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Software/Code Copyright

By dbishop ·
I am writing a custom software package and need to copyright it. Does anyone have any suggestions on finding out how to do this & if your code is automatically your intellectual property giving it some protection, etc.??? Thanx.

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by GuruOfDos In reply to Software/Code Copyright

If it is custom, this means that you are having to write an application that doesn't exist anywhere else...otherwise why write it in the first place?!! So how big to you plan your market to be, how do you propose marketing it and how at risk of piracy is it??

Why copyright it?? Microsoft did that with their software and look what percentage of users have legitimate licences!!! I will stake my left testicle that it's less than 30%. In my typical week I see probably 90% of software on systems that is either copies, unlicenced or my local pub, O2k and W2K change hands for the price of the blank cd' are the same.

I can sell a copy of one of my custom programmes for about ?3500 (US$5000) but then it's no good without the custom hardware, and that costs a little more!! I will probably only sell 1000 copies to a very niche market but then that's ?3.5 million.

Either make it cheap enough so others can't derrive any profit from time spent copying your code, makeit 'niche' like me, or make it 'open source' and let your eventual fame be the reward you seek...look at Linus Torvaulds!

Unless you are prepared to register IPR and copyright in every country on the globe and pursue it through every countries' legal system if you suspect it's been hacked or copied, forget it....unless you have a legal department with a budget of $several million

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Makes Sense

by dbishop In reply to Why??

I am writing a POS/Customer Loyalty program that is actually for a niche market. Like yours, it will run for about US$5000 to US$1000 per copy. The 'professional' version runs US$15000 to US$50000 per copy and the hardware to run it isn't cheap either. So once it is complete, we think it will be very attractive to the smaller owners like the one I am writing it for.

My concern was that my constituant, might take it & claim/sell it as his own. Of course, he won't have the source code, so I suppose my concerns aren't well justified in that respect. But the software will be virtually generic in application, so he could sell the executable version without my knowledge or benefit of the profit. That is where my real concern lies. Perhaps a clause in the partnership contract? should suffice? That would, at least, give me recourse if he did.

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Hardware Integration

by GuruOfDos In reply to Makes Sense

Do as we do....incorporate a software check that detects specific firmware or vice versa so that even the executeable is not much good stand-alone.

We use various methods...the parallel port 'dongle' being the most obvious one...right up to providing a unique licence key for each copy of the .exe. We do this with calls to the OS upon installation which read the firmware ID label from the hard drive. This then generates a code.....from which we then create a licence key. If the exe is copied to another machine, the hard drive firmware ID does not match so it cannot run. All HDD's have a unique code. Licenced users who upgrade a drive or re-install to a different machine get lifetime access to new software keys as part of their support for purchasing the software

Mike :-)

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Finding the right hardware

by rrmuller In reply to Hardware Integration

Where would be the best place to find either a parallel port or USB 'dongle' that would work for this sort of thing?
I've only been seing USB 'mini drives' on the market.
The sort of project that I have been working on my clients need to be able to access the program on multiple computers but can only get into it one client at a time.

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Make your own!!

by GuruOfDos In reply to Finding the right hardwar ...

Using an LPT Port, eg at 378h, you have an output port 8 bits wide at 378h corresponding to the 8 data lines and 5 bits of input on 379h corresponding to the status lines. By using 1N4148 diodes you can 'hard code' a dongle by tying combinations of output pins to combinations of input pins. A write of a given value to 378 will give a read of a certain value on 379. Simply make a small pcb to hold the diodes and a 25 way d type connector and encapsulate it in a d type cover using epoxy resin. You could make various dongles using different codes and then key a particular code to a particular issue of the software, but in practice usually one coded mass-produced dongle will suffice. If you only supply the dongle with the software, it would take someone with pretty good program disassembly AND reasonable electronics skills to hack the program. The epoxy resin prevents anyone from opening it up and taking a look, as well as rendering the dongle virtually unbreakable.

If you want schematics and example algorithms just drop me a line!

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