Menu Close

WPA and Piracy Rant


Cracks, hacks, unwrappers, SafeDisc, and CD keys. These are all items associated with piracy in one form or another. Whether
you want to make a backup copy or use a CD crack to:

  • Avoid easy access to the real CD because of small children around.
  • Avoid having to purchase 8 copies of a game to hold a LAN party.
  • Avoid swapping out CD’s every time you wish to change games.
  • Swap Games with friends to have the largest collection on the planet.
  • Just because you can…

The software industry says that it is wrong.

The issue

I am not a angel. I go a few miles over the speed limit, do “California Stops,” and try to bend rules without breaking them. I am in complete support of the software industry in paying for their software, but have you ever thought about this:

What if the music industry told you that you can only play your CD in one player? You need to purchase one copy for the CD player in the bathroom, kitchen, car and entertainment center. How long would that fly?

I have a “license” to use a program on ONE system. If I use a different computer, I need to uninstall the software on the first and reinstall the program on the new computer but not have both systems with the same software package active at any giving time. Corporate systems are different in the fact that if the business has 100 computers, they will more than likely have 100 people sitting at those systems on a daily basis…

I have a different take on it.

I cannot use a game more than once at a time. If I install a game on eight computers, I can only use one at a time. Period. WAIT, you say, that is not right! You can have your friends come over and use those systems and you are still using only one! BUT, I am still able to use my copy as I intended…

How about renting a movie and inviting your friends over? Should the rental agent charge per seat? A $3 movie rental for ONE person, but if you are having a party of 10, you will need to fork over $30? How many “honest” people would kind of, well, fib? The movie industry says no rebroadcast or “public showing.” How public is public?

I must say that I am extremely proud that I have purchased all (190+ at this writing) of my games listed here! Yes, adding it up on your fingers and toes, it is a lot of money. But, I feel that I have supported the software companies in creating better games. Why? I really could not tell you. Of my collection, I could probably pull out 10 or 20 GOOD games, but the “bad” ones still were purchased. Wouldn’t be nice to “demo” the real game before you plunk out the money? Sure, you can download trial versions of software and check them out in a limited capacity, but I feel that is even worse than beta testing. Trying out one level single player does not help in figuring out how multiplayer action works, etc. Is that justification to copy a CD from a friend to “check it out?” Only your honor can decide. Excuses I have heard include “Since I already have it here, I guess I do not REALLY need to go spend money on it!”

SafeDisc is one of the copy protection schemes out there that, some have reported, does not allow them to play the game at all! If you have an older CD ROM drive or even some newer ones, certain copy protection schemes may not work on your system. Is this right?

Supposedly, I am allowed to create a backup copy of any software for personal use. If there is protection embedded on the CD to not allow me to do that, how is that “right” affected? Yep, you guessed it! It is actually eliminated to the “honest” consumer.

I normally do not surf forums and such, but since I was having plenty of problems with Pool of Radiance 2, I started showing up. Within two hours, there was a post from someone stating that POR hit the warez seen. A few posts down, people complaining that the game that they PURCHASED would not work on their system. That wonderful protection bought the game industry two hours and made many customers angry. Is it all worth it? I still purchased two copies for my G-fri and I to play, but made me think why in the hell I spent $100 to get the game two hours before it was “free.” Makes a honest man wonder.

Microsoft is starting to sway my feelings as far as copy protection and their new “Windows Product Activation” push. If you are not aware of how WPA works, I am not going to get into it here, but I will touch on a few major parts of
it. WPA “locks” your hardware with a particular code generated and sent to Microsoft. After which, life is normal until you must format or change a certain amount of hardware. At that time, you are required to reactivate your product to continue using it. I consider that “asking permission” to use the software I purchased! It does not make me very happy. Since I have used Windows XP, I have called Microsoft 7 times, not to mention the three times I had to reactivate FrontPage 2002 after installing it on Windows 2000, then Windows XP RC1, and then Windows XP RC2. Surprise! I am going to have to do it again October 25th when Windows XP really hits the shelves and end of this year when I get a totally different system. How annoying. It only took me 15 minutes to find the “crack” for those products using one of the BIG search engines…

Take my “for instance” as an example. Most people now have multiple systems. Granted. Not everyone, but there is a large number of people that have “upgraded” in the last few years and passed their “old” system to the kids, etc. What if those people had to purchase multiple copies of an OS for use on multiple home systems? Windows XP Pro retails for $300 (full version). That would be $600 for an OS! Probably more than most “average” people spent on there computer to begin with! Now, back to BV. As mentioned before, I have several computers in the house with the possibility of more before the end of the year. Do you really think I am willing to spend $3000 on an operating system “for personal use,” just to have it be replaced in 12 to 24 months by the next best thing out of Redmond, WA? I laugh at the thought. What is a guy to do?

You can site that not all systems NEED to have the Pro version installed. Ok. Also, not all systems need to have the “full” version. Ok. So, best case, I purchase three pro full (I really like bootable), five upgrade home versions. That is still $1400 ($300 x 3 + 5 x $100 = $1400). That equals around $70 per month in the two year OS cycle. That’s a chunk of change folks.

Cnet had an article that stated Malaysia was selling pirated copies of Windows XP on the street for $3-$6, RIGHT NOW. Yes, Three to Six Bucks! Looks like it would be cheaper (and more fun) to head to Asia on a plane and get cheap copies than to purchase them legally! Looks like WPA stopped piracy, huh! Nope, just really made real customers very angry.

I just feel that there should be a “Site License” for those 1% that have more than one computer. I am also not going to jump for joy when M$ gives a “discount” of $10 on a $300 product. Wow. Thanks Bill.

Needless to say, I am still anti-pirate. I earn my cash and gladly give it up to a company that makes a fine product that I enjoy for many years. Will Black Viper return to the days of my Commodore 64 computer and continue the cracking scene while swapping games with neighbors? Only time will tell. But if I have to call and ask permission from different companies to install multiple games after a “format c:” the software industry will no longer be receiving one persons cash…

Black Viper
October 4, 2001

Posted in Articles, The Rant

Related Posts