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  • Copy Protection

    Hi all,

    I am producing a project that will be distributed for tuitional purposes and the disks need to be copy protected. I am ideally looking for something that will generate crc errors when disk to disk or disk to file copy operations are attempted. Obviously, I realise that nothing is bulletproof and there will be someone out there who will be able to beat the precautions, but I am looking to stop the low-level, 'copy for a mate' kind of piracy.

    I know there is a cheaper AMS type program on the market that claims to include copy protection but I am unwilling to change from a piece of software that has taken such a large place in my armoury...

    Has anyone any experience of protecting their projects? Is there an application I can use or will something be added to AMS in the future for this purpose?

    Thanks in advance...


  • #2
    Re: Copy Protection

    I'd be interested to find that out too. Like you say though it would still be easy to circumvent though. My guess is that one of the game protection schemes is best but they're probably expensive, i.e. SafeDisc, etc.

    Corey Milner
    Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software


    • #3
      Re: Copy Protection

      I'll keep digging. If I find anything - you'll be the first to know.


      • #4
        Re: Copy Protection

        Using progs such as CloneCD will get thru 99% of copy protection anyway - even the likes of SafeDisc etc.
        = Derek
        ["All glory comes from daring to begin" - fortune cookie]


        • #5
          Re: Copy Protection

          I've been down this road....

          There are a copule of free copy protection schemes out (sorry can't remember the names) but I could never get them to work reliably. Essentially they modify the ISO image of a CD making it invalid to many CD copying programs, modify the .exe on a CD, and/or they throw on some invalid files that look like they are 1 GB in size.

          The reality is that most copy protection schemes work by altering the data format of a CD and actually breaking it. It will still work for most users but you can be guaranteed it will not work for everyone. I would be afraid to use any type of copy protection without some extensive testing on multiuple platforms and hardware.

          The odd thing is that if it is really a CD worth stealing someone will hack the protection making it all a moot point anyhow. You are really just making the CD inconvenient to copy.

          That being said, Macrovision has a number of CD protection schemes that work quite well and are pretty reliable. I've used them on a few projects just not AMS. I'll warn you that they are not cheap but as they say "you get what you pay for".

          If I can't afford it and I absolutely felt I had to have some kind of protection I would probably go with the modify a bogus file on the CD to look like 1GB method. It is relatively harmless but trips a few of the CD Burning proggies.


          • #6
            Re: Copy Protection

            Here's a Guide I found to creating a copy protected CD using the freeware tools I was referring to.

            The software is:

            TZcopy protection



            • #7
              Re: Copy Protection

              That being said, Macrovision has a number of CD protection schemes that work quite well and are pretty reliable. I've used them on a few projects just not AMS. I'll warn you that they are not cheap but as they say "you get what you pay for".
              Even SafeDisc is easily circumvented nowadays. I believe it only works for pressed CDs, too...and there are quite a few CD-ROM drives that have problems with the technique.
              --[[ Indigo Rose Software Developer ]]


              • #8
                Re: Copy Protection

                Yep... I Totally agree with Lorne.

                I guess what I was getting at with macrovision is that you at least know they have done a lot of compatability testing and will somewhat stand behind their product when things go wrong.

                In the end I don't think it's worth it. Between the added time to produce the CD and the added testing....


                • #9
                  Re: Copy Protection

                  Hmmm...before you give up on copy protection, darkstar, let me offer some practical advice. [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

                  My background leads me to see copy protection as just a useless cost/inconvenience/something else to go wrong. Sometimes I can forget that it doesn't have to be foolproof to be helpful, though.

                  It all depends on what you need to accomplish with it. For most users, some kind of simple password protection or file encryption will get the job done. For instance, AutoPlay lets you access files from an encrypted Zip file, which is probably more than enough security if you use a strong password. That would probably meet your requirements nicely -- they would be able to copy the Zip files off the CD, but unless they knew the password, they wouldn't be able to get at the files.

                  My Dad had a good saying that bears repeating yet again: locks are only there to keep the honest people honest. If someone is determined to get at your data, I don't care if you use the strongest encryption method known to some point, it will be loaded into memory in an unencrypted form, where it can be retrieved. And the carefully crafted 50-random-digit password is useless if the first guy you sell the CD to shares the password with all his friends.

                  But if all you need is to keep the honest guy from being overly tempted, or to make it so they have to actually do something illegal to get at the data...then just stuff everything into encrypted Zip files.
                  --[[ Indigo Rose Software Developer ]]


                  • #10
                    Re: Copy Protection


                    the way I "protect" my CD's:
                    The CD is generating a code depending on some different settings from the users computer (read in the registry).
                    A form is (almost) automaticaly send by email after the user filled in his name and serialnumber of the CD.
                    the user gets a new code in return that must be filled in at the right place. A transformed code is writen to the registry and the CD is activated. The user can use it. Every program on the CD is checking the code in the registry.
                    I have the students name combined with the serial number.
                    A student has to explain to me when he needs a new code in a short time.
                    And of course most of the files on CD are encrypted.

                    Although this way is rather complex, it works. I make a lot of CD's for students too. Student won't pay even a penny while the investments are huge (f.i. APMS $495).
                    I am not intending to earn a lot of money from the students. But only spend al lot of money so the student can copy for free is no fun for me!

                    I think this method is not useful for large amouts of CD's.
                    And most of the times the user needs a new code after a new install of Windows of using a different computer.

                    Students do not complain.

                    In the past I used copyprotected diskette as a dongle.
                    Worked fine, but was not so friendly.

                    programming is very easy, just put the characters in the right order....


                    • #11
                      Re: Copy Protection

                      Wow - thanks guys. I understand and agree with everything that all of you have said. I personally feel that copy protection is actually an infringement on my right to decide my own level of honesty ( I would like to back up some of my own legitimately purchased software and would have to revert to criminal behaviour to do so) - but let's not get into that here...;-D

                      My customer, on the other hand, might feel differently. His work was originally released on video - no copy protection there - but not everyone has access to 2 vcr's. Nearly everyone, however, has access to CDR technology. He might be concerned about the work being pirated, and telling him that copyright abuse is the sincerest form of flattery might not wash...

                      I will probably not copy protect the product - if it is sold on at a fair and decent price and is any good people should be happy to pay for it anyway.

                      Thanks again and I'll be back soon.


                      • #12
                        Re: Copy Protection

                        If you would like to see the kind of firestorm this can start, consider the case of Intuit's TurboTax this year, which included a Macrovision C-Dilla DRM that; 1) installed a resource hogging service on XP and 2000, 2) writes to the rarely used sector 33 of the HD partition table, completly bypassing use of the file system.



                        • #13
                          Re: Copy Protection

                          Ughh... I hate C-Dilla. We have a series of Autocad products that use that and it causes a lot of problems......

                          Only way we've been told to remove it is to do a low level format