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Justin Toposim

Am I a pirate or a victim?

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Hi everyone,I sent an email to Cloud9 asking if there were any links to upgrades for their Xclass World Landclass program as I purchased a CD back in May of 2007 and installed it on a new computer which I bought solely to run FSX.I received a reply where they said there is no upgrade availble but they have noticed through a check of thier server logs that my license has been used on 5 different occasions on different hardware addresses. I am not completely sure of the wording as I am at work at the moment but it really bothers me and I would like to get an answer from someone as to what they meant.I am guessing they have politely said that I have either pirated thier software or that my computer which I thought was secure has been accessed somehow. I am awaiting a reply from Cloud9 but in the meantime would anyone like to comment?Thanks,

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I've never heard of a company divulging information like that out to it's customers, even if it is in private, as I would have though it puts them at risk of the exact thing you are implying - a sort of reverse defamation/false accusation scenario. You may have just reinstalled and upgraded lots of times. Very strange.

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Did you install the product more than once before this reinstal? What they are telling you is that your license has already been used 5 times with different hardware. If you did NOT change hardware before buying your new computer or if you did not install it 5 times already, it seems someone else (or even more people) got a hold on your serial (or whatever)... Up to now it seems you only installed it twice, with different hardware (your old computer and your new one), so three installments are suspicious...

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Hi fellas,Thanks for replying. I installed the program via CD (which I cannot find at the moment) only the one time onto a new computer. I am awaiting a reply from Cloud9 who are located in Europe and there is a bit of a language barrier so I thought in the meantime that I would post here on our forum. I recall they mentioned that I have gone against the license agreement and if this continues my license will be blacklisted. Anyway I will post if I get more info.

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I wouldn't bother with this landclass anyway. They never update it anymore and haven't in at least a year afaik and it was never accurate to begin with. FSG is the best landclass as far as accuracy. Go with them.

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Where did you purchase the CD? Did it come from them, or did you get it on EBAY or something like that? If it's the latter, there is a good chance it is a pirated copy, that was resold. If it came direct from Cloud9 it looks like they got a problem in their record keeping system.

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Oh, I'm not so sure about that, it all depends on the area.I actually prefer Cloud9 as it is the most accurate within the areas I fly. I also have Scenery Tech's, FSGenesis', and Ultimate Terrain's landclass products. To be honest, FSGenesis' landclass would be the last I would use out of the others.No slam at all intended towards FSGenesis; I've been using their products for years, and still do.

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If you didn't give it out then you're not a pirate, simple as that.My guess is that someone hacked their serial code system and randomly came upon yours. I had that with a copy of Battlefield Vietnam. Some hacker had used my cd key before I even bought the game and it wouldn't let me log on. I sent probably 10-15 emails to EA, never got a response, needless to say I was a bit ticked off.That said I'm sure piracy hurts FS Developers and I'd say they have every right to investigate suspicious use of various keys, but they shouldn't start by immediately pointing the finger at someone, as I'm sure the real owner often has little to do with it.This just goes to show that piracy is not a victimless crime, not only does it hurt the developer, it hurts legitmate buyers too.

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No - the Cloud9 reply indicates the MAC address of the individual network card. "5 different occasions on different hardware addresses"The installs had to be done from a computer/ computers with 5 different network cards.Tracking the MAC address is easy and much more reliable/ unique than IP.Either there serial coding scheme has been broken, or the CD key/ code has been shared with other people.The CD itself does not have to be copied or shared, just someone see, write down and use the code.This happens a lot in colleges and high schools - your 'friends' write down the codes for software you have purchased and use it to activate pirated copies.

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FSG is based on google earth and every single location I've tried with it matches right up to the sat photos. In the DC area it is spot on. Sequioa, devils tower, Chicago, spot on. Cloud9...not so much. A few months back I did a cross country from Elkins Wv. to Houston, Tx. totally VFR using nothing but sectionals and I'll be danged if the entire trip wasn't 100% accurate with placement of all textures and autogen when using the fsg landclass. Everything, and I mean everything matched right up to the sectionals. It truly amazed me. Maybe for Europe cloud9 is very good, but for areas in the USA I have yet to find anywhere where their landclass was accurate to sat photos or charts. The fact that they haven't updated it in eons also tells me that they have most likely washed their hands of it. Hope you workout your piracy issue but I would highly recommend the fsg landclass if you want USA accuracy.

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FSG hasn't updated their landclass in 'eons' either.Landclass is relatively cheap, I recommend getting them all, the testing for yourself, but every location can be different, and everyone seems to have a favorite to use based on the areas the are familiar with. There is no 'absolute' statement regarding 'one over another' here...use what is best for you, but please, allow others to make up their own mind with all the info available to them.BTW, none of them are '100% accurate', far from it, and pretty much an impossibility, but they are much closer that what we had a few years back, and even in FS9 (where I used FSGenesis landclass exclusively)....no doubt.

