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Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy prevention and copy restriction, describes measures to enforce
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
by preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media. Copy protection is most commonly found on
videotape Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that record and playback audio and video using magnetic ta ...
s,
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital elect ...

DVD
s, Blu-ray discs, HD-DVDs, computer software discs, video game discs and cartridges,
audio CDs The compact disc (CD) is a Digital media, digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony to store and play digital audio recordings. In August 1982, the first compact disc was manufactured. It was then rele ...
and some VCDs. Some methods of copy protection have also led to criticisms because it caused inconvenience for paying consumers, or it secretly installed additional or unwanted software to detect copying activities on the consumer's computer. Making copy protection effective while protecting consumer rights remains a problem with media publication.


Terminology

Media corporations have always used the term copy protection, but critics argue that the term tends to sway the public into identifying with the publishers, who favor restriction technologies, rather than with the users. Copy prevention and copy control may be more neutral terms. "Copy protection" is a misnomer for some systems, because any number of copies can be made from an original and all of these copies will work, but only in one computer, or only with one
dongle A dongle is a small piece of computer hardware that connects to a port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in ...

dongle
, or only with another device that cannot be easily copied. The term is also often related to, and confused with, the concept of
digital rights management Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place ...
. Digital rights management is a more general term because it includes all sorts of management of works, including copy restrictions. Copy protection may include measures that are not digital. A more appropriate term may be "technological protection measures" (TPMs), which is often defined as the use of technological tools in order to restrict the use or access to a work.


Business rationale

Unauthorized copying and distribution accounted for $2.4 billion in lost revenue in the United States alone in the 1990s,Greg Short, Comment, Combatting Software Piracy: Can Felony Penalties for Copyright Infringement Curtail the Copying of Computer Software?, 10 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 221 (1994). Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/chtlj/vol10/iss1/7 and is assumed to be causing impact on revenues in the
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
and the
video game industry The video game industry is the industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For e ...
, leading to proposal of stricter copyright laws such as
PIPA The pipa, pípá, or p'i-p'a () is a traditional China, Chinese List of traditional Chinese musical instruments, musical instrument, belonging to the Plucked string instrument, plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the "Chinese lut ...
. Copy protection is most commonly found on
videotape Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that record and playback audio and video using magnetic ta ...
s, DVDs, computer software discs, video game discs and cartridges, audio CDs and some VCDs. Many media formats are easy to copy using a machine, allowing consumers to distribute copies to their friends, a practice known as "casual copying". Companies publish works under copyright protection because they believe that the cost of implementing the copy protection will be less than the revenue produced by consumers who buy the product instead of acquiring it through casually copied media. Opponents of copy protection argue that people who obtain free copies only use what they can get for free and would not purchase their own copy if they were unable to obtain a free copy. Some even argue that free copies increase profit; people who receive a free copy of a music CD may then go and buy more of that band's music, which they would not have done otherwise. Some publishers have avoided copy-protecting their products on the theory that the resulting inconvenience to their users outweighs any benefit of frustrating "casual copying". From the perspective of the end user, copy protection is always a cost.
DRM DRM may refer to: Government, military and politics * Defense reform movement, U.S. campaign inspired by Col. John Boyd * Democratic Republic of Madagascar, a former socialist state (1975–1992) on Madagascar * Direction du renseignement militaire ...
and license managers sometimes fail, are inconvenient to use, and may not afford the user all of the legal use of the product they have purchased. The term ''copy protection'' refers to the technology used to attempt to frustrate copying, and not to the legal remedies available to publishers or authors whose copyrights are violated. Software usage models range from node locking to floating licenses (where a fixed number licenses can be concurrently used across an enterprise), grid computing (where multiple computers function as one unit and so use a common license) and electronic licensing (where features can be purchased and activated online). The term ''license management'' refers to broad platforms which enable the specification, enforcement and tracking of
software license A software license is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Sk ...
s. To safeguard copy protection and license management technologies themselves against tampering and hacking, software anti-tamper methods are used. Floating licenses are also being referred to as ''Indirect Licenses'', and are licenses that at the time they are issued, there is no actually user who will use them. That has some technical influence over some of their characteristics. ''Direct Licenses'' are issued after a certain user requires it. As an example, an activated
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
product, contains a ''Direct License'' which is locked to the PC where the product is installed. From business standpoint, on the other hand, some services now try to monetize on additional services other than the media content so users can have better experience than simply obtaining the copied product.


