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Cactus521

2k2 Product Buyer Beware?

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Noted on Lago's site that they have updated their ultralight package to version 1.02....Within the announcement they mention that users trying to use some of the pirated codes floating around on the Internet may find some "unexpected results"....This begs the questions (assuming the given that piracy is bad):-What is meant by "unexpected results"? Has Lago put in code that could damage a system in some way? Never mind the legal issues (it's against U.S. law, and one company I worked for was successfully sued for doing the same thing, never mind that the pirate tried to steal a $30,000 software package from us). Do people feel this is right?-How comfortable do you feel knowing there's code out there that could yield "unexpected results" should you mistype a reg. number such that it matches a pirated code?My own thought is that software firms have a right to protect themselves, but that right doesn't extend to putting code out there that could damage systems. Lago does not say it does that, but "unexpected results" does seem a thinly veiled threat. Here's an example of how a bug in such code could hurt you:Take the C statement (purely my invention)....if (pirate_flag=("TRUE"))This statement illustrates one of the most common bugs in C programming...the dropping of a second "=". The statement as interpreted by "C" assigns the value "TRUE" to the variable "pirate_flag", rather than testing the variable against the condition. I'm no C expert, and Lord knows what code Lago has used, but my concern would be what protection legitimate users have against "unexpected results". Given that Lago is outside the borders of the U.S., it would be very difficult to recover damages if you were a legit user caught in the wrong circumstances.From all accounts, the ultralights set is a great package. That the pirates are coming out of the woodwork is typical....and sad. But I worry about any company taking the law into its own hands. Such actions could be used not only to target pirates, but also be extended to individuals that are disliked, or that voice criticism of a product. Without turning into a flame war, what are others' thoughts? I won't respond to any posts added to the thread, to defuse the possibility of this becoming a flame war. Please keep your responses civil. I am curious what people think, and what you would do (and what legal precendent you think would protect you) given the same crummy circumstances Lago has to deal with. As far as I am concerned, Lago is guilty of nothing and I still won't shy away from the Ultralights package. But what if.....?-John

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I doubt highly that it would hurt your system. I don't know for sure, but I imagine that something like the wing might fall off or something preventing you from flying. A military shooter game called Operation Flashpoint had a similar thing in place. If a pirated version was found, it would purposly make your aim more and more inaccurate as the game went on. This of course made playing the game impossible unless you had a legal version. I am certain that Lago would not harm your system, rather they would just make the pirated product unsuable, which is fully within their rights. Preventing piracy keeps software costs down for the rest of us who legally purchase lots of add-ons. As long as everyone is careful entering in registration codes, legitimate users will be fine.

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"I am certain that Lago would not harm your system, rather they would just make the pirated product unsuable, which is fully within their rights. Preventing piracy keeps software costs down for the rest of us who legally purchase lots of add-ons. As long as everyone is careful entering in registration codes, legitimate users will be fine."I said I wouldn't respond, but of this I am in 110 pct. agreeement! I once owned a package that was very sophisticated for its day. It was a DOS based game package, and it verified the license against both the media and a checksum of the hardware found on your system. The only pain was that adding a sound card or pulling a ram chip was all it would take to "unregister" the software... But it was a great means of preventing piracy.

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>It was a DOS based game package, >and it verified the license against both the media and a >checksum of the hardware found on your system. The only >pain was that adding a sound card or pulling a ram chip was >all it would take to "unregister" the software... But it >was a great means of preventing piracy. Does anyone here miss the 'good old days' when certain software packages were protected by 'dongles?' :) What a PITA those things were! :(

