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Author Topic: Unique Solution to Pirates  (Read 1944 times)

wraith808

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Unique Solution to Pirates
« on: October 23, 2015, 01:45:23 PM »
Just found out that the developer of uBar for Mac found a unique solution to Pirates.

The text of the article is below:

Quote
The Klingon Pirates

When I released uBar 2 last year, it wasn’t long before cracked copies started appearing on the internet. uBar costs $20, which is more than reasonable for the amount of work put into it and what it does. But there’s always people who feel entitled to your work, and proclaim “it should be $X”,  where X is the amount they arbitrarily have decided to be acceptable. That’s fair enough – nobody is forcing them to use uBar – but some people think that justifies pirating it. The “I’m pirating it because I don’t know if I like it enough to buy it” routine doesn’t work given the generous 4 week trial period. This is merely a case of people feeling entitled to other people’s work.

So a year ago, I decided to do something about it. Rather than change the protection mechanism and play cat and mouse with people that have nothing to do all day but crack software, I decided to play the long game, and have some fun while I was at it.

I made it so that if uBar detected that the registration mechanism was circumvented, after 10-15 hours it would begin substituting any app or window title with… Klingon.

I searched Google for “Klingon Dictionary”, and found a list of several hundred Klingon words. I then created a mechanism that would substitute the words of any sentence into a sentence with an equal number of random Klingon words. So “This is the title of a window” would become “Qus tay ngaS qlm lom wlv Qu'”, whatever that means.

So I implemented this system, and decided to wait and see what would happen. I figured the pirates wouldn’t suspect it had anything to do with a counter-piracy measure, but rather would assume it was a bug. They could solve it with a relaunch, but that would be annoying.

I was right. In fact, support emails began coming in from people who had the gall to actually request support when using a pirated copy of uBar.

It wasn’t who you would normally expect, and frankly, forgive, such as teens without any income. Many people have pirated high-end software in their youth, so I can empathize. The difference is that people with a conscience tend to do the right thing once they enter adulthood and earn a living. They understand that other people also earn their living writing the software they use, and that paying for what they use is what makes it work.

Instead, we got emails from grown adults using their corporate email addresses, replete with management job titles. These people actually pirated a $20 piece of software, and then had, again, the gall to email the uBar team for support. Example, with identifying information mercifully redacted:

Just reporting a bug. Every now and then the bar writes gibberish for the titles.

[image here]

These are Lotus Notes, Adium, Rdio. A re-launch of the application fixes the issue.

Kind regards,

[Redacted full name]
Development Manager
[Redacted company name]

[Redacted company address]
[Redacted company phone and fax]
I don’t know what “Mismoh pon” means in Klingon, but we can rest assured that Mr. Development Manager knows it’s Lotus Notes, which he may or may not have decided he didn’t have to pay for.

He got the boiler-plate response:

Dear [redacted],

As you are using a pirated copy of uBar, it is unavoidable that you must begin learning Klingon. It is the life you have chosen. Dujeychugh jagh nIv yItuHQo’!

Sincerely,

The uBar team
It’s been a year since this little experiment started, and it’s been interesting to say the least. uBar is used by thousands of Mac users every day, and I’m glad to conclude that the overwhelming majority are legitimate, paying customers who appreciate the effort put into it.

Qapla’!


rgdot

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2015, 02:14:50 PM »
 ;D

JavaJones

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 06:47:47 PM »
Cool idea!

- Oshyan

ewemoa

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2015, 12:11:24 AM »

Renegade

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2015, 12:40:02 AM »
Hm... Interesting. It's rather like old malware behaviour, so it is sort of, well, not sure how to describe it.

On the other hand, doing something like that could be a very interesting project.

Just thinking about my own software (link in sig below), my initial thoughts are to play back phrases and sound effects to make the user think that their computer is possessed by some kind of evil entity or demon.

  • Hail Satan
  • Kill your mother
  • Kill kill kill kill
  • It's on backwards, backwards, backwards, <echoing>
  • <door creaking>
  • <screaming in pain>
  • <stuttering> I s-s-s-sold h-h-him
  • Damnation comes
  • Darkness grows
  • Shave your head off
  • I'm behind you

Oh god... the horrible, terrible things that you could do. Watch a few Rob Zombie movies and let your imagination go nuts!

Make the screen flicker as you're doing all of that!

Put on "white noise" then fade in and out twisted demon faces that speak!

Have blood stop dripping down the screen!

Put a graphically disturbing pop-up with two buttons:

  • Delete all your files?
  • Sell your soul?

Play system sounds randomly, or dig into them and figure out some really nasty timings for them.

Oh, the fun you could have~!



Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2015, 08:41:58 AM »
Instead, we got emails from grown adults using their corporate email addresses, replete with management job titles. These people actually pirated a $20 piece of software, and then had, again, the gall to email the uBar team for support. Example, with identifying information mercifully redacted:
Emphasis is mine...
- carpe noctem

Stoic Joker

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2015, 01:48:00 PM »
Just thinking about my own software (link in sig below), my initial thoughts are to play back phrases and sound effects to make the user think that their computer is possessed by some kind of evil entity or demon.

