the deal after the fact, by showing a license agreement during install, is in the legal gray-zone, at best. It's probably void in most countries.

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