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Dongles = Evil IncarnateCD Checks = Evil PersonafiedCD/Registration Keys = Good ProtectionThe key here is to minimize the bother for legitimate users. Pirates take pride in breaking security checks. More often than not, their aim is not to make the game widely available, but just to say that THEY were the one's who beat the protection. I have yet to see a game that hasn't been cracked, or a CD Check that hasn't been overcome.Now, in online games, CD/Registration keys are fantastic. No original registered CD Key, no online play. Since this is the major portion of the appeal for these types of games, not having a CD Key severly devalues a pirated copy. I have yet to see the CD Key system challenged successfully.So it boggles the mind why companies still put in a CD Check when there is already a CD Key security system in place. For example: I recently purchased Unreal Tournament 2003. This game is BRIMMING with copy protection. First, the new Securerom is used on the first install CD. VERY difficult to overcome. It has been cracked, but only the most hardy of geeks would want to jump through all the hoops that you have to in order to be able to make a working copy of the install CD. Nonetheless, it has been defeated.Second, there is a CD Check. You must have the CD in the drive in order to play the game. This was VERY easy to overcome. Hours after the release of the game there was a cracked EXE available.Third, CD Key for online play. Practically IMPOSSIBLE to overcome. There are some key generators, but all the algorithms for these keys have been banned already. Bottom line is, you don't have an original CD Key, you can't use the game online.So, given the above... logic would dictate that you only really need the CD Key security system in place... for games whose appeal is mainly online play. For non-online games... only the CD copying security (and possibly a CD Key/Registration during install) would be needed.There is NEVER a need for a CD check in a game. All it does is drive legitimate users to use a cracked EXE. (Like myself.) Why should I use a cracked EXE if I own the original CD you may ask?During the install of Unreal Tournament 2003, my Phillips CD-RW drive refused to read the copy protected CD. This was solely the fault of the securerom protection. I had to upgrade the firmware on my CD-RW, put it by itself on my second IDE channel, and reconfigure all my hard drives for this to happen. Even then... it took nearly 10 minutes before the installation screen popped up and I could hear my CD-RW churning and grinding constantly.If I were expected to have to stick in the CD every time I wanted to play the game... do you think I would want to wait 10 minutes every time I wanted to launch this game? Why do I as a legitimate customer have to be burdened with this simply because I do not have a "brand-new" CD-RW drive? First thing I did as soon as I installed the game was go get a cracked EXE.The amount of hassle I had to go through to install the game because of the security checks was enough to make me think about whether or not I ever want to purchase a game with these securities enabled. It is grossly unfair to have to make me suffer in this manner, when all of the security checks (except the CD-Key) are easily bypassed by hackers within hours of a games release.So who is more important? Me, or them? With my latest experience with UT2K3, I have come to the conclusion that it is them. Sad.I've rambled and gotten slightly off-topic. But I can guarantee you that anybody who puts in copy protection that messes with your system will hear the wratch of consumers before long. (Not to mention a couple of potential lawsuits.) Companies MUST protect themselves, I agree, but NEVER at the expense of the legitimate consumer. Yes, an additional step or two that is fairly unobtrusive is perfectly acceptable. Having a system where I had to reconfigure my drives and update firmware is not.

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>Within the announcement they mention that users trying to >use some of the pirated codes floating around on the >Internet may find some "unexpected results".... >-What is meant by "unexpected results"? Has Lago put in >code that could damage a system in some way?I am extremely sure that Lago would not breach US (and British) law -- I would frankly expect that the pirated software will simply stop working, or become "unusable". Anyone remember "FADE"?--M

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You may have went off topic, but still your comments about CD checks ring very true. FS2002 was good in rising above that, although you need the CD to install the program. Sad truth, hackers started posting unscrambled FS2002.exe'sI remember the days of dongles. Imagine if they were still used today. You'd need a "dongle" table to hold 'em all. :)The best protection I can envision is the lock/key method. During installation after entry of your registration number, your system is scanned and comes up with a lock code. You then call or go online with the vendor, give them a registration number along with the lock code, and they provide a key code. Very similar to what XP is doing,There's no need for vendors to play "street cop" and attack other systems. Just employ a method that can catch pirates "in the act". Also, perhaps allow some type of utility that allows the registration to stay valid and be transferred to other hardware. The utility could manage the transfer, then delete the original installation.

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Better yet, you are allowed to "fly" the product for 5 mins, then you get teleported to the Tower of London, no matter where the flight originated. Then lock FS so only a restart would be required. Once a person chose the pirated A/C enough times, they'd get the message. That would be a blast--locking the pirates in the Tower of London.. :)What was "FADE"?

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