Software makers ignoring anti-piracy technology in favour of sales

Have software makers deliberately avoided stringent protection measures to avoid scaring customers away?

In the aftermath of the conviction of four members of the DrinkorDie gang for conspiracy to defraud, security experts have hit out at software companies for not putting enough effort into protection methods.

Neil Hare Brown, senior security advisor at security incident response company QCC Information Security, argues that software companies have been reluctant to implement tight controls, such as telephone registration, in case it deters potential customers.

"It's not rocket science. It's about software companies making up their minds," said Hare Brown.

"They either want evidence to show that this software should be on that PC or they want a wide as possible distribution of their software and so are prepared to turn a blind eye. So the question is: Why haven't they put more stringent mechanisms in place to license their software before?"

The case against the DrinkorDie defendants — who were accused of disseminating cracked copies of computer software, games, movies and music on the Internet — is estimated to have cost several millions of pounds. This has led to speculation that it would have been better, and much cheaper, to have brought charges under copyright or trademark law.

"The main concern that I have is the colossal expenditure of the UK investigating trial, which stems from the way the Crown Prosecution Service decided to charge this," said Peter Sommer, a security specialist called as an expert witness for the defence in the case.

But the Business Software Alliance insists that it was important to make an example of the DrinkorDie members.

Click here to read more about the ongoing debate.