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Author Topic: Complaint: Softwrap (nasty eula)  (Read 5181 times)
scancode
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« on: September 19, 2009, 10:01:44 PM »

I was about to test-drive PCDJ Dex, and was presented with this abusive EULA:

5. Installation. The Wrapped Title can only be installed once on the User's computer, and hard drive failure, or installation on a new computer, may render the Wrapped Title unusable. In such an event, the User must phone the Softwrap toll free number and show proof of purchase via a transaction number to unwrap the Title for further use or alternatively the User may show proof of purchase online via the Softwrap wizards and transaction number in order to unwrap the Title for further use. This will only be done once for the transfer to a new computer or disk, and thereafter the licence must be re-purchased.

SAY WHAT?

Sorry guys, but I won't spend $200 in software I won't be able to reinstall!
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 01:25:01 AM »

yeah that is ridiculous.
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f0dder
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 05:29:59 AM »

mad

Piracy - because being honest only gets you screwed over (and over and over and...)
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2009, 09:23:34 AM »

OMG...Softwrap? Really? Flashback to 2004....I didn't know any company used that archaic dinosaur anymore. It didn't take long for the hackers/crackers/pirates to bust that protection scheme open with keygens, either, so I don't see how anyone in this day and age would consider it to be a viable protection strategy for their assets.

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Softwrap
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 07:17:09 AM »

Just to give you some feedback on Softwrap as the DRM has progressed as it needs to over time.

The EULA is in place and follows the legal lines for software installation.

The technology will allow you to purchase and activate on your PC and with the same license you can activate it two more times if your PC crashes or for any normal reason.

If you use up your two additional activations, you can simply email support@softwrap.com with your licensing details and they can re-set it to allow you to activate further times. The control is put on so that users cannot place their license details online for others to activate for free or for them to purchase 1 license and activate the software on any number of PC's in their office.

We are not looking to make owning software difficult and if you have an internet connection activation takes 5 seconds. Unfortunately there are just too many people who share keys and software illegally and legitimate companies are losing a lot of money which they spend on development and marketing and deserve to earn this back.

I would like to think that Softwrap looks after customers who use their DRM and our support team are friendly and efficient in doing this. Our intentions are not to penalise the honest users and work hard to keep our solution very user friendly.
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f0dder
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 07:48:45 AM »

Yeah well, good thing there's 0-day groups who are constantly targeting crap like this. Too bad that you have to go that route to get proper fair use of products you've paid for, but rather that than getting screwed over.

If you really feel you need a draconian DRM scheme, at least allow users for no-questions-asked de+reactivation (as long as within reasonable limits). Of course software developers deserve getting paid for their work, but punishing honest users is not the way to go about it.
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- carpe noctem
Softwrap
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 07:55:34 AM »

They can re-activate 2 additional times without any questions. This is usually more than enough for those that change to a new PC or reformat their PC.

If they use up those licenses a simple email to support will get them back on track.

Unfortunately we cannot de-activate licenses remotely to free them up as that would require Softwrap to connect and change the user's PC which many would see as some kind of malware. It's  finding the balance which is hardest.
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scancode
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 08:00:57 AM »

If you use up your two additional activations, you can simply email support@softwrap.com with your licensing details and they can re-set it to allow you to activate further times. The control is put on so that users cannot place their license details online for others to activate for free or for them to purchase 1 license and activate the software on any number of PC's in their office.
Oh yeah? Where is that, in writing? Your EULA says only one reinstallation, and that's what counts.


Unfortunately there are just too many people who share keys and software illegally and legitimate companies are losing a lot of money which they spend on development and marketing and deserve to earn this back.

Ahh, I'd LOVE to believe that. Hello, those who pirate the software wouldn't have bought it in the first place.
Here's an easy guideline: if it's easier to get a pirated copy than it is to legally acquire the product, I (and most people) will pirate it.

Let's imagine Softwrap goes out of business, and activation servers are gone. With a pirated copy, my application would run Just Fine (tm). With a legitimate, "wrapped" copy, I'd be screwed.

Our intentions are not to penalise the honest users and work hard to keep our solution very user friendly.
thumbs up for the attitude,  thumb down for the implementation.