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Or someone used a key generator and posted that particular key on some pirate websites.

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Justin, Holger and others have explained many timesThere are two ways to do landclass - (1) source data and (2) manually from observation.The US government provided source data is woefully out of date. It is OLD and there is not a real hope the government will update it soon. It's useful enough for its major purpose, which is not Flight Simulator.No one has enough time or money to manually the entire United States, or any other large country.The Chile scenery project which we all see and complain about is what it takes to update landclass from satellite photos.Landclass is always going to be a best guess except in a few local cases.The nice thing is that SBuilderX makes updating local landclass pretty easy from satellite photos. I've done most of Columbia County & Lafayette County Arkansas and northern Bossier Parish & Webster Parish in Louisiana - makes my home town area look real good.

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I've been on XClass since it came out. Fantastic product. I think people seem to suffer from too much FSGenesis "hype".

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Hello again and thanks for the replies everyone. Below is my exchange with Cloud9 and take from it what you will, the latest reply from myself is at the top. I purchased a copy directly from Cloud9 and received a mailed copy of Xclass World from Italy last year. On a side note; I had to reinstall Flight 1's Level D 767 and I went throught the process of having to regenerate my key and it went off without a hitch.Hello Mario,Thanks for clarifying and I am less worried now that you have explained how the license and hardware is logged. Yes, I just recently changed to a new video card so that will explain a different hardware profile for the one time. I was fairly certain that there was not an xclass.exe on my computer but that did not explain to me why there were no less than 5 installations logged by your server and it still does not make sense to me, but alas that is the world of computers.I do not like however, how Elio toned his reply to me as he suggested something completely different and as you stated the reason for which different hardware ID's will show was "clearly explained in the guide installed with the product." So why did Elio not state that?I feel that I have been accused of something that I am not even close to having committed which is piracy, as I have spent over USD $1500 for FS9 addons in the form of downloads and other software and close to USD $600 including $40 for Xclass World for FSX since last May.I understand as a former business owner myself the need to protect a companies intellectual property. However, jumping to conclusions based on a simple request is unfortunate.Regards,Robert Quoting sales :> For CD products the installer is obviously on the CD and on the PC you can> have the installed software only. Nobody else, even accessing your PC, can> install the product copying the file found on your machine. We said the> license has been installed on different hardware IDs and if you change a> components of your PC or you format it, the hardware ID changes. This is> clearly explained in the guide installed with the product.> > The server and the CD printing/shipping service are handled by one of the> most important world ecommerce company and the system is absolutely automatic> and error free so nobody else can know the product's serial number sent to> you.> > Regards> > Mario Arillo> ------------------> sales department> www.fscloud9.com> > *********************************************> NOTE: replying to this message or in case of further> communications, please do not change the message> subject and do not remove the previous text.> *********************************************> > > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: maxam@ > To: sales > Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:29 AM> Subject: Re: cloud9: order > > > Hello Elio,> > Thanks for the quick reply. > > I was looking through my computer and could not find an installer which to> me means that I received a CD, is that correct? And without an installer how> could someone install your program?> > As far as the installation went I installed the Cloud9 Xclass program on or> about May 16, 2007 only after I installed FS Genesis and that is the only> time I had installed either program and never since. What dates do your> server show as the license being installed and can you tell from which> country or from whom other than myself was the licence being used?> > If it is the case where someone has accessed my computer where FSX is> installed (not this one) then I will have to contact my internet provider and> tell them that somehow someonce got through the firewall.> > I do not understand how if I only have a CD can my license be installed> with different hardware more than once. The only way is for someone to make> copies of the original CD. That is called pirating software and let me tell> you that I have friends and family that are involved in the music industry> and I am against any form of pirating and any music title that I have on my> computer is from a CD that I purchased in a store or online or was given to> me from the music artist themselves.> > I am really concerned and I would like to get to the bottom of this. > > Regards,> Robert > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: sales > To: Rob > Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:14 AM> Subject: cloud9: order > > > Hello,> we are sorry but there are no copies or download links we can send. If> you have lost the CD the only way is a new purchase.> > From the server we also have seen that your license has been installed 5> times in different hardware ID. We remember that this is not allowed because,> as you know, a single license allows a single working copy and in case of> further multiple activation logged by the server the license will be> permanently blacklisted.> > Regards> > Elio Brambilla> ------------------> sales department> www.fscloud9.com> > *********************************************> NOTE: replying to this message or in case of further> communications, please do not change the message> subject and do not remove the previous text.> *********************************************> > > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: Rob > To: sales@fscloud9.com > Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:41 PM> Subject: Order > > > Hello,> > My name is Robert and I purchased the Xclass World CD on April> 16, 2007. > > I was looking through my email folder to see what FSX programs needed> updating and saw that I had ordered the cd last year and as there was a link> to the Xclass forum I noticed some discussion regarding updates to the> program.> > I am unable to find the installer or the CD that you sent me and I am> wondering if I could order a copy so that I may have a backup.> > Please let me know if this is possible and what the cost would be for> you to send a CD by mail as I am not in a great hurry to receive the files as> I already have them installed and running in FSX.> > Thanks,> Robert

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"... makes my home town area look real good."Is that Minden, or Ruston?

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Taylor Arkansas, and high school in Springhill. I won't tell you what we think of people from Minden.

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>Hi everyone,>I am awaiting a reply from>Cloud9 but in the meantime would anyone like to comment?I think there must have been a big misunderstanding between you, Cloud9 support, and everyone else here on this post. I'm really surprised why Cloud9 support replied to you in such way: the only explanation I have, is that a support guy was probably too fast answering, and copied a reply that was intended for another user and another product.The reason is simple:XClass products DO NOT USE hardware activations at all! I think I should know something about this, because Cloud9 uses the sales system I have designed, under license, and I assure you that the XClass series works differently, there's no registration anywhere of your serial number or your hardware config. You can freely reinstall as many times as you wish without worrying about hardware changes, online activations. This IS valid for ALL Cloud9 products that comes as a Trial version with a free download, but NOT for XClass! The only copy protection it's your serial number, you just need that one to install the product, but that is not checked anywhere against anything, and the fact you installed it, and on how many machines, is not recorded anywhere. It's quite easy to check this, because you can successfully install XClass without any Internet connection, not even the first time.About your request for updates, I *think* the XClass files sold on CD are already updated to the last version available from Cloud9, that's why Cloud9 probably told you there are no updates, not because you are not eligible for an update, but because you don't need one, at this time. However, I might be mistaken and for some XClass products (XClass World CD it's just ALL Cloud9 XClasses sold together on CD), you might find a newer version online. You can check which version you have by having a look of the file TIME for files. The file TIME will tell you the version, and CD version can be updated using the incremental updates on Cloud9 site. So, for example, if you have XClass US version 1.02, you CAN use the online updater from 1.02 to 1.03, if you install the CD first.So, I hope that answers the question about activation and updates.Now, you requested how to reinstall the product ? You don't have to do anything special: just insert the CD, type your serial, and install.At this point, I have to ask: have you lost the CD ?Because, in this case, I'm afraid you are screwed, and you can't blame Cloud9 for this, the same you can't blame Microsoft if you lose your FSX discs, they will certainly not send you download replacement links for it.And, this is a side effect of NOT using the activation system! With the activation system Cloud9 normally uses, you don't have to worry about making a backup of the installer, or losing a CD because, THANKS to activation, the installer is always freely available as Trial and you can activate it using your license key, the servers store your license fare more safely than you could (redundant servers, professional 3rd parties with infrastructures far larger than any small FS could afford, etc.).Unfortunately, the XClass series are the ONLY Cloud9 products that don't use any activation. While this has the convenience that you don't have to worry about activations, hardware changes and such, it ALSO means you HAVE to keep either your installer OR you CD safe! NOTE, for these product that do not have a freely available Trial and not use activation, Esellerate (the ecommerce provider Cloud9 uses) offers also a "download insurance" service, it's something like 5$, and you have the right to redownload the product if you lose the installer, and it's entirely optional. Want to save 5$ ? That's fine, but you have to take care of the backup yourself.Of course, the download insurance doesn't really applies to XClass on CD, the CD IS your backup, and it's not even protected, so you are free to do any backups you whish, without having to buy the download insurance.I hope that would answers your question, although I'm still quite surprised of the Cloud9 reply.However, assuming the misunderstanding with Cloud9 will eventually clear up (which I'm sure it will), I wanted to use this occasion to dispel some common misunderstanding with product activation: you are running into this issue because this particular product DOESN'T use activation!If it did, you could have used the automated reinstall procedures provided by Esellerate to Reinstall from the server without even involving Cloud9 (since you were very well outside the 90 days automatic activation reclaim), and you could have re-downloaded your full product without problems, if it was available as Trial+activation.I think the whole mess has started because, since Cloud9 *normally* use activation, you assumed that this is the case for all their product, and you need their help for reinstalling on a new machine, without realizing that doesn't apply for XClass! I agree that Cloud9 support reply didn't helped clearing the issue, I guess even THEY made a confusion between products or customers. Do you also have, by chance, other Cloud9 products that DO use activation, and perhaps they searched your order using your name only, that's why the mentioning of having activated on 5 machines ? I'm only guessing here...

