[futurebasic] Software Theft

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From: "Yates, Phil" <YATESP@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Dec 97 18:25:00 PST
Dear Staz,

I am writing this letter to you as an open letter to the mail list since I 
thought you might get a few ideas from the assembled users ....

I have just returned from a business trip in Asia, which ended up in 
Singapore. On a day off, I went to a shopping mall called  Sim Lim Square , 
which is five floors of electronics, cameras, and computery.

Browsing around the several hundred shops, there were many small shops 
selling pirated software - all of which are on CD. Since this was the first 
time I d seen such a mass of pirated software, I took a closer look.

As you might expect, 99.9% of the software was DOS / Windows related, but I 
came across three CDs full of Mac software. One single CD had on it full 
installer versions + registration codes for every big software package for 
the Mac - Adobe Photoshop 4.1, Illustrator, Clarisworks 5, numerous big 3D 
packages, etc. On one single disc, they had around 50 different software 
packages, and some of this was software I d only just bought in the UK before 
I left. These were  printed  CDs, by the way, not CD-R.

If you looked at the Windows stuff, you could buy virtually anything, 
including NT servers, etc. The CDs almost certainly originated in Thailand. 
And as you ll have probably guessed by now, a full and complete version of 
FBII was on one of the discs.

My own personal view is that you ll never stop this kind of piracy - if Bill 
Gates can t crack it, you don t stand much chance.

For what it s worth, I think that all you can hope to do is to reduce the 
usefulness of your software in electronic form - perhaps only release 
electronic versions of the documentation to pre-registered users, or require 
dynamic passwords every time the software is installed. For example, I can 
more or less work out how to use Adobe Photoshop without a manual, but I 
could never crack FBIII in the same way.

Now there s nothing to stop someone in Thailand buying a full copy of FBIII, 
and the electronic documentation, and then pirating it. And so you need a 
registration code you can backtrack from, and at least try to nail the 

As always, there s a balance between causing major annoyance to your 
legitimate customers, and reducing the effectiveness of the piracy. As I only 
sell very small numbers of specialised packages, I use a dongle, but this 
would be out of the question on something like FBIII.

Speaking personally, I will do everything I can to help in reducing the 
effectiveness of piracy on products such as FBIII from small companies, if 
only because the more the product is pirated, the less revenue Staz gets, the 
higher the cost for the rest of us, and the more difficult it becomes for 
Staz to support the product.

Oh and by the way, how much does each CD cost ?   Eight Singapore dollars - 
just under Five US dollars. 

I open this to your suggestions ......

Phil Yates