Imagine if every Ford car used the same physical key. It would be pretty easy to steal Fords. If you had a Ford key, you could drive off in any Ford you found. While this sounds crazy it’s not unheard of: some industrial equipment shares keys for convenience. For example, I happened to learn recently that all Kubota L series tractors use the exact same key. Since a would-be criminal stealing one of those tractors could only make his getaway at the blinding speed of about 12 mph, theft concerns are less of an issue.
Duplicate keys would be an issue for consumers, but less so for manufacturers. Now imagine anyone who wanted a new Ford could duplicate the exact car their neighbor had, for free! Imagine a dealership selling those bogus cars, rather than the “real” ones.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet this is exactly what the software industry has been facing since the beginning of the PC era. PC software was easy to copy and distribute, compared to mainframe software which usually required some direct customer support, making illegal copying harder to go undetected.
I remember clearly some of the earliest attempts to prevent illegal software piracy—very early versions required the user to insert the original floppy disk to run the software. If I remember correctly, there was a game that required you to use colored glasses to see hidden codes in the user manual. And I remember the absolute frustration when a perfectly legal copy of a product wouldn’t run because of a glitch in the anti-piracy paradigm.
In my opinion the new CodeMeter CmStick/C dongle eliminates the last objections to preventing piracy. It’s so tiny you can leave it connected to a laptop and never worry about it sticking out too far or getting damaged. You would only need one because it can store licenses from hundreds of ISVs. And it provides uncrackable levels of security.
What’s not to like?