Technical challenges

From a technical standpoint, it seems impossible to completely prevent users from making copies of the media they purchase, as long as a "writer" is available that can write to blank media. All types of media require a "player"—a CD player, DVD player, videotape player, computer or
video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computing, input/output (I/O, or informally io or IO) is the communication between an information pro ...
—which must be able to read the media in order to display it to a human. Logically, a player could be built that reads the media and then writes an exact copy of what was read to the same type of media. At a minimum, digital copy protection of non-interactive works is subject to the
analog hole The analog hole (also known as the analog loophole) is a perceived fundamental and inevitable Vulnerability (computing), vulnerability in copy protection schemes for noninteractive works in Digital data, digital formats which can be exploited to du ...
: regardless of any digital restrictions, if music can be heard by the human ear, it can also be recorded (at the very least, with a microphone and tape recorder); if a film can be viewed by the human eye, it can also be recorded (at the very least, with a video camera and recorder). In practice, almost-perfect copies can typically be made by tapping into the analog output of a player (e.g. the
speaker Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech, sometimes also called a speaker-hearer Electronics * Loudspeaker, a ...

speaker
output or
headphone Headphones are a pair of small Electrodynamic speaker driver, loudspeaker drivers worn on or around the head over a user's ears. They are electroacoustics (acoustical engineering), electroacoustic transducers, which convert an electrical sig ...

headphone
jacks) and, once redigitized into an unprotected form, duplicated indefinitely. Copying
text-based In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
content in this way is more tedious, but the same principle applies: if it can be printed or displayed, it can also be scanned and OCRed. With basic software and some patience, these techniques can be applied by a typical computer-literate user. Since these basic technical facts exist, it follows that a determined individual will definitely succeed in copying any media, given enough time and resources. Media publishers understand this; copy protection is not intended to stop professional operations involved in the unauthorized mass duplication of media, but rather to stop "casual copying". Copying of information goods which are downloaded (rather than being mass-duplicated as with physical media) can be inexpensively customized for each download, and thus restricted more effectively, in a process known as "
traitor tracing Traitor tracing schemes help trace the source of leaks when secret or proprietary data is sold to many customers. In a traitor tracing scheme, each customer is given a different personal decryption key. (Traitor tracing schemes are often combined w ...
". They can be encrypted in a fashion which is unique for each user's computer, and the decryption system can be made
tamper-resistant Tamperproofing, conceptually, is a methodology used to hinder, deter or detect unauthorised access to a device or circumvention of a security system. Since any device or system can be foiled by a person with sufficient knowledge, equipment, and tim ...
.


Methods

For information on individual protection schemes and technologies, see
List of copy protection schemesThis is a list of notable copy protection Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy prevention and copy restriction, describes measures to enforce copyright by preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media. C ...
or relevant category page.


Computer software

Copy protection for computer software, especially for games, has been a long cat-and-mouse struggle between publishers and crackers. These were (and are) programmers who defeated copy protection on software as a hobby, add their
alias An alias is an alternative name, such as a pseudonym. Alias or aliasing may also refer to: Arts and entertainment Comics * Alias (comics), ''Alias'' (comics), an American comic book * Alias Enterprises, a United States publishing company, includ ...
to the title screen, and then distribute the "cracked" product to the network of
warez Warez is a common computing and broader cultural term referring to pirated software (i.e. illegally copied, often after deactivation of anti-piracy measures) that is distributed via the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the g ...

warez
BBSes or Internet sites that specialized in distributing unauthorized copies of software.


Early ages

When computer software was still distributed in audio cassettes, audio copying was unreliable, while digital copying was time consuming. Software prices were comparable with audio cassette prices.Copy Protection: A History and Outlook http://www.studio-nibble.com/countlegger/01/HistoryOfCopyProtection.html To make digital copying more difficult, many programs used non-standard loading methods (loaders incompatible with standard BASIC loaders, or loaders that used different transfer speed). Unauthorized software copying began to be a problem when floppy disks became the common storage media. The ease of copying depended on the system;
Jerry Pournelle Jerry Eugene Pournelle (; August 7, 1933 – September 8, 2017) was an American polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a subs ...
wrote in ''
BYTE The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
'' in 1983 that "
CP/M CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform ...
doesn't lend itself to copy protection" so its users "haven't been too worried" about it, while "
Apple An apple is an edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this fie ...
users, though, have always had the problem. So have those who used TRS-DOS, and I understand that
MS-DOS MS-DOS ( ; acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System, also known as Microsoft DOS) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Example ...
has copy protection features".


