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Submission + - Copy protection advice for ~$10k software 5

An anonymous reader writes: Hi /., I'm a long time reader and would like some advice.

I'm part owner of a relatively small video editing software company. We're not yet profitable, and our stuff turned up on thePirateBay recently. Some of our potential paying customers are using it without paying, and some non-potential customers are using it without paying. Our copy protection isn't that tough to crack, and I'd rather see the developers working on the product than the DRM (I'm convinced any sufficiently desirable digital widget will get copied without authorization).

Would it be insane to release a 'not for commercial use' copy that does some spying and reporting on you, along with a spy-free version for ~$10,000? I feel like that would reduce the incentive to crack the paid version, and legit businesses (In the US anyway but we're trying to sell everywhere) would generally pay and maybe we could identify some of the people using it to make money without paying us (and then sue the one with the biggest pockets). What would you do? I respect the collective wisdom of ./; thanks for your time!
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Copy protection advice for ~$10k software

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  • I hope you're not serious.

    While you bring up a case that 10K software isn't a copy of a Justin Bieber song, a young struggling company planning a 'Spy & Sue' model will get you pulverized when you kick the sleeping corporate legal rottweiler.

    • Indeed, spy & sue is basically a path to internet self-immolation.

      Spy & market/promote on the other hand would probably get them accolades.

  • There was a story a while back about an indi game that was released on purpose on pirate pay, the difference being that all the characters wore pirates hats. http://torrentfreak.com/indie-game-devs-post-pirated-game-on-the-pirate-bay-110909/ [torrentfreak.com] Maybe something along the same lines? Google+ hangouts can put a clown nose on your face. So maybe your editing software could put a hat and an eye patch on all faces until a correct serial is entered?
  • $10K? Look, dude, you're not SAS. The best way to ensure than any DRM gets cracked and your stuff getting uploaded is to charge insane prices for it. And $10K is insane for anything not coming out of a huge software house and needing a mainframe to run on.

    Nobody wants to give their money to greedy thieves, and that's exactly what you look like. Sorry, but I just don't see your business succeeding.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson