"The static nature of most current widely distributed software products is a particular problem that is not adequately addressed by most present copy protection schemes. Once someone has the disk or the distribution files, it is very easy for competent hackers to redistribute the software in the same or any other available media, given the nature of digital storage and the ability to make nearly perfect reproductions. Furthermore, the pervasiveness of hacking has led to widespread availability of downloadable tools and instructions that enable even casual users of the product to remove many of the copy protection mechanisms in use today.
"In addition, existing software applications are generally distributed as homogenized releases. This makes it difficult to identify, track, or tie the product to the authorized end-user. Although software registration is available, such as by using registration codes, network addresses (e.g., MAC-address from a network card), CID (Computer ID) mechanisms, and so on, these systems only tie the software to the hardware. These solutions thus have the disadvantage for the end-user that the software effectively only works on the computer it was first installed on. Such solutions can also lead to other problems such as lost registration codes or original disks with the unique serial numbers, and so on.
"What is needed, therefore, is software protection that provides robust anti-piracy techniques that make hacking a software product impractical and cost-ineffective.
"What is further needed is a software protection scheme that is unique to each authorized end-user and installation, rather than the target device."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "A software protection system for widely distributed, licensed software products is described. In one embodiment of the present invention, a distributed client-server computer network connects a customer end-user with the producer (publisher) of the software. The protection program is integrated with the software product and is applied directly on the source code or on the execution level of the distributed software. The platform acts as a launcher of the distributed application, as well as a new media channel. This new channel is customizable to fit the publishers' needs, and can be used to establish continuing two-way communication between the user and the producer and allows the producer to display news message, send upgrades, and allow automatic downloads of patches, extra content, and so on.
"The software product is distributed as an incomplete executable. A security module provided by the producer and unique to the user and installation is transmitted to the user upon registration, and comprises the missing executable portion of the software product. When the user installs the target application (e.g., a game or similar software product), user registration is required. User registration involves the establishment of a username and password, along with the creation of a unique profile for each user. Once the user profile has been established, the user can register the target application by entering the registration code that comes with the distribution. The product is activated through the appropriate after the entered code has been verified. Registration of the product causes the system to transmit a security module to the client computer. The security module comprises the missing executable portion of software that integrates with the initially distributed software to produce a fully functional application program.
"Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the accompanying drawings and from the detailed description that follows below."
For additional information on this patent, see: Eriksson, Thomas;
Keywords for this news article include: Software,
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