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Old 23rd May 2009
Gear Head
digital lofi's Avatar

I really believe that something along these lines is the best bet for really doing something about pro-level piracy: an non-proprietary, opt-in system that actually has a benefit to the user.

We all know, according to those little boxes we blithely click through, we're not "buying" software, right? We're licensing it, no? And isn't one benefit of licensing software a level of support that goes beyond just updating the code? Almost any other sector of the specialized software industry that I've encountered the idea of support is more than just public user forums. Getting a management software package for your pub? A support tech comes down, sets it up, trains your staff, and answers the phone when you call with a problem. I have a friend that just got an online package for his business that is primarily built on supporting their applications.

I understand that we're talking about mostly consumer software and there's a pretty vast difference. Whether anything can substantially be done about warez kiddies is, as I see it, a different kettle of fish. Those are just abstract numbers that are open to a lot of interpretation. But there is a real problem with mid-level and above commercial studios that *rely* on stolen software. And there's got to be a better way of making that work.

Automated systems aren't going to cut, for some of the reasons discussed above. DRM is planned obsolescence. If there's a system, someone, somewhere will figure out how to game it. How about giving customers a reason to support a company? Concentrating on those users who actually depend on your product, bringing more of them on board? As near as I can tell, you can't enforce loyalty.