1980s Locksmith

Pournelle disliked copy protection and, except for games, refused to review software that used it. He did not believe that it was useful, writing in 1983 that "For every copy protection scheme there's a hacker ready to defeat it. Most involve so-called nibble/nybble copiers, which try to analyze the original disk and then make a copy".
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
's
Don Estridge Philip Donald Estridge (June 23, 1937 – August 2, 1985), known as Don Estridge, was an American computer engineer who led development of the original IBM Personal Computer (PC), and thus is known as the "father of the IBM PC". His decisions dram ...
agreed: "I guarantee that whatever scheme you come up with will take less time to break than to think of it." While calling piracy "a threat to software development. It's going to dry up the software", he said "It's wrong to copy-protect programs ... There ought to be some way to stop iracywithout creating products that are unusable." Copy protection sometimes caused software to not run on
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s, such as the Apple II-compatible
Laser 128 The Laser 128 is an Apple II clone The following is an incomplete list of clone (computer science), clones of Apple Computer, Apple's Apple II home computer. For more details on some models see Apple II series#Clones, Apple II clones. North Ame ...
. The back and forth struggle between copy protection engineers and nibble copiers continued until the Apple II became obsolete and was replaced by the IBM PC and its clones. In 1989
Gilman Louie Gilman Louie (born 1960) is a technology venture capitalist who got his start as a game designer, video game designer and then ran the CIA venture capital fund In-Q-Tel.
, head of Spectrum Holobyte, stated that copy protection added about $0.50 per copy to the cost of production of a game. Other software relied on complexity; ''
Antic Alphanumeric Television Interface Controller (ANTIC) is an LSI ASIC An application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC ) is an integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a ...
'' in 1988 observed that ''
WordPerfect WordPerfect (WP) is a word processing application, now owned by Corel, with a long history on multiple personal computer platforms. At the height of its popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was the dominant player in the word processor mar ...
'' for the
Atari ST The Atari ST is a line of home computer Home computers were a class of s that entered the market in 1977 and became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, we ...
"is almost unusable without its manual of over 600 pages!". (The magazine was mistaken; the ST version was so widely pirated that the company threatened to discontinue it.) To limit reusing activation keys to install the software on multiple machines, it has been attempted to tie the installed software to a specific machine by involving some unique feature of the machine.
Serial number A serial number is a unique identifier A unique identifier (UID) is an identifier An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique ''class'' of objects, where the "object" or class ...

Serial number
in
ROM Rom, or ROM may refer to: Biomechanics and medicine * Risk of mortality The risk of mortality (ROM) provides a medical classification to estimate the likelihood of inhospital death for a patient. The ROM classes are minor, moderate, major, and ex ...
could not be used because some machines do not have them. Some popular surrogate for a machine serial number were date and time (to the second) of initialization of the
hard disk A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data stora ...

hard disk
or
MAC address A media access control address (MAC address) is a unique identifier A unique identifier (UID) is an identifier An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique ''class'' of objects, ...
of Ethernet cards (although this is programmable on modern cards). With the rise of
virtualization In computing, virtualization or virtualisation (sometimes abbreviated v12n, a numeronym) is the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including virtual computer hardware platforms, Data storage device, storage device ...
, however, the practice of locking has to add to these simple hardware parameters to still prevent copying.


Early video games

During the 1980s and 1990s, video games sold on
audio cassette The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog audio, analog magnetic tape recording format for Sound recording and reproduction, audio r ...

audio cassette
and
floppy disk A floppy disk or floppy diskette (sometimes casually referred to as a floppy or diskette) is a type of disk storage Disk storage (also sometimes called drive storage) is a general category of storage mechanisms where data is recorded by vario ...

