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z4me

Defeating Pirates should not be a chore for honest buyers

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This is a rant about customer access. Many customers, myself included, are not computer experts but do enjoy the flight simulation.I fly my own private plane and also enjoy flight-simming in the fictional world. I have purchased a lot of sim software and hardware.It is annoying to me how the honest, money up front customers are being made to jump through hoops for access to products and support for products that they have purchased all in the interest of trying to defeat software pirates (an exercise that even Apple has not mastered). I accept the fact that companies must protect their products but at what cost to customers?I used to download products from Flight 1 but stopped when all of the frequent reloads and finding keys, etc, became too much of a chore.My interest is in flying the sim not in having a computer workout. With earlier versions of MSFlight I struggled with downloads. Now I only buy boxed software.I used to visit the Flight 1 forum for Mustang (my favorite sim) but lately it has been making me login on every visit. Of course the logins often don't work. After the necessary trip to their support page, the email comes back with my information and that usually does not work either, a complete waste of time. The forum won’t accept there own information that they send to me. They must think I am going to steal forum notes.The object of this rant is that all of this is turning off a lot of people who are not guilty of doing anything to hurt these software companies.There must be a less obtrusive way to protect company products than aggravating the customers.

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Guest jahman

All of that anti-piracy miserably fails to stop products from appearing on torrent servers,thus close to 100% of copy protection schemes end-up only being a hassle for honestusers. I therefore propose that developers themselves put their products free ofcharge on torrent servers, together with a URL where honest users like me(100% of software paid for) can pay for the software we use.Benefits:

  1. No hassle to honest users
  2. Improve image buyer has of seller (believe in honesty, so don't treat buyer as a potential crook)
  3. Save 100% on futile non-working anti-piracy schemes a. Cost of Anti-Piracy product license b. Programming/Customization costs c. Customer support (failed installs, re-install limit exceeded)
  4. No hassle to pirates (they will steal your software anyway: The easier you make it for them to steal the less of a psychological boost/trip they will get from stealing your stuff.)
  5. 3. Save 100% on product distribution bandwidth by using torrents!
  6. 4. For all of the above reasons you will increase the percentage of paying buyers, therefore you will be able to reduce the selling price while: a. Still increasing revenues, and b. Further reducing the economic incentive and psycho thrill to pirate your products.

Drawbacks:(none)So developers, go ahead and try eliminating anti-piracy schemes from your products!You can start slowly, with a particular lower-selling lower-priced product to test theconcept and see what happens. Also, check Google for piracy torrents on your supposedlyanti-piracy-protected products: More likely than not you will find the anti-piracyhas already been broken or reverse engineered.So please stop treating the rest of us honest buyers as if we were crooks!Cheers,- jahman.

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My thoughts if I may. I wouldn't totally discredit the result of anti piracy efforts. Most of them do make it more difficult to steal. However the popularity of a payware among pirates is almost always related to its desirability instead of the effectiveness of its anti theft measures. In other words, if it's good stuff there will always be some people who are smart enough and willing to come up with some kind of "crack". If an addon is not cracked and shared it's because few care to have it. Why do people steal? Obviously it's cheap. Some do it so often it becomes a habit. Many steal to "demo".Why do we buy? Other than the apparent moral reason we also want to support and reward the developer of a good addon. Another BIG reason to be a legitimate customer is for the technical support. We get to be in the know of what's being fixed and we get the improvement the minute it's released. Thieves have to wait and keep hoping. However, that's if the developers are good with support. I'll give you two examples. Leonardo Magdog. It's an excellent addon with a long development history. It has never been a plane I really care to fly but I finally bought the 2010 version when there are so few good FS9 addons still coming out of the pipeline. There has been no update since the initial release of the 2010 version and the developers hardly ever communicate with their customers in the support forum. Would there have been any difference between the customer experience and the "thief experience" of the maddog 2010? No. They would be flying the exact same plane, exactly on their own. When the developers don't back their product, who else would? The other example? iFly. It's an excellent product totally worth having. And because of the support it's also totally worth buying. For those who aren't yet their customer, let's just say it's like 5-star royal treatment in our FS world.Some developers drop the ball and leave. Some make good stuff but are commonly regarded as "arrogant". Some can't provide a single word of support without first telling the customer its his fault and ignorance. So let this be a note to all developers, stand behind your products and respect your customers. It does actually and quite literally pay off.

