License codes are stupid

Posted in Pet Hates at 12:11 pm by blog

Just what is the point of making people enter a “license code” to install a piece of software? How is this supposed to limit piracy? Like many other supposed “anti piracy” measures, it actually hinders legitimate owners, such that pirate copies are actually more useful then legitimate ones.

So to install any version of windows made for over 10 years you need to enter a license code, and this is supposed to stop piracy *how* exactly?
Right now, i can find many torrents offering all these versions of windows for download, all of which either have license codes included (so you still have the hassle of entering them) or better yet, have the requirement removed or the license code pre-entered in some way, such that the install bypasses that annoying requirement.

Another example, is tomtom. I bought one of their GPS devices a few years ago, it came with an SD card with the maps for my country preinstalled, and a larger map on CD that would require a bigger SD card. With the default map, the SD card is about 97% full so there’s very little space for points of interest and such.
So i bought a bigger card, formatted it, put the map and software on it, and the device tells me to go to the site “ttcode.com”. Once there, i had to enter the code the device was displaying, and my “license code” which was aparrently on a sticker affixed to the back of the paper cd wallet.
Now, i have long since lost this paper cd wallet, it’s just a typical white paper cd wallet with a circular plastic window on the front, like all the thousands of others i have. It got lost in with all the others, and may even have been thrown away by now. So i contacted tomtom, their response was that i should buy a whole new device! That’s right, because i lost a tiny little sticker i should buy a whole new gps device. So no, i wasn’t about to do that.
Instead, i went to Google and found myself a keygen. I entered the code from the device into the keygen, and it gave me the code to enter into the device. Enter it i did, and all worked, no hassle, and no stupid little strips of paper to keep track of.
But this also brings up another point, what happens when tomtom decide to stop running the ttcode site? Will this rather expensive device just become a glorified paperweight?

So what are license codes supposed to do:

Prevent piracy – NO, pirates will create keygens or remove the license requirement all together.
Keep track of who leaked keys – assuming keys are even leaked rather than generated or the requirement removed, they cant do much to someone who bought the device/software in cash at some random store, not to mention keys stolen from hacked machines and the like.
Irritate legitimate users – YES, codes get lost and legit users get shafted, entering the code is also a significant hassle that only legitimate users have to bear.

So come on, drop all this shit, stop making the pirate copies better than the legit versions.

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