Copy protection schemes in Infocom games

23 views
Skip to first unread message

Noah Friedman

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 5:43:22 AM9/22/92
to

I noticed a rather annoying trend in Infocom games. Early on, some of
the games were physically copy-protected, which was enough of a nuisance
that they finally removed such schemes. However, many of the later games,
such as Bureaucracy, have these questions they ask you at some point in the
game that you cannot possibly answer unless you have the release notes and
stuff that normally come with the game package. I consider these tactics
to be even worse, because they interfere with the playing of the game
itself. Although it looks like they tried to unobtrusively integrate the
"proof of purchase" into Bureaucracy, I noticed it and I was really
offended.

My Organization header will show I have a somewhat biased and liberal
view of software copying*, but nevertheless I think this is such an
obnoxious tactic that I'm willing to go through all the Infocom games I've
purchased, find out what "copy protection" schemes are in each of them, and
post descriptions of how to bypass them them on the net. This doesn't
imply that I approve of software pirating, but I do object to the ways
software manufacturers try to prevent it and there is nothing to stop me
from describing how to get around them. Legitimate purchasers may benefit
from the descriptions since I know I myself have lost some of the physical
documentation for some of my earlier-bought games, like Zork I.

I'll only do it if it looks like there's sufficient interest, however.
Otherwise, I'll spend my time working on some other projects that involve
free software instead.

*To wit, my view is that software should be allowed to be copied in the
first place instead of having to break the law to do it.

Gary L Snethen

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 7:15:15 AM9/22/92
to


> My Organization header will show I have a somewhat biased and liberal
>view of software copying*, but nevertheless I think this is such an
>obnoxious tactic that I'm willing to go through all the Infocom games I've
>purchased, find out what "copy protection" schemes are in each of them, and
>post descriptions of how to bypass them them on the net. This doesn't
>imply that I approve of software pirating, but I do object to the ways
>software manufacturers try to prevent it and there is nothing to stop me
>from describing how to get around them. Legitimate purchasers may benefit
>from the descriptions since I know I myself have lost some of the physical
>documentation for some of my earlier-bought games, like Zork I.

> I'll only do it if it looks like there's sufficient interest, however.
>Otherwise, I'll spend my time working on some other projects that involve
>free software instead.

>*To wit, my view is that software should be allowed to be copied in the
>first place instead of having to break the law to do it.


As I posted earlier, I'll have to search my closet for the instructions
to bureaucracy for the 'popular paranoia' magazine... I'm somewhat doubtful
I will find them, however... I've been a fan of Infocom since the very very
early years, (I jumped on Zork II for the TRS-80 Model III when it came out).
I was tickled to discover that 'Infocom' had released its 'Lost Treasures'
collections, and I jumped on the first one as soon as it came out. The last
game I had purchased was Bureaucracy on the discount shelf for a mere $6.

I assure you all that I am a legal purchaser of Bureaucracy (if ya don't
believe me, you can ask for hints... ;) So if anyone has the game package
handy, please give me the quotes to bypass the questions in Bureaucracy.

Thanks,

Xeno

Jonathan P. Gibbons

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 8:46:54 AM9/22/92
to
In article <FRIEDMAN.92...@nutrimat.gnu.ai.mit.edu> frie...@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman) writes:

...


itself. Although it looks like they tried to unobtrusively integrate the
"proof of purchase" into Bureaucracy, I noticed it and I was really
offended.

My Organization header will show I have a somewhat biased and liberal
view of software copying*, but nevertheless I think this is such an
obnoxious tactic that I'm willing to go through all the Infocom games I've
purchased, find out what "copy protection" schemes are in each of them, and
post descriptions of how to bypass them them on the net. This doesn't

...

I'll take the bait. If you want to write software for free, fine. If you want
to play computer games by people who want to *sell* games then you have to
respect that. If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
buy the game. It's that simple.

Jonathan
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
With fearsome eyes and fiery breath the dragon burnt the girl to death
-- from "Too Late Saint George"

Noah Friedman

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 8:58:51 AM9/22/92
to
Yeah, I bought both volumes of the Lost Treasures of Infocom because I
wanted all the games. I'm a bit depressed about the fact that the money
went to Activision, though. I think they've been doing a bad job with the
newer "infocom" games. The gratuitous graphics are especially irritating.

Noah Friedman

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 9:05:44 AM9/22/92
to
In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>I'll take the bait. If you want to write software for free, fine. If you want
>to play computer games by people who want to *sell* games then you have to
>respect that. If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>buy the game. It's that simple.