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So developers, go ahead and try eliminating anti-piracy schemes from your products!You can start slowly, with a particular lower-selling lower-priced product to test theconcept and see what happens. Also, check Google for piracy torrents on your supposedlyanti-piracy-protected products: More likely than not you will find the anti-piracyhas already been broken or reverse engineered.So please stop treating the rest of us honest buyers as if we were crooks!Cheers,- jahman.
Fine, Jahman! Go ahead and invest several years of development time, and risk your $10+k investment! Be the first to do so, and then......do be honest enough to report back with the results.Be prepared to eat a big helping of crow, with a dessert of humble pie a la mode... :(
There must be a less obtrusive way to protect company products than aggravating the customers.
Must there? If there is such, surely over the past decade+ someone would have come up with one were that true... :(

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Guest veeray

Quite honestly I find it odd when someone who buys a product for $60 and can't be bothered to register the product in order to ask for support.

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Guest jahman
Fine, Jahman! Go ahead and invest several years of development time, and risk your $10+k investment! Be the first to do so, and then......do be honest enough to report back with the results.Be prepared to eat a big helping of crow, with a dessert of humble pie a la mode... :LMAO:Must there? If there is such, surely over the past decade+ someone would have come up with one were that true... :(
OK, here's the challenge then: You name the product and then I'll post the torrent URL right back here, so we can see how great anti-piacy works. Are you up to it?Cheers,- jahman.

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Must there? If there is such, surely over the past decade+ someone would have come up with one were that true... :(
I unfortunately have to accept that any commercial work that I produce can and probably will be "pirated", as it's already happen. But while "anti-piracy" efforts are difficult and bothersome to the consumer, "pirate-identification" isn't. I had posted and will re-post again on my (currently off-line) web site that any work that is pirated can be easily found and that it would take about 2 minutes for me to identify who had "shared" the product. I also posted that should someone "share" the work they would be named on the web site. That was not, nor will it be in the future, an idle threat.It should be understandable that I will not detail the simple protective measures in an open forum. But if the method might help other scenery-based developers combat piracy, or let's call it by it's proper name, THEFT, then I would be glad to outline the procedures for them via direct contact.Bottom line? I sleep a little better at night not having to worry about the thieves and the consumer who becomes an upstanding customer of mine is never inconvenienced.

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OK, here's the challenge then: You name the product and then I'll post the torrent URL right back here, so we can see how great anti-piacy works. Are you up to it?Cheers,- jahman.
I know of at least one product that isn't available via any torrents yet (no, I won't say what one)... though if you do a google you might think it were. So, just coming up with a URL doesn't prove anything. The vast majority of torrent links are fake sites set up to con people out of money and/or infect their computer.

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I know of at least one product that isn't available via any torrents yet (no, I won't say what one)... though if you do a google you might think it were. So, just coming up with a URL doesn't prove anything. The vast majority of torrent links are fake sites set up to con people out of money and/or infect their computer.
That’s the truth. Google has a fake torrent for anything you desire…including those things that don’t exist. Just sign here ;)

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I agree with the original post. I purchase and download my FSX Addon's but find the keys and reload process really annoying.All the software I bought is being pirated anyways so all those keys and licences are for nothing but to make life difficult for the people like myself who purchase this stuff.All that is happening is the ones who buy this stuff are inconvenienced while the pirates get a free ride.I also agree, Flight1 is the most annoying and have done the best job in inconveniencing their customer base. I stopped buying from them as well other then the Ultimate Traffic schedule updates.ORBX has acknowledged this issue recently and mentioned they may dump the keys all together acknowledging the keys do nothing but inconvenience the customers.

