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I've written a small utility that I wish to sell for less than $10.

My primary concern is "casual piracy". The scenario that plays out in my mind is this:

User buys the program, enjoys using it and tells their friends. The friends copy the application to their USB drives and take it home - using the application for free (maybe never realizing they should have purchased it.

Since I've got absolutely no protection built in, it would just be a simple copy'n paste to pirate the app. The users who would be using the app are in close proximity to each other (work in the same environment), so casual piracy would likely occur frequently.

Any ideas? Keeping in mind the app is cheap (partly to reduce casual piracy), and the level of effort to write the app hasn't been very demanding.

Update: the app will run on any system that supports .NET 3.5.


migration rejected from Jul 15 at 23:42

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

closed as too broad by gnat, durron597, GlenH7, ratchet freak, Snowman Jul 15 at 23:42

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Just as a side issue (FWIW), with all solutions, including mine, you may wish to consider the case of a 'patch'. It will only take one dedicated person, to care enough, to write a patch to the exe of any given approach, and remove the code that checks for the token/key whatever. Specifically with the MAC address approach, you need to be warey of someone creating, effectively, a keygen. In my approach, you need to be careful of someone unresolving the domain name you use (mapping in `hosts). Mainly what I'm saying is that it only takes 1 person to break most schemes, and distribute a patch/gen. – Noon Silk Sep 15 '09 at 4:40
Real true ninja powwwwwwwwwer !!!!!!!!!!!! – Mawg Jul 15 at 13:35

protected by gnat Jul 15 at 11:39

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