Product Activation Still Coming

from the will-do-nothing dept

Despite Intuit's failed attempt at adding "product activation" to their tax software, it looks like plenty of software companies are gearing up to offer some form of product activation in the near future. From the quotes in the article, it's clear that most of the people looking at product activation simply don't understand why it's a bad idea. They say that the reason people are pissed off is because of the privacy issues around product activation. While it's true that some are pissed off about it, many more are angry that when their computer crashes, or when they just do a simple reinstall, they're suddenly being told that the product they paid good money for won't install because it's been installed before. Meanwhile, the real "pirates" who are reselling copies of the software have already figured out ways around any copy protection. In other words, product activation does nothing to stop the problem they're claiming to stop, and does plenty to upset your legitimate customers. The only person in the article who seems to acknowledge this fact is a representative from Adobe who points out that they're going to have to "give something back" to users in exchange for product activation - recognizing the fact that they're making the product less valuable to consumers.

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  • identicon
    Director Mitch, 7 Oct 2003 @ 9:06am

    What if You Upgrade Your HDD

    I was just thinking about this this weekend when I upgraded one of my computer's dinky 5G drives to something much larger. As I sat there reinstalling all my software onto the new drive, I was thankful that there wasn't anything linking the programs to that old HDD (which is now pretty worthless). I *assume* that if you upgrade your hardware that activation software companies would allow you to reinstall, but think of the process THAT would be just to put the same programs on your computer you had before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John Dowdell, 7 Oct 2003 @ 9:29am

      Re: What if You Upgrade Your HDD

      Hi Mitch, implementations do vary (because everyone's still trying to find the methods which work best for all concerned), but in the Macromedia method replacing your hard drive will indeed require reactivating the application on the now-new system. This would be a small step within the re-installation of all applications on the new drive, true, but you would indeed need to re-enter the serial number and get it authenticated if re-installing onto a new drive.

      More info here:
      FAQ: "How does product activation work?"
      http://www.macromedia.com/software/activation/faq/#itemA-8

      Regards,
      John Dowdell
      Macromedia Support

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      • identicon
        Beck, 7 Oct 2003 @ 10:08am

        Re: What if You Upgrade Your HDD

        John,
        I read the FAQ and it seems pretty reasonable to me, but there are a couple of questions I hope you could address:

        1. If Macromedia goes out of business or is sold to a company that has no interest in supporting your current products, does that mean that I would only be able to use my software as long as I continue to use the same computer / hard drive?

        2. The FAQ says that activated software will not be required to be upgraded, but it doesn't say that I will always be able to activate my current version. If I buy a new computer 5 years from now could Macromedia tell me "sorry, the version of our software that you are trying to activate is too old and is no longer supported"?

        You can probably tell that my greatest fear under product activation is that even though I have paid for the software I could lose the use of the software. How can I be ensured that once I pay you for the software I can use it for as long as I want?

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        • identicon
          John Dowdell, 7 Oct 2003 @ 2:13pm

          Re: What if SF falls into ocean?

          Right, that "goes out of business" scenario is a hard one to address in advance because of the different ways in which such an implausible condition might arise. I don't think there's a public commitment on exactly what would be done in such cases, but I do know that the guiding priority is that people need to be able to use what they paid for, no matter how many years ago it was.

          I don't think the company would suddenly be able to stop activation in the future, even if it wanted to... seems like this would violate the terms of sale, true...? (Warning: I'm not a lawyer and am bad at interpreting legal documents, but I'm pretty sure we'd be legally prevented from suddenly turning off activation of old versions some day, even if for some strange reason that was found to be useful rather than dramatically unuseful.)

          jd/mm

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          • identicon
            thecaptain, 8 Oct 2003 @ 6:29am

            Re: What if SF falls into ocean?

            That's kind of a vague answer isn't it?
            I mean there's nothing that says beyond your statement of a "guiding priority" that people WOULD be able to use what they paid for...
            You also state that the company stopping activation in the future would violate the terms of sale...isn't the big thing in proprietary software companies (and indeed in the entertainment industry) to say that you did NOT SELL the product to me, but that you sold me a LICENSE that is revokable essentially at your own choice?
            Frankly if the company stopped activating an older product in the future, the sad thing is that even for 100$ the "little guy" can ill afford to spend days, weeks or months in court to get his activation (meanwhile his business isn't able to use his product) so likely he's just likely to cave under the forced upgrades.
            I'm sorry John if I'm coming off on a rant here...I'm speaking generally and don't mean to specifically accuse Macromedia of any of these things (especially since I have not purchased, nor acquainted myself with the terms and conditions accompanied with your product's purchase)...I'm just making a point that unless companies are legally accountable for the consequences of using draconian activation procedures, its only the little guy that's going to get screwed (again)...meanwhile pirates will continue to use the software without a problem (again).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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