BTW, I see that finding [or making, *grin*] "unwrapped" versions of softwrapped applications is quite easy.
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Softwrap
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 08:07:21 AM »

Softwrap have been operating for more than a decade so I would hope that the services would continue. With most DRM companies, if they had to shut down their servers, I would assume and hope that the publishers using the DRM would immediately make available a new version for old customers to download and use so don't see this as a problem. You can do this with digital distribution as the costs are minor.

There are hackers trying to crack all DRM solutions almost everyday so essentially far more work being done to undo it than to ensure it is secure. We just have to do our best to curb the amount of piracy and also ensure the software remains user friendly. Those that pirate software will not get regular free upgrades or software support for those versions. There is also a large amount of pirated software that are also used to spread viruses so I would be a little careful when surfing for illegal software.
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app103
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2009, 08:36:19 AM »

I am a firm believer in just enough protection to keep honest people honest. Anyone else is going to be dishonest no matter what you do, and never buy, no matter how well you protect it.

A simple serial number that unlocks the application from trial to full version is all that is needed. The serial could be 12345 for every copy and be no less protected. When honest people are asked to buy to continue to use, they buy, no matter how little protection the software has, if they like the software they are using.

The strong arm tactics of DRM like yours just annoys honest people and turns them off, causing them to spend their money elsewhere. When companies using strong DRM like yours start selling less software, it's not piracy to blame, it's the DRM driving their customers away. Making the DRM even stronger doesn't bring them back. It just drives even more away. And you know this!

Of course I don't expect you to admit that, especially on a public forum. It would be crazy to think that you would give away the truth when your entire business model is built on selling developers a great big lie and trapping them into a vicious circle of ever increasing DRM leading to more loss of sales which you blame on piracy in order to sell them stronger DRM which causes them to lose more sales (lather, rinse, repeat). Revealing the truth would put you out of business.

People willing to pay for software do not pirate software, unless or until something forces them to. DRM doesn't make them willing to pay. Liking the software and feeling it's a good value makes them want to pay. They would rather use freeware, open source, or software with less DRM than pirate anything, when faced with the choice. The ones that do resort to pirating something are pushed into it. Your abusive and intrusive DRM turns some honest people into "criminals", ones that would never have thought to pirate anything before.

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Softwrap
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2009, 08:45:50 AM »

I really don't want to get into a debate about this as everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am sure that no matter what I would say it is not going to change yours.

I will add though that we haven't found in any case that adding our DRM to a publisher's software has reduced their sales so the DRM isn't losing any business. Those that generally pirate will continue to do so or find something else to pirate. Where our DRM helps is for casual piracy where people purchase a legit copy and pass it onto friends, family or work colleagues. Here we find that it does help increase sales.

We don't force our clients to use our DRM and they are free contractually to stop using us if they are not happy with the solution so no-one is trapped into anything. We offer a service which publishers are happy with and one that their customers are happy with.

There are always some who will complain no matter what. There are always some that will experience a technical issue whether there is DRM or not and they will complain. It's the nature of many people to vocalize the negatives and far rarer to vocalize the positives.

In any case - if you choose not to use any DRM protected software it is your choice to make but maybe some positive experiences will someday change your mind.
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scancode
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2009, 09:25:01 AM »

There are hackers trying to crack all DRM solutions almost everyday so essentially far more work being done to undo it than to ensure it is secure.
Yeah, crack a protector ONCE and you can crack most apps "protected" with it easily.

We just have to do our best to curb the amount of piracy and also ensure the software remains user friendly.

Hardcore DRM != User friendly

Those that pirate software will not get regular free upgrades or software support for those versions.

That's up to the programmer/publisher, nothing to do with Softwrap.

There is also a large amount of pirated software that are also used to spread viruses so I would be a little careful when surfing for illegal software.

YAY! Fear! Have you heard of scene releases?

plus what app said  Thmbsup.

-- added later --

There are always some who will complain no matter what. There are always some that will experience a technical issue whether there is DRM or not and they will complain. It's the nature of many people to vocalize the negatives and far rarer to vocalize the positives.

The problem here isn't a technical issue. It's simply about how the EULA states you will only recover your activation ONCE.

In any case - if you choose not to use any DRM protected software it is your choice to make but maybe some positive experiences will someday change your mind.

