Re: ECON: Intellectual Property Again

Bryan Moss (
Sat, 30 May 1998 22:42:55 +0100

Grant Sparks wrote:

"1) Any copy protection scheme can be defeated in
theory, and almost certainly will be in practice
if there is a high enough benefit for doing so.
If your protection doesn't go at least as far as
chip-specific licensing and hardware dongle then
you ain't even trying - and these have proven to
be ineffective. To date, the cost of hacking any
copy protection has proven to be minuscule
compared with the benefit of doing so. Nothing in
any of the schemes you have mentioned (or any I
know of) fix this problem, or in fact offer any
significant additional cost to the hacker."

The problem is not protecting software, the
problem is stopping unwanted copies. The solution
is simple, don't let *anyone* copy your software.
If there's only one 'copy' of the software, then
you can quite easily find out who's using it (and
charge without the need to identify them).

I think the mistake Michael has made is that when
we say, "IP law cannot be enforced." What it
really means is that artists/developers/etc would
not be able to control multiple copies. Does this
mean a free-for-all orgy of self-indulgence? Of
course not, if you can't control copies you don't
make things that can be copied!

Bryan Moss