floppy disk
s were sometimes protected with an external user-interactive method that demanded the user to have the original package or a part of it, usually the manual. Copy protection was activated not only at installation, but every time the game was executed. Several imaginative and creative methods have been employed, in order to be both fun and hard to copy. These include: * The most common method was requiring the player to enter a specific word (often chosen at random) from the manual. A variant of this technique involved matching a picture provided by the game to one in the manual and providing an answer pertaining to the picture ('' Ski or Die'', '' 4D Boxing'' and '' James Bond 007; the Stealth Affair'' used this technique). ''
Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space ''Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space'', frequently abbreviated ''BARIS'', is a 1993 in video gaming, 1993 space simulation strategy game for MS-DOS. The player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or head of the Soviet space program with the ultimat ...
'' (in the floppy version but not the CD version) required the user to input an astronaut's total duration in space (available in the manual) before the launch of certain missions. If the answer were incorrect, the mission would suffer a catastrophic failure. * Manuals containing information and hints vital to the completion of the game, like answers to riddles ('' Conquests of Camelot'', '' King's Quest 6''), recipes of spells ('' King's Quest 3''), keys to deciphering non-Latin writing systems (''
Ultima Ultima may refer to: Places * Ultima, Victoria, a town in Australia * Pangaea Ultima, a supercontinent to occur in the future * ''Ultima'', the larger lobe of the trans-Neptunian object 486958 Arrokoth, nicknamed ''Ultima Thule'' Companies and pr ...
'' series, see also Ultima writing systems), maze guides ('' Manhunter''), dialogue spoken by other characters in the game (''
Wasteland Wasteland or waste land may refer to: * Desert or barren vegetation, barren, area * an uncultivated area of land, whether wooded or not, whether common land or not. Art, entertainment, and media Comics * Wasteland (comics), ''Wasteland'' (comics), ...
'', '' Dragon Wars''), excerpts of the storyline (most ''
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Several different editions of the ''Dungeons & Dragons'' (''D&D'') fantasy role-playing game have been produced since 1974. The current publisher of ''D&D'', Wizards of the Coast, produces new materials only for the most current edition of the gam ...
'' games and '' Wing Commander I''), or a radio frequency to use to communicate with a character to further a game (''
Metal Gear Solid is a series of action-adventure Action-adventure is a video game genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Action-adventure is a hybrid genre, and thus the definition is very inclusive, leading ...
''). * Some sort of code with symbols, not existing on the keyboard or the
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to graphical Graphics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, ...
code. This code was arranged in a grid, and had to be entered via a
virtual keyboard A virtual keyboard is a software component that allows the input of characters without the need for physical keys. The interaction with the virtual keyboard happens mostly via a touchscreen interface, but can also take place in a different form ...

virtual keyboard
at the request "''What is the code at line 3 row 2?''". These tables were printed on dark paper (''
Maniac Mansion ''Maniac Mansion'' is a 1987 graphic adventure An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and/or Puzzle video game, puzzle-solving. The Video game gen ...
'', ''
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''), or were visible only through a red transparent layer (''
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ''Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'' is a 1989 American action film, action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the Indiana Jones, ''Indiana J ...
''), making the paper very difficult to photocopy. Another variant of this method—most famously used on the
ZX Spectrum The ZX Spectrum () is an 8-bit In computer architecture, 8-bit integer (computer science), integers or other data#Uses of data in computing, data units are those that are 8 bits wide (1 octet). Also, 8-bit central processing unit, CPU ...

ZX Spectrum
version of
Jet Set Willy ''Jet Set Willy'' is a Platform game, platform video game originally written by Matthew Smith (games programmer), Matthew Smith for the ZX Spectrum home computer. It was published in 1984 by Software Projects and ported to most home computers ...
—was a card with color sequences at each grid reference that had to be entered before starting the game. This also prevented monochrome photocopying. It had been thought that the codes in the tables were based on a mathematical formula which could be calculated by using the row, line and page number if the formula was known, a function of the disk space requirement of the data. Later research proved that this wasn't the case. * ''
The Secret of Monkey Island ''The Secret of Monkey Island'' is a 1990 Adventure game#Point-and-click adventure games, point-and-click graphic adventure game developed and published by Lucasfilm Games. It takes place in a fictional version of the Caribbean during the Golden ...
'' offered a rotating wheel with halves of pirate's faces. The game showed a face composed of two different parts and asked when this pirate was hanged on a certain island. The player then had to match the faces on the wheel, and enter the year that appeared on the island-respective hole. Its ''
sequel A sequel is a work of literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In rece ...
'' had the same concept, but with magic potion ingredients. Other games that employed the
code wheel{{Refimprove, date=September 2008 A code wheel is a type of copy protection used on older computer games, often those published in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It evolved from the original "manual protection" system in which the program would req ...