Hmm... Let's see... positive experiences with DRM.
mIRC
(Serial #+Online Activation)
EULA Notes: No limits on number of reinstalls.

Legit way: Click on register, pay, enter key, never hear from it again. I formatted a couple times, reinstalled with my key and it still validates.

Pirate way: find a working server-patch and keygen combo, generate a key, patch mirc exe, enter key, registered. Repeat with each new version.
XP Home
(CD-Key + MPA + WGA)
EULA Notes: No limits on number of reinstalls.

Legit way: Enter key, click activate online, magic ensues. After three formats in a short period, call toll free, ask for activation code, enter it, done.

Pirate way: Enter pirated key, find an activation crack, install it, hope it works, find an anti-wga crack, repeat with each WGA update.
Breakaway Live
(WinLicense + Online Activation + Hidden checks)
EULA Notes: No limits on number of reinstalls. (Do you see a trend here?)

Legit way: Click validate, enter key, never be bugged again.

Pirate way: Find a working crack, repeat with each update. (BTW, I've been unable to find a 100% working crack)
Audiosurf
(Steam)
EULA Notes: No limits on number of reinstalls. (Do you see a trend here?)

Legit way: Click purchase, click install, download and play.

Pirate way: Find an old beta version. Install a fake activation server. Modify your hosts file. Play.
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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2009, 10:00:56 AM »

Ya what's the big deal here.. strong DRMs do work and will deeply affect a company's bottom line. There's never an insufficient supply of users/whiners who don't give a damn of revenue of the software company or what the hell fair use is about in the eula -- if they can get away with it (be it piracy, abuse or whatever), there's simply no reason not to. Statistically speaking, "honesty, willingness to support developers..." all these factors are directly dependent on how well you implement DRM, that's just it, i don't care how ppl *claim* otherwise.

Take Blizzard's Starcraft II, irrc there're literally hundreds of thousands of signatured whiners out there already (and growing) against it DRM policies, but guess what Blizzard is in a perfect position now to boost sales thru strong DRM, not piratable/abusable weaklings like Starcraft I.

I don't know what softwrap makes, but I bet if there were an easy alternative to Softwrap's stuff in question there probably wouldn't be such a debate in the first place -- end-users would just walk away because of the "annoyance". Looks like Softwrap is in a position to implement strong DRM w/o noticeably losing sales, why not protecting assets with strong DRM?

There's no such a thing as unreasonable drm eula agreement coz nobody points a gun at the end user to decide whether to agree to it or not.
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scancode
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 10:13:33 AM »

I don't know what softwrap makes, but I bet if there were an easy alternative to Softwrap's stuff in question there probably wouldn't be such a debate in the first place -- end-users would just walk away because of the "annoyance". Looks like Softwrap is in a position to implement strong DRM w/o noticeably losing sales, why not protecting assets with strong DRM?

Then do your research. Softwrap makes a crappy DRM system used by software publishers that don't know any bettter.

I find the fact that _this_ is your first post slightly amusing.
Oh well...
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 10:37:54 AM by scancode » Logged

lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2009, 10:33:14 AM »

heh, i'm not getting myself into this "first post" insinuation. I'm just saying the fact that you disagree with something does not mean the author/eula is "nasty". I think as someone like you who likely knows a fair bit about intricate issues like DRM *should* be mentally above and beyond this. No offense.

Have a nice day smiley
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scancode
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2009, 10:43:37 AM »

I'm just saying the fact that you disagree with something does not mean the author/eula is "nasty".

The EULA is, indeed, nasty. However, I never said the author is nasty.
The fact that they only allow a single reinstall can easily be seen as a plot to get more money from us.
(Hard drives DO break, you know?)
That alone is enough to tag it as nasty imo.

Have a nice day, you too smiley
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f0dder
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2009, 11:28:19 AM »

I obviously can't speak for everybody, but...

  • I've avoided software and music purchases because of DRM
  • Where "necessary" I apply cracks to legally purchased apps/games
  • A few of the pieces of apps/games I've registered was done mostly because thy weren't DRM-encumbered
  • I paid for a copy of NIN's even though it's available as a gratis download (even in 24bit/96KHz WAVE, which is higher than CD quality!)