Well actually, I didn't know about the "copy protection" in Bureaucracy
until I had already bought the game and started playing it, because it
doesn't show up right away. It's unlikely I could return just that one
game anyway---I got it along with the others in the Lost Treasures of
Infocom package. I would be more than happy to broadcast to the world how
to get past their copy protection attempts, however.

And I don't mind computer companies selling software per se. What I
object to is selling programs that are obnoxious and prevent you from
copying them (for legitimate purposes or otherwise) or *using* them. I
don't have to respect that at all. Copyright law already prevents me from
redistributing the game without their permission. I shouldn't be
inconvenienced further by having programs be difficult to use, especially
since I paid for them.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 9:03:35 AM9/22/92
to
In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:

>If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>buy the game.

Am I the only one who finds more than a little bit of irony in this
response?

--
____ Tim Pierce / "You are just naive and repressed because
\ / twpi...@unix.amherst.edu / penis envy is here and it's now and it's
\/ (BITnet: TWPIERCE@AMHERST) / all around you." -- Neal C. Wickham

Jonathan Scott Haas

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 9:40:37 AM9/22/92
to
In article <BuzDM...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>
>>If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>buy the game.
>
>Am I the only one who finds more than a little bit of irony in this
>response?
>

Nope, not at all, Tim. Glad to see you on this newsgroup... at least
there's someone I know :)

I'd just like to say that I have about 10 games, or $400.00 worth of
software, that are utterly useless to me because I've lost the manuals/
pieces of paper/code wheels over the years. Naturally, this is frustrating.
I'll grant software companies their right to copyright, but tell me,
why do they *bother* with the protection? It annoys legitimate users
of the product, and as for the pirates, the protection is removed and
the game is up on bulletin boards before it appears in stores.


--
__/\__ Jonathan S. Haas | Jake liked his women the way he liked
\ / University of Michigan | his kiwi fruit: sweet yet tart, firm-
/_ _\ posi...@engin.umich.edu | fleshed yet yielding to the touch, and
\/ | covered with short brown fuzzy hair.

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 10:10:31 AM9/22/92
to
>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>>I'll take the bait. If you want to write software for free, fine. If you want
>>to play computer games by people who want to *sell* games then you have to
>>respect that. If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>buy the game. It's that simple.
>
> Well actually, I didn't know about the "copy protection" in Bureaucracy
>until I had already bought the game and started playing it, because it
>doesn't show up right away. It's unlikely I could return just that one
>game anyway---I got it along with the others in the Lost Treasures of
>Infocom package. I would be more than happy to broadcast to the world how
>to get past their copy protection attempts, however.

Why? Anyone who is a legitimate user, should have all the
necessary documentation to bypass the copy protection. (What lost
the book? If you're a registered user, contact the company that
sold you the product. I'm sure they'll ship you another manual, or
papers, or decoder etc.)

> And I don't mind computer companies selling software per se. What I
>object to is selling programs that are obnoxious and prevent you from
>copying them (for legitimate purposes or otherwise) or *using* them. I

In what way does the "YOU MUST HAVE OUR MANUAL HANDY" protection
a) prevent you from copying the product (for legitimate purposes or
otherwise)?
OR
b) prevent you from using the product?

>don't have to respect that at all. Copyright law already prevents me from
>redistributing the game without their permission. I shouldn't be

You have already indicated that you are not in favour of programs that
prevent you from copying them for illegitimate purposes. (YES.. that's
what you said 12 lines up from this one). So, it would seem that you
are using the copyright law as an argument to the manufacturer to
persuade them to reduce their copy protection, while in fact you
continue to disregard these same laws, and endorse the practice of
making illegitimate copies. That Sir.. is hypocritical.

>inconvenienced further by having programs be difficult to use, especially
>since I paid for them.

IMHO you are nothing but a software pirate, attempting to mask this
to the world, and perhaps to yourself with a great deal of sensless
rhetoric. "It's against the law, so of course I won't copy it!!"
If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that
guards are no longer necessary?

Since it is too difficult to enforce the copyright laws, the software
producers have taken it upon themselves to reduce the amount of copying.
I applaud these efforts, and thank them for realizing that the older
methods of ORIGINAL disk identification made backing-up (legitimate
copying) was a pain. However, there are people, like yourself, who work
the other side of the fence, and will encourage others to break these
same laws (by posting the "How to get by the protection on program X"
messages).


