Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Crypkey 5.6

I need crack for Crypkey

titi
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Are you sure you aren't on Crack?

Simon P. Lucy
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Ah, piracy!

Now isn't that worth another interesting thread?
I am selling some software over the net and of course there is a lot piracy going on (I can tell by the number of those asking for free product upgrades without a proper license code).
It depresses me - people stealing the products I created with so much time and effort. What depresses me even more is the thought of these crackers that actually reverse-engineered 4 versions of my product to remove the licensecode checking routine. I don't want to immagine what mindset is needed to choose that line of work in your free time.

Is there anything we as software developers can do to stop piracy apart from purely technological solutions that don't work anyway?
How do you cope with the problem of piracy? How do you cope with the thought of people steeling your products?

On a lighter note: What made me laugh real hard was the sheer stupidity of titi - I mean what on earth compelled titi to come to a forum of *software developers* to ask a question like this?

Claus Christensen
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

The question is can you quantify your losses and gains?

Are your losses due to piracy also increasing the total sales of your product as a kind of marketing?

If its a small niche application (regardless of how large and complex the application is), then if there is piracy then its probably not increasing your sales very much as a side effect.

Pricing software is very difficult.  Price it too high and you encourage piracy.  Price it too low and your application may not get the respect its due. 

There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of piracy and maximise the positive benefit of piracy.

Make it easy and painless to buy your product.  Target your pricing so that your aimed at market is most likely to buy.  Disregard what happens for those outside your market.

An individual ripping off say Autodesk was never going to buy a legal copy.  The company he works for would. Make it easy for the company to buy it and keep it, ignore the individual.

This is unless the market you are after is the individual.  In that case virtually give it away.  Price it so small that its not worth the effort to pirate it.  If your target market is an individual, then the number of individuals is very large.  In the order of millions. Priced at $2 selling half a million copies is still quarter of a million dollars.

Of course the costs of selling at $2 are disproportionately large merchant fees, etc, you might need to raise it to $5-$7 just to cover those costs.

So,  back to my original question.  If you know your losses and gains then you have a better idea of whether you need to control piracy using pricing or whether its actually better off valuing it as a cost of sale.

Simon P. Lucy
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Since I took the time to look at your web site Claus I have another suggestion.

If you're getting emails from users with unlicenced copies and its evident that they are making use of your software then email them with an offer to convert their unlicenced software for less than the original price.  Perhaps a 50% discount.

Its possible that some of these users aren't aware that they have an unlicenced copy and they'll cooperate both in licencing what they have and informing you as to how they got the software.

You could also attach a paragraph about the possible repercussions of them continuing to use unlicenced software.  In the UK FAST (http://www.fast.org.uk), in the US the SIIA http://www.siia.net in other  countries there is usually a Business Software Alliance organisation, they all work on legal remedies which generally include siezure of equipment, software and heavy fines.

Simon P. Lucy
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Had a look at thesite, and it looks like Claus is asking 59$ (99$ pro) for the product. I doubt that a 50% discount would have any effect on the number of pirates of these packages.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I personally buy products not when I (or somebody else) can't break it, but when I like it (and the author) so that I think he deserves a payment. For example - I was using for a while a pirate copies of UltraEdit, Windows Commander, ReGet, TheBat!, etc and etc .. Finally, I bought all of them because I liked the product and support was very friendly (especially from Ian, the author of UltraEdit).

So, what I could suggest is to improve the the quality of the product, be extremely responsible and friendly in support and .. people will buy it.

Another option is to keep some limited edition verison on the site and give the fully functional one only after purchase. This way crackers have no trila to break. But again, I think many people buy products not because they can't break it, but because they think that authors really deserves what they're asking for. But I think this only concerns medium and small-size products (less than $100).

The large ones have absolutely another target audience and another story ..

Just rememeber - there's absolutely no protection somebody won't be able to break in. And never will be. I'd better spend time on the product itself than on it's protection.

Evgeny Goldin
Thursday, October 03, 2002

> I am selling some software over the net and of course there is a lot piracy going on

Can you build in 'phone-home' capability to keep it licensed and enabled? You could authenticate phone-calls using telephone 'caller ID' maybe and shoot off an enabling e-mail. I am not a lawyer.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, October 03, 2002

Chris, that's easy to implement, but risks killing more sales than piracy does.  (You wouldn't phone, you'd use the ethernet card's unique ID, but even so, there are too many real-world obstacles.)  The mere thought that sofware is "reporting on you" and using certain resources to do so is a product killer.  Remember DiVX?

David Blume
Friday, October 04, 2002

Say again? 

DivX is doing what to me now?

Any chance you've got a link that will expand upon and clarify that last statement?

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, October 08, 2002

He's referring to the old DivX DVD players that somebody (Circuit City?) was selling a couple of years ago. The big "advantage" was that the disks could only be played once, then the player would refuse to play them again until you paid for another viewing. The theory was you'd buy the disk for $5 then throw them away; no need to return to the rental store.

Needless to say, it flopped BADLY in the marketplace.

It had nothing to do with the DivX video encoder we all know and love.

Chris Tavares
Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Whew.

Please refrain from using the words "DivX" and "reporting on me" in the same sentence.  I have a heart condition...well, _now_ I have a heart condition.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, October 08, 2002

We are looking for experienced .Net Developers that are experts developing CrypKey applications.  Please send resumes and questions to careers@vorsite.com.

Vorsite Careers
Sunday, February 15, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home