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Opinions Wanted: New ActiveX Piracy Control

P: n/a
I've been developing and selling Access based database products for
years, and this group has always been a great resource to me. Now I
find myself releasing a new Active-X based on some of my code that
I've been using for years; and I would like to know what the group
thinks of the idea...

I have put together a ocx control that allows applications to "phone
home"; it sends the developer usage information from anyone using the
software. We have been using it to protect our medical database
products for years; and I recently got the idea to package it and sell
it as a service.

I wanted to know, do you Access developers feel this is of any value?
Would you all like to know who is using your programs? Or, do you
feel that this application is unnecessary?

Please do not bring out your flame throwers; I do not intend this as a
shameless ad; but I do want any feedback from developers who are
distributing their applications in a packaged form. Secondly, I very
much advocate disclosing this reporting practice. Every application
that I have included it in has always had prominent disclosure, and I
advise the same to anyone who uses it.

If you would like to see the specifics, my website is
www.blssecurity.com.

I have always found it useful personally; both for preventing piracy
and for accurate timing of sales calls; now I am just curious what the
world thinks.

Thanks for reading.

-Ben
Nov 12 '05 #1
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2 Replies


P: n/a
I wouldn't even _consider_ distributing an intrusive application like that,
so my answer is "No, I wouldn't have any interest whatsoever."

And, I believe I have protection against spyware that would detect a program
such as that installed on my machine, and I'd immediately uninstall it and
demand a full refund.

Clear enough?
Nov 12 '05 #2

P: n/a
Just to clarify: I have never used, and do not advocate the use of
this kind of information gathering without total disclosure. I don't
mean hiding it in the license agreement either.

Although I wish that this type of reporting was unnecessary; I do not
like the idea of people pirating programs that I have spent many years
of my life developing. I can only assume that other people feel the
same way.

Larry, as a developer, you have probably noticed that extremely few
people beleive software takes any work, or that it is even worth
paying for at all. I wish I could say otherwise, but it outright
angers me when people steal my programs.

From a customer point of view, I have found customers more receptive a
phonehome system over some "activation-style" strategy, primarily
because activation is a hassle.

Here's where the whole concept originated for me:

We had built an expensive, niche market program. We wanted very much
to protect it; primarily because our market was small as it was
already. We looked at hardware keys; but they would have been too
troublesome for the customer; especially with trial copies.

We included a software security system. It allowed thirty day trials.
It worked pretty well, and was hard to break. The problem was...with
a software package that costs a great deal, people will format their
computers just to get another trial. We knew of people who did this
regularly.

We tried the idea of compiling a name into the program. It printed on
reports, and supposedly couldn't be altered. No one that we know of
broke the reports; but they found ways around it; such as
Distiller->Edit->Print, or just touching up the printouts the hard
way.

The phonehome system is the best system that we have managed; both in
terms of security, and in terms of convenience for the customers.
At least now you know where all this comes from. It's the first
security strategy that has provided well for my company. This is the
reason that I beleive other developers would want to get the same
benefits.

I very much understand your privacy concerns; but in some situations,
I still beleive that a phonehome system is the best option available
so far.

Are there any protection strategies that you prefer? I would be
interested to hear what kind of balance between security and privacy
you implement to protect your own projects.

Let me know what you think.

-Ben

"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.net> wrote in message news:<P4******************@nwrddc02.gnilink.net>.. .
I wouldn't even _consider_ distributing an intrusive application like that,
so my answer is "No, I wouldn't have any interest whatsoever."

And, I believe I have protection against spyware that would detect a program
such as that installed on my machine, and I'd immediately uninstall it and
demand a full refund.

Clear enough?

Nov 12 '05 #3

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