Why go out of your way to make copying easier for someone else??

John Switzer

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 12:02:40 PM9/22/92
to
In article <BuzGp...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:
>In article <FRIEDMAN.92...@nutrimat.gnu.ai.mit.edu> frie...@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman) writes:
>>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>>>I'll take the bait. If you want to write software for free, fine. If you want
>>>to play computer games by people who want to *sell* games then you have to
>>>respect that. If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>>buy the game. It's that simple.
>>
>> Well actually, I didn't know about the "copy protection" in Bureaucracy
>>until I had already bought the game and started playing it, because it
>>doesn't show up right away. It's unlikely I could return just that one
>>game anyway---I got it along with the others in the Lost Treasures of
>>Infocom package. I would be more than happy to broadcast to the world how
>>to get past their copy protection attempts, however.
>
> Why? Anyone who is a legitimate user, should have all the
> necessary documentation to bypass the copy protection. (What lost
> the book? If you're a registered user, contact the company that
> sold you the product. I'm sure they'll ship you another manual, or
> papers, or decoder etc.)

I'd bet he's in the same situation I am in, or at least was in before I
got LTOI I and II - we have the original games with disk-based copyprotection
which means that we can't install the games on our harddisks and/or can't
run them at all because we have 386 or 486 machines whose timing screws up
those type of schemes (or we're using 1.2MB drives). There are plenty of
utilities out there, though, that convert these games into a non-protected form.
--
John Switzer | 50 years from now, nobody will
| remember Candice Bergen or Murphy
74076...@Compuserve.com | Brown, but every school kid will
j...@netcom.com | be taught about President Quayle.

John Switzer

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 12:00:18 PM9/22/92
to
In article <JLx---=@engin.umich.edu> posi...@engin.umich.edu (Jonathan Scott Haas) writes:
>In article <BuzDM...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>>
>>>If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>>buy the game.
>>
>>Am I the only one who finds more than a little bit of irony in this
>>response?
>>
>
>Nope, not at all, Tim. Glad to see you on this newsgroup... at least
>there's someone I know :)
>
>I'd just like to say that I have about 10 games, or $400.00 worth of
>software, that are utterly useless to me because I've lost the manuals/
>pieces of paper/code wheels over the years. Naturally, this is frustrating.
>I'll grant software companies their right to copyright, but tell me,
>why do they *bother* with the protection? It annoys legitimate users
>of the product, and as for the pirates, the protection is removed and
>the game is up on bulletin boards before it appears in stores.

As far as disk-based copy protection schemes go, there are two main reasons:

1) they think it actually works

2) having a copy protection scheme gives them more legal ammunition to use
should they encounter a commercial pirate. The fact that the pirate had to
break the copy protection scheme to sell the game means that they had
clear intent to defraud.

In any case, I simply don't buy disk-based copyprotection games, which is
by far the best approach to these games.

Noah Friedman

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 11:52:20 AM9/22/92
to
In article <BuzGp...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:
>Why? Anyone who is a legitimate user, should have all the necessary
>documentation to bypass the copy protection. (What lost the book? If
>you're a registered user, contact the company that sold you the product.
>I'm sure they'll ship you another manual, or papers, or decoder etc.)

I don't feel like paying shelling out the money or waiting for the mail
to arrive, when I should never even have to worry about such a thing
occuring.

The particular game I was talking about is not such a big deal. But
I've seen similar practices in various spreadsheet programs and the
like---if you didn't enter some magic word out of some randomly-selected
page in the manual once in awhile, the program would refuse to run. It was
annoying to have to flip through the manual all the time (and lug it around
wherever I took my PC) when otherwise I didn't need it. I wish I could
remember the name of the program now, so I could warn people against ever
using it.

>In what way does the "YOU MUST HAVE OUR MANUAL HANDY" protection
> a) prevent you from copying the product (for legitimate purposes or
> otherwise)?
>OR
> b) prevent you from using the product?

It is an obstacle to using or enjoying (in the case of a game) the
program, and it is a gratuitous nuisance factor. I will do whatever I
legally can to convince software manufacturers that copy protection isn't
worth the effort of implementation, and it pisses the hell out of at least
some customers. Yes, I've already complained to Activision.

>...while in fact you continue to disregard these same laws, and endorse


>the practice of making illegitimate copies.