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I'm surprised to hear so many complaints about Flight1's wrapper. I always thought it was pretty easy, and if there was a problem the automated recovery system was easy to use.The ones I don't like are the manual resetting that require an email to someone, and then you wait for them to reply. That's a hassle, but since I started to properly back up my system I haven't needed to reinstall everything. And there's a lot.Cheers, SLuggy

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I therefore propose that developers themselves put their products free ofcharge on torrent servers, together with a URL where honest users like me(100% of software paid for) can pay for the software we use.
Do you actually practice what you propose? Do you leave your car and house unlocked when you leave them? Do you leave your property lying around where anyone can walk off with it? Do you leave notices around with your name and address saying "Help yourselves and send me the money later"?Of course you don't, so why should you expect others to do so?

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How anyone can struggle with flight1 is beyond me, do it with a key or just login into your flight1 account through the wrapper, is it really that difficult. I have all my installers, keys, reg codes and emails for all my addons backed up on an external HD just incase I should lose everything, and that took all of 15 mins to do. And for the guy that suggests everything should be uploaded to torrent sites, I could get a cracked version of any Microsoft OS, are you suggesting that Microsoft should follow suit? I'd bet there investors would be a tad put off! Or are you just suggesting that the developers in our small community should just give up trying to protect there product.

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Those of you who find re-installs to be too difficult need to take some responsibility and take a few minutes to create a backup install disk:1. Go spend a few $$ and buy 1 DVD-RW disk. It will already be in a plastic case so, no you won't need to spend a few extra cents for a case.2. Gather all the install files for your programs.3. Put the DVD in your drive and burn the install files to the disk.4. Gather all your key code mails or use Notepad to create one text document that lists the codes. You won't even need to type them, just copy and paste from your e-mails. No, you won't need Office or anything like that, so this is free and takes, oh 10 minutes or so.5. Now burn that file to the DVD.6. If you purchase new programs you can still use the same disk and add stuff to it. You can even add stuff to the license document and re-burn the file.7. Take a marker and write FS Programs on the disk and place it in the plastic case.8. Put the case with the DVD in it on the shelf right next to your FS disks.Now, there you are. You have everything in one place all ready for your re-installs. You won't need to e-mail a single person and wait for a response or depend on a companies server to hold your programs for you. Or you won't even need to pay for a backup service, what a concept!Yes, I know that sometimes backups can go bad and even disks can't be read from one computer to another, but most of these re-install issues can be solved if the owner takes a little bit of personal responsibility.