code wheel
system include ''
Star Control ''Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Volume IV'' or just simply ''Star Control'' is a science fiction video game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade (company), Accolade in 1990. It was originally released for Amig ...
''. * ''
Zork ''Zork'' is an interactive fiction Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, is software simulating environments in which players use text Command (computing), commands to control Player character, characters and influence the environment. Wo ...
'' games such as ''
Beyond Zork ''Beyond Zork'' (full title: ''Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor'') is an interactive fiction computer game A PC game, also known as a computer game or personal computer game, is a type of video game A video game is an electronic game tha ...
'' and ''
Zork Zero ''Zork Zero: The Revenge of Megaboz'' is an interactive fiction computer game, written by Steve Meretzky over nearly 18 months and published by Infocom in 1988. Although it is the ninth and last ''Zork'' game released by Infocom before the company ...
'' came with " feelies" which contained information vital to the completion of the game. For example, the parchment found from Zork Zero contained clues vital to solving the final puzzle. However, whenever the player attempts to read the parchment, they are referred to the game package. * The Lenslok system used a plastic
prism A prism A prism An optical prism is a transparent optics, optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refraction, refract light. At least one surface must be angled—elements with two parallel surfaces are not prisms. The traditional ge ...

prism
atic device, shipped with the game, which was used to descramble a code displayed on screen. * Early copies of The Playroom from Broderbund Software included a game called "What is Missing?" in which every fifth time the program was booted up, the player would see a pattern and have to refer to the back of the manual to find which of 12 objects from the spinner counting game would match the pattern seen on the back of the manual in order to open the game. All of these methods proved to be troublesome and tiring for the players, and as such greatly declined in usage by the mid-1990s, at which point the emergence of CDs as the primary video game medium made copy protection largely redundant, since CD copying technology was not widely available at the time. Some game developers, such as
Markus Persson Markus Alexej Persson (; born 1 June 1979), also known as Notch, is a Swedish video game programmer A game programmer is a software engineer A software engineer is a person who applies the principles of software engineering to the design, ...
, have encouraged consumers and other developers to embrace the reality of unlicensed copying and utilize it positively to generate increased sales and marketing interest.


Videotape

Starting in 1985 with the video release of '' The Cotton Club'' (
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and
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object ...

VHS
versions only), Macrovision licensed to publishers a technology that exploits the
automatic gain control Automatic gain control (AGC), is a closed-loop regulating circuit in an or chain of amplifiers, the purpose of which is to maintain a suitable signal amplitude at its output, despite variation of the signal amplitude at the input. The average o ...
feature of VCRs by adding pulses to the vertical blanking sync signal.Some relevant patents are ; ; ; and . These pulses do not affect the image a consumer sees on their TV, but do confuse the recording-level circuitry of consumer VCRs. This technology, which is aided by U.S. legislation mandating the presence of automatic gain-control circuitry in VCRs, is said to "plug the analog hole" and make VCR-to-VCR copies impossible, although an inexpensive circuit is widely available that will defeat the protection by removing the pulses. Macrovision had patented methods of defeating copy prevention,One such patent is . giving it a more straightforward basis to shut down manufacture of any device that descrambles it than often exists in the DRM world. While used for pre-recorded tapes, the system was not adopted for television broadcasts; Michael J. Fuchs of
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
said in 1985 that Macrovision was "not good technology" because it reduced picture quality and consumers could easily bypass it, while
Peter Chernin Peter Chernin (born May 29, 1951) is an American businessman and investor. He is the chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group (TCG), which he founded in 2010. TCG manages, operates and invests in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology ...
of
Showtime Showtime or Show Time may refer to: Film * Showtime (film), ''Showtime'' (film), a 2002 American action/comedy film * Showtime (video), ''Showtime'' (video), a 1995 live concert video by Blur Television Networks and channels * Showtime Networks, ...
said "we want to accommodate our subscribers and we know they like to tape our movies".


Notable payloads

Over time, software publishers (especially in the case of
video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to generate visual f ...
s) became creative about crippling the software in case it was duplicated. These games would initially show that the copy was successful, but eventually render themselves unplayable via subtle methods. Many games use the "code checksumming" technique to prevent alteration of code to bypass other copy protection. Important constants for the game - such as the accuracy of the player's firing, the speed of their movement, etc. - are not included in the game but calculated from the numbers making up the
machine code In computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable In computing, executable code, an executable file, or an executable program, sometimes simply referred to as an executable or binary, c ...
of other parts of the game. If the code is changed, the calculation yields a result which no longer matches the original design of the game and the game plays improperly. * ''Superior Soccer'' had no outward signs of copy protection, but if it decided it was not a legitimate copy, it made the
soccer ball A football, soccer ball, football ball, or association football ball is the ball used in the sport of association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played with a sphere, sphe ...