I never said such a thing. As for whether or not people who pirate
software benefit by what I do, I don't really care. They'll do it
anyway---if they happen to copy a friend's disk, they can just as easily
xerox the documentation. If I were to restrict my actions in every case
where someone could potentially abuse the results, I'd never be able to get
out of bed in the morning. I don't feel like living that way---do you?

>...If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that


>guards are no longer necessary?

Software copy protection is different, because it hinders legitimate use of
the program, whereas guards do not hinder normal, legitimate business in a
bank.

>Why go out of your way to make copying easier for someone else??

Because copy protection annoys me so much that I'm willing to do
anything within the law to defeat its purpose. Redistributing games is
illegal; telling people how to defeat particular copy protection mechanisms
is certainly not. In fact, in this particular instance, it's effectively
the same as giving people hints for solving the game---you certainly can't
get past a certain point in the game without knowing the answers.

Adam Justin Thornton

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 12:48:35 PM9/22/92
to
Actually, Bureaucracy is among the easiest (with Lurking Horror) to defeat
the copy-protection on. I too lost my Popular Paranoia during my move to
college; however, taking a disk editor to the file revealed the answers, in
plaintext, just sitting there.

Rather disappointing, really.

*I'll always remember the Trilateral Commission, though*

Adam
--
"Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the
stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is _always_
something." -- Robert Penn Warren | Vote Cthulhu in '92! | ad...@rice.edu
If Rice shared my opinions I wouldn't have this disclaimer | 64,928

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 2:08:28 PM9/22/92
to
>In article <BuzGp...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:
>>Why? Anyone who is a legitimate user, should have all the necessary
>>documentation to bypass the copy protection. (What lost the book? If
>>you're a registered user, contact the company that sold you the product.
>>I'm sure they'll ship you another manual, or papers, or decoder etc.)
>
> I don't feel like paying shelling out the money or waiting for the mail
>to arrive, when I should never even have to worry about such a thing
>occuring.

What do you do if you lose the keys to your car? Do you complain
bitterly to the manufacturer that had they not placed a lock on the
vehicle, that you wouldn't be waiting for them to send you a new key?




> The particular game I was talking about is not such a big deal. But
>I've seen similar practices in various spreadsheet programs and the
>like---if you didn't enter some magic word out of some randomly-selected
>page in the manual once in awhile, the program would refuse to run. It was
>annoying to have to flip through the manual all the time (and lug it around
>wherever I took my PC) when otherwise I didn't need it. I wish I could
>remember the name of the program now, so I could warn people against ever
>using it.

Of course, such protection schemes within non-game applications has,
in genereal, long since disappeared.

>
>>In what way does the "YOU MUST HAVE OUR MANUAL HANDY" protection
>> a) prevent you from copying the product (for legitimate purposes or
>> otherwise)?
>>OR
>> b) prevent you from using the product?


> It is an obstacle to using or enjoying (in the case of a game) the
>program, and it is a gratuitous nuisance factor. I will do whatever I
>legally can to convince software manufacturers that copy protection isn't
>worth the effort of implementation, and it pisses the hell out of at least
>some customers. Yes, I've already complained to Activision.
>

You do not, however, address the question that I posed. To whit,
this type of copy protection does NOT prevent you from making
backup copies, or from using the product. I agree that it may slow
you down on the odd occaision, and that at times this can be a bother.
I do however, feel that this is a price we pay because others are
so apt to illegaly copy.



>>...while in fact you continue to disregard these same laws, and endorse
>>the practice of making illegitimate copies.
>
> I never said such a thing. As for whether or not people who pirate
>software benefit by what I do, I don't really care. They'll do it
>anyway---if they happen to copy a friend's disk, they can just as easily
>xerox the documentation.

a- You indicated that you endorse the right to copy for illegitamte
purposes. Your response to this post, in fact, re-demonstrates
that you continue to endorse this practice.

--> In fact, in this particular instance, it's effectively the same
--> as giving people hints for solving the game---you certainly can't
--> get past a certain point in the game without knowing the answers.

Since legitimate users don't need this type of information (information
to bypass a certain point), your only audience could be those who
have obtained their copy illegaly.

b- The number of users who are likely to have photo-copiers within their
homes, or that they can access freely (and free of charge) is
relatively low. Thus making it a good deal harder to copy the
documentation than simply floppy-swapping the A: drive!

>If I were to restrict my actions in every case
>where someone could potentially abuse the results, I'd never be able to get
>out of bed in the morning.