  • Hail Satan
  • Kill your mother
  • Kill kill kill kill
  • It's on backwards, backwards, backwards, <echoing>
  • <door creaking>
  • <screaming in pain>
  • <stuttering> I s-s-s-sold h-h-him
  • Damnation comes
  • Darkness grows
  • Shave your head off
  • I'm behind you

Oh god... the horrible, terrible things that you could do. Watch a few Rob Zombie movies and let your imagination go nuts!



Okay... Ren, skipping past the fact that you obviously need fucking counseling... :D ...We should talk some time about a project that I've always wanted to try doing that combines the classic old Esheep prank with a network worm so the prank can be allowed to jump from machine to machine on the target network.

We could even team up and make a NANY out of it.

mouser

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 02:03:47 PM »
I just wanted to point out that i think its a terrible idea for software to do bad things to a user's computer or files if it suspects that it has been pirated.
Now in this case, it seems the author is just making his software malfunction, in ways that wouldn't cause loss of work, so i don't have a problem with it.

wraith808

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 02:19:08 PM »
I just wanted to point out that i think its a terrible idea for software to do bad things to a user's computer or files if it suspects that it has been pirated.
Now in this case, it seems the author is just making his software malfunction, in ways that wouldn't cause loss of work, so i don't have a problem with it.

Not bad things.  But even what Renegade is proposing isn't *bad* things.  It's not doing anything that is directed at anything other than the software itself.  Even popping up the dialog - he's not saying do anything.  But it will put a scare into them.

MilesAhead

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 04:00:49 PM »
I have mixed feelings.  I can understand the frustration of the developer.  The only software I ever tried to sell I saw cracks of it on the web as soon as two people had a cooy with the product key(if you classify a crack as someone just publishing the key or including it with the download. It was kind of an experiment.  Not a thorough attempt at copy protection.)  But wouldn't it be awful if the developer got a reputation as a lousy programmer if people thought these were genuine bugs?

OTOH when software has been completely abandoned for years and there is no way to buy a legitimate key, is it a public service to patch it and upload?  At least in US copyright law I think there is some stipulation that the copyright holder must take some measure to protect the copyright.  Not responding to many inquiries over time and not protesting the patch could well be considered abandoning the rights.

Shades of gray and line drawing is rarely easy I guess.  :)


ewemoa

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 05:21:56 PM »
I just wanted to point out that i think its a terrible idea for software to do bad things to a user's computer or files if it suspects that it has been pirated.

I tend to lean in this direction too -- are software developers so skilled that these features might not be buggy/problematic sometimes in unexpected damaging ways?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 05:32:20 PM by ewemoa »

mwb1100

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2015, 06:26:36 PM »
I agree with Mouser - it's fine as long as the bad behavior on crack detection doesn't destroy data.  But if I were the developer, instead of being a smart aleck  in my email response, I'd simply ask the person to provide registration details for support.  Was it Directory Opus that would display a message box with a cryptic error message that just had a number when it detected a cracked version was running, so when people would ask how to solve that error they could be asked to register the software?

And game developers also try to have fun with this kind of thing:

6 Hilarious Ways Game Designers Are Screwing Over Pirates
5 Hilarious Ways Game Designers Are Messing With Pirates


proton

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2015, 11:42:52 PM »
(moved)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 12:23:50 AM by proton »

Renegade

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2015, 04:44:57 AM »
I just wanted to point out that i think its a terrible idea for software to do bad things to a user's computer or files if it suspects that it has been pirated.

That pretty much goes without saying. There's a pretty big line between scaring the piss out of someone and actually screwing up their computer.

But, like... c'mon... Blood dripping down a white static screen with a translucent, demonic face muttering things like "behind you" over top of radio static noise and a popup asking whether you want to sell your soul? That's some lovely Hallowe'en stuff right there~! ;D 

But that's all really "in your face". Why not be a bit more subtle... go after their sanity...

Imagine it's just a programming problem.

1. Discover whether they have speakers or headphones, and what kind?
2. Use 3D audio to play sounds in different locations - to their left. Slightly behind them. Over their shoulders...
3. Schedule playback of different audio in different locations over months with the intensity building slowly.

For the audio, you can use lower resolutions for smaller file sizes and automatically get that old radio static built in to a degree.

Oh... the fun just thinking of it~! ;D

4. Slowly work in video, like TV white noise flashing, or faint overlays of faces or horrific scenes that fade in/out.
5. Schedule the video similar to the audio with increasing intensity.
6. After a year or so have a final climax if they haven't already called in an exorcist~! ;D

And think of what you could do with their webcam! Record bits of their own audio then process it to get useful tidbits to play back. Just how creepy would it be to hear yourself? Disjoint audio that picks out single words to play back? "He... sleeps..." The later, "He... rises"?

In the end, with enough imagination, it would probably be far kinder to simply go after their systems rather than their minds. :P


MWAHAHAHAHAAHA~!


;D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

proton

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2015, 04:05:59 AM »
(moved)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2015, 09:16:35 AM by proton »

mouser

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Re: Unique Solution to Pirates
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2015, 07:00:39 AM »
proton, the policy on this forum is not to engage in political snarkiness like this that inevitably derails threads and causes people to argue back and forth about political parties insulting each other, etc.  This is especially true when it is unrelated to the topic being discussed.

we ask everyone to take their political arguments elsewhere, regardless of where you stand on the issues.