I develop very high cost software for which we feel the need to use complex hardware and/or software based licence protection.
In all seriousness then, what do you think is the best way to protect your software? Since you have to deal with it everyday your insight would be a lot more conclusive than our hypothetical. Is the scarecrow tactic really the most cost-effective deterrent?
It is not directly comparable, it is a completely different type of market. We are dealing with a relatively small number of clients and are using licensing for other purposes, namely to police:
- access to separately licensed feature sets
- "size" limitations - how large a system they can model with our software
- concurrent user access limits
- annual support contracts
I suppose, rereading the above, there are obvious similarities.
We are largely protecting ourselves from organisational laziness, rather than deliberate piracy. Where an organisation might purchase a licence and then allow (through action or inaction) the software to propagate to all their users, or might forget to renew their annual support contract.
You are also dealing with different numbers. Remove three or four zeros from the user base of a mainstream game. Add two or three zeros to the per-unit cost.
Personally, I would like to live in a world where we could trust each other. So if one of our customers find they need a new feature or an extra uses, they just send us the money.
Sadly, I don't have an answer - if I did then I wouldn't have to "deal with it every day".
I don't have much say in this, but I would prefer if our system was based on enabling an organisation to manage their "account" with us as opposed to us policing their account. In other words, if they find they need an extra user or feature, they turn one on (so to speak) and send us a cheque. If the "account" was audit-able at both ends both in terms of what was enabled and what was used then that should be sufficient. It would wok the other way also by allowing us, or them, to look at their usage and say "here, we're not actually using all the licences we are paying for, lets reduce our number of licences".
As for the games industry - I certainly think DRM is a waste of time and an annoyance to legit users.