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>FSG is based on google earthQuite doubtful a Landclass product could be "based" on Google Earth.>in the USA I have yet to find anywhere where their landclass was >accurate to sat photosHere's you are:mifflinB.jpgEven if it matches nicely with Google Earth, I would never say that it's "based" on Google Earth.>The fact that they haven't updated it in eons also tells me that they have most likely washed their hands of it.It can also means the product doesn't need any significant updates, the screenshot I have posted is from US 1.01, last release it's 1.03, this means the product got updated 3 times after release.If you think it still has problems, you are welcomed to post on Cloud9 forum, possibly with coordinates and/or screenshots, signaling the problem, something that almost nobody did "for eons".

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Actually, the source data for the FSG FSX Landclass product is the 2001 NLCD, which seems to be pretty accurate. Google Earth is one of the references I've used to cross-check certain areas.-------Justinhttp://www.fsgenesis.netHigh Quality Scenery for FS200x

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FSD pulled the same crap on me a few years ago. They said I had installed my software on up to 10 computers all with differant Hardware addresses. It was only ever installed on one PC. When ever I re-installed windows or added or removed hardware it created a new Hardware address And I was basically accused of piracy. So how is re-installing piracy? And then some of these developers wonder why people steal?

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>So how is re-installing piracy?>And then some of these developers wonder why people steal? Have you read my explanation, or not ?This product doesn't have any activation to begin with, the whole thing was a total misunderstanding about how that product worked between the original poster and Cloud9.Also, the Activation system Cloud9 uses (again, NOT related to this product) it's not so fragile that any hardware component will change the hardware id: only major ones like mainboard or cpu will do that, the video card, for example, can be changed without triggering an hardware change.And, Esellerate has auto-reclaim of activations every 90 days. This means, when an hardware change is detected, if you have activations older than 90 days, the older ones will be forgotten and will not count anymore so, the new hardware change will pass. And it's done entirely automatically on the Esellerate servers, you don't have to email to the developer *asking* for it, the only time you would ever need to contact them, is if you want to EXCEED your licence terms, meaning you want additional activations after the provided ones, without waiting the expiration for an older one.With this method, Esellerate also acts as a backup, even in the event the original developer went out of business because, in that case, the worse it can happen, there will be no one to mail to asking to *exceed* license terms, but the auto-reclaim every 90 days will stll work on the Esellerate servers.So, it's wrong to compare Esellerate (the system Cloud9 uses) to other activation systems, because they are not the same.And, it's also wrong to compare how Cloud9 uses that system to make a judgement on the system itself, because other developers using it, like Aerosoft, or even ourselves (FsDreamTeam) have configured it with more favourable licens terms. Cloud9 gives (I think) 2 simultaneous activations every 90 days, Aerosoft gives 3 and we are giving 6 activations per order. This means, before having to mail us asking for a reactivation of Zurich, you would need to do more than 6 major hardware changes every quarter. In fact, the real world has proven this quota is more than enough for everyone, since right now, we had only ONE reactivation request for Zurich in the 4 month it has been out (that of course was immediately granted), but that user had a special multi-boot config and a several unexpected hardware failures, that can't be consider the norm.So please, do not spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about activation just because you had a bad experience with another developer that used an activation-based system. In fact, the only thing that this story proves is that, if the XClass product WAS using Activation, instead than simple CD+serial, the original poster would probably been able to sort out everything by himself, being able to freely download the installer and reinstalling on his new machine, by simply following the server-assisted reactivation procedure.Unfortunately, since it's not technically possible to link activation to a Landclass product, a more traditional serial+installer method have to be used for that one. That of course, it's easier for pirates to steal, but it's more risky for the user, because it puts the responsibility to make backups and store installers on the user.Still, I agree Cloud9 made a mistake with that reply but, since they mentioned hardware changes for a product that doesn't use any activation system, I'm sure they simply confused either customers or product, or even both...

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>Actually, the source data for the FSG FSX Landclass product>is the 2001 NLCD, which seems to be pretty accurate. Google>Earth is one of the references I've used to cross-check>certain areas.Exactly like XClass, NLCD 2001, of course downsampled from the 30m originals, and that's just for the base terrain.Other dataset were layered on top of it and processed, using a combination of GIS (I think we even use the same GIS you are using, Manifold, I was a Manifold user for years) and software we wrote to do things like cities buffers for suburbs, or cross-merging with historical precipitation database to guess both seasons LC files AND adding more differentiations to better use the FSX clases, find dry/green areas, etc. But I don't think I need to tell you how it's done, because you'll know it for sure...That's why I wonder how one could find huge differences between the two products, considering the source of data. Apart from some differences between the choice of mapping between NLCD to FSX clases, the general accuracy should be basically the same...And, yes, Google Earth IS useful to check here and there if you are doing something drastically wrong OR, to post comparison screenshots to show up the product..

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