soccer ball
in the game invisible, making it impossible to play the game. * In '' Sid Meier's Pirates'', if the player entered in the wrong information, they could still play the game, but with substantially increased difficulty. * As a more satirical nod to the issue, if the thriller-action game ''
Alan Wake ''Alan Wake'' is an action-adventure game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios, released for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The story follows best-selling Thriller (genre), thriller novelist Alan Wake as he ...
'' detects that the game is cracked or a pirated copy, it will replace tips in loading screens with messages telling the player to buy the game. If a new game is created on the copied game, an additional effect will take place. As a more humorous nod to "piracy", Alan Wake will gain a black
Eyepatch An eyepatch is a small patch that is worn in front of one eye Eyes are organs of the visual system. They provide living organisms with vision, the ability to receive and process visual detail, as well as enabling several photo response ...
over his right eye, complete with a miniature
Jolly Roger Jolly Roger is the traditional English name for the flags A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, sui ...

Jolly Roger
. * While the copy protection in ''
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders ''Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders'' is a 1988 graphic adventure game by LucasArts, Lucasfilm Games. It was the second game to use the SCUMM engine, after ''Maniac Mansion''. The project was led by David Fox (LucasArts game designer), David ...
'' was not hidden as such, the repercussions of missing the codes was unusual: the player ended up in jail (permanently), and the police officer gave a lengthy and condescending speech about software copying. * In case of copied versions of '' The Settlers III'', the iron smelters only produced pigs (a play on
pig iron Pig iron, also known as crude iron, is an intermediate product Intermediate goods, producer goods or semi-finished products are goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in part ...

pig iron
); weaponsmiths require iron to produce weapons, so players couldn't amass arms. * Bohemia Interactive Studio developed a unique and very subtle protection system for its game ''Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis''. Dubbed FADE, if it detects an unauthorized copy, it does not inform the player immediately but instead progressively corrupts aspects of the game (such as reducing the weapon accuracy to zero) to the point that it eventually becomes unplayable. The message "Original discs don't FADE" will eventually appear if the game is detected as being an unauthorized copy. **FADE is also used in ''ArmA II'', and will similarly diminish the accuracy of the player’s weapons, as well as induce a “drunken vision” effect, where the screen becomes wavy, should the player be playing on an unauthorized copy. **This system was also used in ''Take On Helicopters'', where the screen blurred and distorted when playing a counterfeit copy, making it hard to safely pilot a helicopter. ** The IndyCar Series (video game), ''IndyCar Series'' (2003 video game) also utilizes FADE technology to safeguard against piracy by making races very difficult to win on a pirated version. The penultimate section of the game’s manual states:
''Copying commercial games, such as this one, is a criminal offense and copyright infringement.''
''Copying and re-supplying games such as this one can lead to a term of imprisonment.''
''Think of a pirated game as stolen property.''
''This game is protected by the FADE system. You can play with a pirated game- but not for long. The quality of a pirated game will degrade over time.''
''Purchase only genuine software at legitimate stores.''
* ''Batman: Arkham Asylum'' contained code that disabled Batman's glider cape, making some areas of the game very difficult to complete and a certain achievement/trophy impossible to unlock (gliding continuously for over 100m). * The PC version of ''Grand Theft Auto IV'' has a copy protection that swings the camera as though the player was drunk. If the player enters a vehicle it will automatically throttle, making it difficult to steer. It also damages the vehicle, making it vulnerable to collisions and bullets. An update to the game prevented unauthorised copies from accessing the in-game web browser, making it impossible to finish the game as some missions involve browsing the World Wide Web, web for objectives. *''EarthBound'' is well-documented for its extensive use of checksums to ensure that the game is being played on legitimate hardware. If the game detects that it is being played on a European SNES, it refuses to boot, as the first of several checksums has failed. A second checksum will weed out most unauthorized copies of the game, but hacking the data to get past this checksum will trigger a third checksum that makes enemy encounters appear much more often than in an authorized copy, and if the player progresses through the game without giving up (or cracks this protection), a final checksum code will activate before the final boss battle, freezing the game and deleting all the save files. A similar copy protection system was used in ''Spyro: Year of the Dragon'', although it only uses one copy protection check at the beginning of the game (see below). * In an unauthorized version of the PC edition of ''Mass Effect'', the game save mechanism did not work and the in-game galactic map caused the game to crash. As the galactic map is needed to travel to different sections of the game, the player became stuck in the first section of the game. * If an unauthorized version of ''The Sims 2'' was used, the Build Mode would not work properly. Walls could not be built on the player's property, which prevented the player from building any custom houses. Some furniture and clothing selections would not be available either. * A March 2009 update to the BeeJive IM iPhone app included special functionality for users of the unauthorized version: the screen would read "PC LOAD LETTER" whenever the user tried to establish a connection to any IM service, then quickly switch to a YouTube clip from the movie ''Office Space''. * ''Red Alert 2'' and ''The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth'' have a copy protection system that completely wipes out the player's forces briefly after a battle begins on an unlicensed copy. However, some who purchased the latter have encountered a Software bug, bug that caused this copy protection scheme to False alarm, trigger when it was not supposed to. * If a player pirated the Nintendo DS version of ''Michael Jackson: The Experience'', vuvuzela noises will play over the notes during a song, which then become invisible. The game will also freeze if the player tries to pause it. * Older versions of Autodesk 3ds Max use a
dongle A dongle is a small piece of computer hardware that connects to a port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in ...

