Ambrosia Software’s resident “Bitwise Operator” Matt Slot recently posted an interesting editorial regarding software piracy. The article, which appears on Ambrosia’s Web site, is entitled Bitwise Operator: The Plain Truth About Piracy.
Slot recounted in detail the way that Ambrosia Software — which depends on electronic distribution over the Internet for most of its income — has handled software registration over the years. At one time they used the honor system, and then they began to ship software with limited features until a registration code was provided.
Eventually, explained Slot, the company became aware that not only were some users of its software actively sharing registration codes with each other, but certain individuals had figured out how to reverse engineer the company’s registration code system. This resulted in reduced income for the company as some less scrupulous users were able to benefit from the software without paying for it.
Snapz Pro X, the first Mac OS X-compatible version of the company’s popular screen capture utility, was the first Ambrosia application to feature a new server-based registration code system that makes it much easier for Ambrosia to figure out who’s using a pirated code and who’s legitimately registered.
The results are surprising, although Slot admittedly that they’re not statistically valid.
“And for the last 2 days, starting right after we posted the latest update to Snapz Pro X, our server has been very busy,” he wrote. “Out of the 194 different hosts that tried to renew a license code, 107 of them sent in pirated codes. Incredibly, more than 50 percent of the people installing the update are entering one or both of the pirated codes we’ve known about for months.”
“I also hope that this article explains to our customers (and other computer users out there) the impact that piracy has on small software firms like ours. I hope that they can appreciate our decisions regarding the registration system, and agree that the extra 30 seconds and 2 clicks are a minor inconvenience. If everyone pays for the products they like and use, companies like Ambrosia can stay in business and continue making cool products for everyone to enjoy,” he said.
More details are available at Ambrosia’s Web site.