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Schadenfreudian Slips: Copy Protection Racket
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Schadenfreudian Slips: Copy Protection Racket

August 30, 2006 Article Start Page 1 of 4 Next

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Continuing its multiple "Schadenfreudian Slips" columns for Gamasutra, notable and more than a little eccentric German game company Schadenfreude Interactive presents an anecdotal account of the hardships of trying to find the right copy protection.]

Protection Racket

Lothar (our art director) came to me one day with a problem. Ordinarily he would go to our chief technical officer, Bruno, with these things, but Bruno was away attending the Beard & Mustache World Championship in Berlin (just attending, not competing – my mother can grow more of a mustache than Bruno can). Anyway, Lothar had found copies of our games available for download on BitTorrent. When I asked him what he was doing looking in such places, he sheepishly admitted he was looking for a copy of the Wide Boy Awake song “Chicken Outlaw”. I suppose I am glad he found pirated copies of our game instead of that song, which should itself be considered a crime.

But what was I now going to do about people pirating our games? Like when your drunken Uncle Jurgen shows up at your wedding wearing nothing but a pair of yellow rainboots, this situation had to be dealt with right away (I assigned Uncle to guestbook duty – we Germans are not as prudish as you Americans when it comes to public nudity).

Now, I do not want to treat our customers like they are pirates. Unless we are making a MMORPG about pirates, and thus our customers are pretending to be pirates, in which case I will gladly treat them as pirates. I had a girlfriend once who liked to pretend to be a pirate. I still have the scar from that parrot bite - but that is neither here nor there (actually, it is a few inches above my right knee).

Misled Defense Systems

The issue of software piracy is nothing new. Who can forget the hilarious Kopieren Sie Nicht Diesen Floppy-Disc! anti-piracy television campaign from the early 1990s? I don’t think that rapping fraulein made anyone think twice about copying computer games, but she did make many of us think once or twice about…blondes with 5.25” disks.

The classic Kopieren Sie Nicht Diesen Floppy-Disc!

Article Start Page 1 of 4 Next

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