dongle
for copy protection; if it is missing, the program will randomly corrupt the points of the user's model during usage, destroying their work. * Older versions of CDRWIN used a serial number for initial copy protection. However, if this check was bypassed, a second hidden check would activate causing a random factor to be introduced into the CD burning process, producing corrupted "coaster" disks. * Terminate (software), Terminate, a BBS terminal package, would appear to operate normally if cracked but would insert a warning that a pirated copy was in use into the IEMSI login packet it transmitted, where the sysop of any BBS the user called could clearly read it. * ''Ubik's Musik'', a music creation tool for the Commodore 64, would transform into a ''Space Invaders'' game if it detected that a cartridge-based copying device had attempted to interrupt it. This copy protection system also doubles as an Easter egg (media), easter egg, as the message that appears when it occurs is not hostile ("Plug joystick in port 1, press fire, and no more resetting/experting!"). * The Amiga version of Bomberman featured a multitap peripheral that also acted as a
dongle A dongle is a small piece of computer hardware that connects to a port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in ...

dongle
. Data from the multitap was used to calculate the time limit of each level. If the multitap was missing, the time limit would be calculated as 0, causing the level to end immediately. * ''Nevermind (game), Nevermind'', a puzzle game for the Amiga, contained code that caused an unlicensed version of the game to behave as a demo. The game would play three levels sampled from throughout the game, and then give the message "You have completed three levels; however there are 100 levels to complete on the original disc." * In ''Spyro: Year of the Dragon'' a character named Zoe will tell the player outside the room containing the balloon to Midday Garden Home and several other areas that the player is using an unlicensed copy. This conversation purposely corrupts data. When corrupted, the game would not only remove stray gems and the ability to progress in certain areas but also make the final boss unbeatable, returning the player to the beginning of the game (and removing the save file at the same time) after about 8 seconds into the battle. * The Atari Jaguar console would freeze at startup and play the sound of an enraged jaguar snarling if the inserted cartridge failed the initial security check. * The Lenslok copy protection system gave an obvious message if the lens-coded letters were entered incorrectly, but if the user soft-reset the machine, the areas of memory occupied by the game would be flooded with the message "THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN OUR PRODUCT. NICE TRY. LOVE BJ/NJ" to prevent the user examining leftover code to crack the protection. * An update to the sandbox game ''Garry's Mod'' enabled a copy protection mechanism that outputs the error '' "Unable to shade polygon normals" '' if the game detects that it has been copied. The error also includes the user's Steam (service), Steam ID as an error ID, meaning that users can be identified by their Steam account when asking for help about the error over the Internet. * The Atari version of Alternate Reality: The Dungeon would have the player's character attacked by two unbeatable "FBI Agents" if it detected a cracked version. The FBI agents would also appear when restoring a save which was created by such a version, even if the version restoring the save was legal. * ''VGA Planets'', a play-by-BBS strategy game, contained code in its server which would check all clients' submitted turns for suspect registration codes. Any player deemed to be using a cracked copy, or cheating in the game, would have random forces destroyed throughout the game by an unbeatable enemy called "The Tim Continuum" (after the game's author, Tim Wissemann). A similar commercial game, ''Stars!'', would issue empty turn updates for players with invalid registration codes, meaning that none of their orders would ever be carried out. * On a copied version of the original PC version of ''Postal'', as soon as the game was started, the player character would immediately shoot himself in the head. * In ''Serious Sam 3: BFE'', if the game code detects what it believes to be an unauthorized copy, an invincible scorpion-like monster is spawned in the beginning of the game with high speeds, melee attacks, and attacks from a range with twin chainguns making the game extremely difficult and preventing the player from progressing further. Also in the level "Under the Iron Cloud", the player's character will spin out-of-control looking up in the air. * An unauthorized copy of ''Pokémon Black and White'' and their sequels will run as if it were normal, but the Pokémon will not gain any experience points after a battle. This has since been solved by patching the game's files. * If ''Ace Attorney Investigations 2'' detects an illegitimate or downloaded copy of the game, it will convert the entire game's text into the game's symbol based foreign language, Borginian, which cannot be translated in any way. * The unlicensed version of indie game ''Game Dev Tycoon'', in which the player runs a game development company, will dramatically increase the piracy rate of the games the player releases to the point where no money can be made at all, and disable the player's ability to take any action against it * In the stand-alone expansion to Crytek's ''Crysis (video game), Crysis'', ''Crysis Warhead'', players who pirated the game will have their ammunition replaced with chickens that inflict no damage and have very little knockback, rendering ranged combat impossible. * In Crytek's ''Crysis 3'', if a player used an unlicensed copy of the game, he is not able to defeat the last boss (The Alpha Ceph), thus making it impossible to beat the game. * In ''Mirror's Edge'', copy protection will prevent its player character, Faith, from sprinting, making it impossible for players to jump over long gaps and progress further on a pirated copy. The usage of copy protection payloads which lower playability of a game without making it clear that this is a result of copy protection is now generally considered unwise, due to the potential for it to result in unaware players with unlicensed copies spreading word-of-mouth that a game is of low quality. The authors of FADE explicitly acknowledged this as a reason for including the explicit warning message.