I know several people who act the same way as myself. We might not be the majority of users, but I'm in the same camp as app103:
I am a firm believer in just enough protection to keep honest people honest. Anyone else is going to be dishonest no matter what you do, and never buy, no matter how well you protect it.

Unfortunately, I was also stupid enough to think "gee, this electronic download offer for Battlefield 2142 is pretty cheap" - but was it worth the insane amount of time I spent getting the thing working, because of it's vile DRM crap? I don't see myself as a computer illiterate, but it took me around two hours to figure everything out. And it's ludicruous to go to those lenghts, especially with a game whose main focus is online play; simply checking a game serial with key servers would be perfectly fine.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2009, 12:16:14 PM »

I don't know what softwrap makes

Then perhaps you'd best find out before you weigh in on the discussion, don't you think?

Just a thought. Wink

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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2009, 08:46:23 AM »

I always buy my software, tuck it away in a safe place, and run cracked/hacked versions. When I reinstall my system I don't want the fact of how many system reinstalls I may have done in the past affecting how I may use my purchased software now because, well....it's my purchased software. I'm the only one using it and only using it on one PC so kindly please, software authors and software-protection authors, butt out of my life.

It's a proven fact that a lot of DRM/copy-protection schemes adversely affect the stability of the system it is being run on. It is also a proven fact that often when a protection scheme has been stripped from an app (and especially a game) that mysterious crashes and performance-ruining stutters, etc. just go away.

If I buy my software, the author is being paid so it should not affect them one way or the other if I use a cracked version of their software. The protection scheme author has already been paid by the software author so it doesn't affect them, either as they have already been paid before the software even reached my hands.

It is interesting, however, how quickly a SoftWrap rep was attracted to this thread, though. They must spend a fair bit of time trawling the internet looking for detractors of their product.
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Softwrap
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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2009, 06:20:14 AM »

Actually I have a Google Alert send me links when our company name appears online to keep up-to-date contact with users of our software or anyone complaining in order to "better" the experience as you would with a focus group.

It also helps where someone posts a problem they are experiencing instead of emailing our support team for any assistance and we can still offer them support and hopefully leave information on a forum for others to find if they experience the same problem.

So this is nothing to do with publicity or any such thing.

I'm not sure how many other companies are prepared to do the same thing for essentially individuals with a problem but hopefully it will give off the message that we do care about the software consumers enough to ensure that everyone who purchases software with our DRM has a good experience and can get full use of the software they purchased.

Innuendo - I will agree with you when you say that DRM can affect the stability of a secured title because the software is developed without DRM in mind and only post production it is added. Adding any external new code to another product is likely to have some kind of affect. This occasionally happens but in our case this is fixed long before any public release of a title. There are rare occasions where this may still happen to users due to some strange system software or hardware setup but we then do our best to fix the issue for them or refund their purchase so they do not lose money for nothing. We are not trying to steal money from people.

I hope this is informative.
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40hz
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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2009, 08:09:21 AM »


I hope this is informative.

It was also a breath of fresh air.

I think both of your posts were.

And although many folks here will continue to disagree with your company's DRM policy and EULA terms, I think we can all respect its concerns, and appreciate your candor in explaining why your company's policies are the way they are.

Agreeing to disagree is the highest form of respect. Cool

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Innuendo
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2009, 02:56:03 PM »

There are rare occasions where this may still happen to users due to some strange system software or hardware setup but we then do our best to fix the issue for them or refund their purchase so they do not lose money for nothing. We are not trying to steal money from people.

Those remarks I made were in regard to DRM in general. I didn't mean to imply that those problems occurred when encountering SoftWrap. My experiences with your protection scheme are several years old, but I recall when I used something that was 'softwrapped' around 2004-2005 (or earlier!) the SoftWrap routines were only in the installer. Once the program was installed SoftWrap's job was done and wasn't present anywhere on the user's system, i.e. it was totally self-contained in the program installer.

I haven't had any recent encounters with your product so I don't know how much of that has changed.
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2009, 05:47:05 PM »

Thanks for your comments 40hz.

Innuendo - actually it's the software exe and not the installer that is secured but it's not important.

I appreciate the open discussion with you all.
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