More Stupid Copy Protection That Does Nothing But Piss Off Legitimate Users

from the why-oh-why-do-companies-think-this-is-necessary? dept

This certainly isn't a new or unique story, but Broadband Reports has yet another story about ridiculous and pointless copy protection. The copy protection scheme, called Starforce, appears to be mainly used for protecting certain PC games from being copied. Of course, like so many copy protection schemes it does this by assuming all legitimate customers are criminals. Not only that, but it installs itself without letting you know (not even in the EULA), hides itself on your PC, slows down the PC, causes all sorts of other problems and errors, and is nearly impossible to remove -- even after the protected application has been removed. In other words, it's just as bad as some adware/spyware out there -- except that it's screwing things up for legitimate customers who actually went out and bought the games in question. As the article points out, every one of those games is available in a cracked version online, so this "copy protection" scheme doesn't actually prevent copies. It only serves to anger legitimate customers. Why is anyone using this product on their software?

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  1. identicon
    Christian Cantrell, 13 Jul 2004 @ 5:35am

    Devil's Advocate

    I'm not saying I agree with this level of copy protection, but I will point out that it is not intended to prevent people from cracking software and posting it online. Cracked software has always been, and probably will always be, a fact of life. It constitutes only a very small portion of piracy, however. By far, the huge majority of piracy is what is known as "casual piracy" which is people around the office passing a CD around and installing software without even thinking about licensing, or friends sharing a new game with a few other friends. That's what copy protection and registration help to prevent.

    Software companies lose huge amounts of money because of casual piracy, and I don't blame them from trying to stop people from stealing their software. That doesn't mean they have chosen the best way to do it, however, but I think their intentions are legitimate.

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