Anti-piracy

Anti-piracy measures are efforts to fight against copyright infringement, counterfeiting, and other violations of intellectual property laws. It includes, but is by no means limited to, the combined efforts of corporate associations (such as the RIAA and MPAA), law enforcement agencies (such as the FBI and Interpol), and various international governments to combat copyright infringement relating to various types of creative works, such as software, music and films. These measures often come in the form of copy protection measures such as
DRM DRM may refer to: Government, military and politics * Defense reform movement, U.S. campaign inspired by Col. John Boyd * Democratic Republic of Madagascar, a former socialist state (1975–1992) on Madagascar * Direction du renseignement militaire ...
, or measures implemented through a content protection network, such as Distil Networks or Incapsula. Richard Stallman and the GNU Project have criticized the use of the word "piracy" in these situations, saying that publishers use the word to refer to "copying they don't approve of" and that "they [publishers] imply that it is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnapping and murdering the people on them". Certain forms of Anti-Piracy (such as DRM), are considered by consumers to control the use of the products content after sales, sale. In the case ''MPAA v. Hotfile'', Judge Kathleen M. Williams granted a motion to deny the prosecution the usage of words she views as "pejorative". This list included the word "piracy", the use of which, the motion by the defense stated, would serve no purpose but to misguide and inflame the jury. The plaintiff argued the common use of the terms when referring to copyright infringement should invalidate the motion, but the Judge did not concur.


Anti-piracy in file sharing

Today copyright infringement is often facilitated by the use of file sharing. In fact, infringement accounts for 23.8% of all internet traffic in 2013. In an effort to cut down on this, both large and small films and music corporations have issued DMCA takedown notices, filed lawsuits, and pressed criminal prosecution of those who host these file sharing services.


See also

* Core dump * Digital rights management * Digital watermarking * Floating licensing * Cheat cartridge * License manager *
List of copy protection schemesThis is a list of notable copy protection Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy prevention and copy restriction, describes measures to enforce copyright by preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media. C ...
* Software anti-tamper * Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal * Tamper resistance * Trade group efforts against file sharing


References


External links


V-Max Copy Protection on the C64

Copy Protection in depth

Evaluating New Copy-Prevention Techniques for Audio CDs

Disk Preservation Project
Discusses and analyzes protections used on old floppy-based systems.
Comprehensive article on video game piracy and its prevention.

Several algorithms used to generate serial keys




{{DEFAULTSORT:Copy Protection Copy protection, Digital rights management Software licenses Warez Compact Disc and DVD copy protection Computer access control