We must therefore assume that you don't lock your house, your car,
or your desk? Or is it that, "you don't restrict your actions when the
possibility of abuse might hurt someone else, but not yourself"?



>>...If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that
>>guards are no longer necessary?
>
>Software copy protection is different, because it hinders legitimate use of
>the program, whereas guards do not hinder normal, legitimate business in a
>bank.

Granted that the guards play a passive security role. A more active one
would be the security within an airport. Of course it is illegal to
carry a firearm/bomb onto a plane.. but we are ALL still required to
empty our pockets, and walk through the metal detector (this is MORE
than a MINOR hindrance). It is safe to say however, that the majority
of passengers want these hindrances because it protects themselves.

>
>>Why go out of your way to make copying easier for someone else??
>
> Because copy protection annoys me so much that I'm willing to do
>anything within the law to defeat its purpose. Redistributing games is
>illegal; telling people how to defeat particular copy protection mechanisms
>is certainly not.

Legality aside... is it MORAL? Is it moral to instruct someone in how
to rob a store, sell drugs, commit fraud?


Do you feel the same way about DONGLES? Those little bits of hardware
that hang of your printer port? They don't require you to look up
anything, you can make as many backup copies as you wish, it will
travel with your computer automatically (since it's attached).

You seem to be taking the approach of "It doesn't hurt ME so it can't
be wrong!". You should stop thinking from your own self-centered
point of view ( 'I don't need it', 'I don't like it',etc..), and place
yourself in the position of either the author, or someone within the
software house.

Howard Huang

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 9:48:58 AM9/22/92
to
awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:

In what way does the "YOU MUST HAVE OUR MANUAL HANDY" protection

b) prevent you from using the product?

Yes but it's a royal pain in the neck that a legitimate user should
not be forced to deal with. Have you ever played Sorcerer? Have you
ever had to deal with the Infotater wheel which tells you that
Hellhounds are red, orange, orange, black, red? Now if I want to
bring my Sorcerer disk to school with me, I also have to bring the
silly wheel. I'm not surprised that people do lose their manuals,
code wheels, etc.

Since it is too difficult to enforce the copyright laws, the software
producers have taken it upon themselves to reduce the amount of copying.
I applaud these efforts, and thank them for realizing that the older
methods of ORIGINAL disk identification made backing-up (legitimate
copying) was a pain.

The new efforts can still be a pain, and still don't truly reduce the amount
of illegal copying.

--
+-----------------------------------------------------------------+
| Howard C. Huang The MITRE Corporation |
| hhu...@teton.mitre.org 202 Burlington Road MS K-306 |
| Bedford, MA 01730 |
+-----------------------------------------------------------------+

Jonathan Scott Haas

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 2:29:11 PM9/22/92
to
In article <Buzo0...@rice.edu> ad...@owlnet.rice.edu (Adam Justin Thornton) writes:
>
>*I'll always remember the Trilateral Commission, though*
>

Hell yeah! After all these years, I still think I have all those
answers memorized... and I still shudder when I drive through Ohio,
the center of Communist insurgency in the United States. And, of
course, Delaware is a fiction devised by the Trilateral Commission
for its own nefarious purposes.

(remember, Queen Mum is *their* leader)

Robert Blumenfeld

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 1:03:38 PM9/22/92
to

Not quite true. Copyright law prohibits you from copying; it doesn't
PREVENT you from doing it. That's why the password schemes. Much
better than having to put the original floppy in to run from C: or
even being unable to copy the program to C: in the first place (as
I've seen on one game).

All in all, I'll take the passwords over anything else I've seen.

|> inconvenienced further by having programs be difficult to use, especially
|> since I paid for them.

-- Bob

Volker Blasius

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 2:53:39 PM9/22/92
to
In article <Buzrq...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:

> What do you do if you lose the keys to your car? Do you complain
> bitterly to the manufacturer that had they not placed a lock on the
> vehicle, that you wouldn't be waiting for them to send you a new key?

Sorry, but I think this example is a bit off the point. The purpose of the
car key is not to protect the maker but to protect the owner of the car.
Copy protection is like having to show a receipt to a policeman every time
you want to use the car you bought and paid for.

BTW, I always have a few spare keys for my car; maybe I should make a few
spare copies of the manuals...