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Those of you who find re-installs to be too difficult need to take some responsibility and take a few minutes to create a backup install disk:1. Go spend a few $$ and buy 1 DVD-RW disk. It will already be in a plastic case so, no you won't need to spend a few extra cents for a case.2. Gather all the install files for your programs.3. Put the DVD in your drive and burn the install files to the disk.4. Gather all your key code mails or use Notepad to create one text document that lists the codes. You won't even need to type them, just copy and paste from your e-mails. No, you won't need Office or anything like that, so this is free and takes, oh 10 minutes or so.5. Now burn that file to the DVD.6. If you purchase new programs you can still use the same disk and add stuff to it. You can even add stuff to the license document and re-burn the file.7. Take a marker and write FS Programs on the disk and place it in the plastic case.8. Put the case with the DVD in it on the shelf right next to your FS disks.Now, there you are. You have everything in one place all ready for your re-installs. You won't need to e-mail a single person and wait for a response or depend on a companies server to hold your programs for you. Or you won't even need to pay for a backup service, what a concept!Yes, I know that sometimes backups can go bad and even disks can't be read from one computer to another, but most of these re-install issues can be solved if the owner takes a little bit of personal responsibility.
Yes I do all of these things but the problem is I move back and forth from Toronto to Wellington, New Zealand.Right now I am currently in Vancouver enroute to New Zealand. This trip I saved my FSX backups in three places just in case.One is on a hard drive packed away in a Rubbermaid case with my Saitek Controllers. The other is rolled up in a pair of Levis Jeans in my luggage. The third is stored on my laptop that I am taking as carry on.It is just a lot of added stress if you lose a copy so I have three copies for this trip. There is also the ‘what if’ scenarios that roll through your head. I don’t like saving to DVD’s as they are more easily smashed, cracked or damaged compared to a hard drive. A hard drive wrapped in Anti-static and bubble wrap works the best when transporting. A lot of our money gets invested in this and I think John Venema has the right approach lately in talking about dumping the Keys all together on his products. They do nothing for the people who purchase the products but inconvenience them and the pirates crack the keys anyways. So why are the developers going to great lengths to inconvenience their customer base.With the ORBX stuff if I lost them on the journey I could download them again from my account at the store where I purchased them and if John dumps the keys as he says he may do then that would mean reinstalling would be easy for me if I lost any of that stuff over the pacific on the way to New Zealand. Flight1 would be more of a problem as I would be reinstalling them in a different place and I would have to spend a lot of time updating all that information as I am in different locations around the world. So they get low marks in my books for the amount of time required. And the pirates cracked their codes anyways so it is all for nothing. I think what it comes down to is you spend $1000’s of dollars on these things and you need to create a system to store the different keys and match them to the different files…etc But at the end of the day the pirate copies work better to reinstall as they are cracked. So what was the point in doing all of this in the first place. I am not the only one who travels with their FSX stuff as others do it too. I talk to a lot of Soldiers who take their FSX rigs over to Iraq or Afganistan and have commented on how popular FSX becomes in the barracks. I got the idea of traveling with the Rubbermaid Case from those guys as some of them do it too. Most of my ideas for traveling with FSX comes from these guys actually. Right now my worse case scenario is the Airline losing my luggage and my case, and my laptop going on the fritz at the same time. I'll be back home in New Zealand later this week so hopefully it all gets through OK :(

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Fine, Jahman! Go ahead and invest several years of development time, and risk your $10+k investment! Be the first to do so, and then......do be honest enough to report back with the results.Be prepared to eat a big helping of crow, with a dessert of humble pie a la mode... :LMAO:Must there? If there is such, surely over the past decade+ someone would have come up with one were that true... :(
I think the point is missing here. Your problems as a developer are not my problem as an end user. So why not instead thank us for our business. Ford Motor Company doesn't include their customer base in the FMEA process. It is not the customers problems. This topic is one that has obviously becomed flawed. The keys do nothing but inconvencience the end user and some of us are now questioning the reasoning behind it as they don't work. I don't think their will ever be a solution as pirate software goes back to the days of the MITS Altair 8800 punch cards. No one solved piracy back then and their are no solutions today.

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Theft of anything is everyone's problem.If cars didn't get stolen, insurance rates would be lower. Why do you think hot cars cost more to insure? Do you think it costs less to insure a put-put? Do you think that if a Ford was never stolen, they would have the need to include anti-theft devices? Who do you think pays for that? Not Ford.If houses and businesses didn't get broken into, less police would be needed and your taxes might actually go down.If higher priced items didn't get shoplifted, stores would not need anti-theft systems, in store security, cameras everywhere you turn. Who do you think pays for all of that? Not the stores.If software didn't get stolen, anti-theft systems would not need to be implemented. These systems did not just suddenly fall out of the sky either. Someone(s) has written porcedures for this to come to be and whether it be programming time, a computer, a server, that cost, small as it may seem, is passed on to you, the customer.You don't have a clue to know if keys work or not, as only one group of people know that, and it's sure not you. And no one in the software businees is looking for a %100 success rate. We do however strive to get as close to that mark as possible.

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Theft of anything is everyone's problem.
All true but things I will never think about. Especially considering I live in the South Pacific. I refuse to live that paranoid North American lifestyle, I'll leave that for those who are in it.I think I will do the Milford Walk when I get back to New Zealand and not think about any of those things. So therefore it IS NOT EVERYONES PROBLEM :( Thank-you for those products you guys work on but I do not share your stress

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OK, here's the challenge then: You name the product and then I'll post the torrent URL right back here, so we can see how great anti-piacy works. Are you up to it?
You obviously missed my (somewhat sarcastic) point.I'm challenging YOU to risk YOUR investment, not someone elses!Would you be willing to risk your $10,000+ investment of time and resources just to test out your "theory?" I seriously doubt that you would... :( Since the "fake torrents" have already been mentioned, I can tell you right now that I know of at least one so-called "torrent" that showed up several days before the product was even available! For that matter, there are "torrent links" for products which don't even exist... :(

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I think the point is missing here. Your problems as a developer are not my problem as an end user. So why not instead thank us for our business. Ford Motor Company doesn't include their customer base in the FMEA process. It is not the customers problems.
Wow... you really have an absurdly narrow view. Without any copy protection, the product is pirated immediately. So "Mr. End User" piracy is your problem because when it gets to a certain level... the developer quits. That happens enough, you have nothing to purchase as there will be no developers. So... why don't you stop and say thank you to the developers for even bothering to put up with such sad behavior from customers and non-customers alike? After all, many pirated products were purchased by the person who pirated them to the rest of the world.
This topic is one that has obviously becomed flawed. The keys do nothing but inconvencience the end user and some of us are now questioning the reasoning behind it as they don't work. I don't think their will ever be a solution as pirate software goes back to the days of the MITS Altair 8800 punch cards. No one solved piracy back then and their are no solutions today.
The 'keys' do work. You have 'keys' to your motor vehicle. It doesn't prevent the vehicle from being stolen, but it reduces the chance that you'll step our your front door and find your vehicle gone. 'Keys' for software works the same way... it doesn't prevent piracy... but it does reduce it. A lot.

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Guest jahman
The 'keys' do work. You have 'keys' to your motor vehicle. It doesn't prevent the vehicle from being stolen, but it reduces the chance that you'll step our your front door and find your vehicle gone. 'Keys' for software works the same way... it doesn't prevent piracy... but it does reduce it. A lot.
So you have a hundred cars? ROTFLMAO!And all your car keys work the same or does every maker implement their "keys" in a different way?Yo! Developers! LISTEN-UP! Legitimate Users (those who actually put money in your pockets) are complaining!So PUHLEASE don't treat us like we're idiots (and even if we were, it's really bad commercial practice to do so).Cheers,- jahman.

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So you have a hundred cars? ROTFLMAO!And all your car keys work the same or does every maker implement their "keys" in a different way?Yo! Developers! LISTEN-UP! Legitimate Users (those who actually put money in your pockets) are complaining!So PUHLEASE don't treat us like we're idiots (and even if we were, it's really bad commercial practice to do so).Cheers,- jahman.
Would you like to answer the question I asked you in post #13?

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As a user I understand why causal copy protection is needed.It takes such a small effort on my part to cooperate against piracy. I figure, without copy protection the complex add-ons I like just wouldn’t get made.You should also consider using more donationware.This is a great system that has no keys, allows users to pay, and doesn’t restrict them in any way.For a user like yourself – this is a win-win.

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Wow... you really have an absurdly narrow view. Without any copy protection, the product is pirated immediately. So "Mr. End User" piracy is your problem because when it gets to a certain level... the developer quits. That happens enough, you have nothing to purchase as there will be no developers. So... why don't you stop and say thank you to the developers for even bothering to put up with such sad behavior from customers and non-customers alike? After all, many pirated products were purchased by the person who pirated them to the rest of the world.The 'keys' do work. You have 'keys' to your motor vehicle. It doesn't prevent the vehicle from being stolen, but it reduces the chance that you'll step our your front door and find your vehicle gone. 'Keys' for software works the same way... it doesn't prevent piracy... but it does reduce it. A lot.
Like I said. It is an issue but not one I would ever worry about. I am just an end user and happy with most things. Today I have been walking around Wellington Harbour in New Zealand and it is a beautiful summer day. I am enjoying it to the fullest so I would hardly call that a narrow view.Lifes to short so go out and live it :(

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