Volker

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 12:46:48 PM9/22/92
to
> I noticed a rather annoying trend in Infocom games. Early on, some of
>the games were physically copy-protected, which was enough of a nuisance
>that they finally removed such schemes. However, many of the later games,
>such as Bureaucracy, have these questions they ask you at some point in the
>game that you cannot possibly answer unless you have the release notes and
>stuff that normally come with the game package. I consider these tactics
>to be even worse, because they interfere with the playing of the game

If it's so much trouble to have to open the docs just to look something
up, then stop playing the game. It's not like you are going to solve an
Infocom game in a day, you know. And, part of what you call "copy protection"
is also part of the fun in the game....having to look through the stuff they
provide you with clues (such as in Trinity and Beyond Zork and others) to solve
the game.

>itself. Although it looks like they tried to unobtrusively integrate the
>"proof of purchase" into Bureaucracy, I noticed it and I was really
>offended.

Why were you offended? Becuase you didn't have a legitimate copy with all the
included docs?

> My Organization header will show I have a somewhat biased and liberal
>view of software copying*, but nevertheless I think this is such an
>obnoxious tactic that I'm willing to go through all the Infocom games I've
>purchased, find out what "copy protection" schemes are in each of them, and
>post descriptions of how to bypass them them on the net. This doesn't
>imply that I approve of software pirating, but I do object to the ways

Really? What you propose certaqinly does support it.

>software manufacturers try to prevent it and there is nothing to stop me
>from describing how to get around them. Legitimate purchasers may benefit
>from the descriptions since I know I myself have lost some of the physical
>documentation for some of my earlier-bought games, like Zork I.

I don't feel sorry for you, and I think this is just a rationalization to
support your scheme for defeating copy-protection. Infocom can still provide
you with documentation if you lost it, btw...you need to prove you are a
registered user of the product however. And also find out who is handling the
Infocom games now.

> I'll only do it if it looks like there's sufficient interest, however.
>Otherwise, I'll spend my time working on some other projects that involve
>free software instead.

Free software is great stuff. :)

>*To wit, my view is that software should be allowed to be copied in the
>first place instead of having to break the law to do it.

You'd change your opinion if you created a large software package,
distributed it on the market for so much money,and then never saw any
royalties because evryone decided to illegaly copy it instead. If you had
to make your living writing software (a lot of people do), or if your
company depended on the sales, then this kind of thing could be very
destructive to you or your company.
There are ethical reasons here, too. Software is copyrighted just like
books or music. Whereas most everyone is guilty of copying software or
articles or music or whatever, that does not mean it should be legal.

--
John Mechalas "I'm not an actor, but
mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu I play one on TV."
Aero Engineering, Purdue University #include disclaimer.h

Tim Hoogasian

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 1:41:17 PM9/22/92
to
In article <FRIEDMAN.92...@nutrimat.gnu.ai.mit.edu> frie...@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman) writes:
>Yeah, I bought both volumes of the Lost Treasures of Infocom because I
>wanted all the games.

hello,

obviously i've been away from interactive fiction for too long. the last
infocom game i had seen was leather goddesses of phobos. i just subscribed
to r.g.i-f a day ago, and noticed multiple references to "lost treasures
of infocom". could someone please enlighten me about this? (direct email
may be better; it appears most everybody else knows about this package.)

the last :( infocom game i actually succeeded at was planetfall. i really
loved floyd (Floyd bumps into you. "Oops! Floyd sorry!"), and the idea
of saving the planet (and getting to kick around Ensign Blather, later :)
was very appealing. (lots more fun than "suspended", where i always felt
really lousy, being graphically reminded how many people were dying...)

at the end, floyd made reference to "the sequel", which i vaguely remember
hearing was actually released a couple years ago (but never saw). did it
ever come out? has anyone here played it? was it as good as the first?
etc, etc... :)

>I'm a bit depressed about the fact that the money
>went to Activision, though. I think they've been doing a bad job with the
>newer "infocom" games. The gratuitous graphics are especially irritating.

i knew infocom had been bought by activision, but i never kept up with any
further developments (lack of time/$$). what exactly has happened? (i
realize i've got a lot of catching up to do). fill me in, please!

thanks!

-tim
--
==========================================================================
#define DISCLAIMER "I don't even represent myself, much less anyone else!"
Internet: ho...@alc.com | UUCP: ...!netcom!alc!hoogs | Tel: (408) 943-0630
==========================================================================

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 3:55:43 PM9/22/92
to
In article <blasius.59...@gmd.de> bla...@gmd.de (Volker Blasius) writes:

>Sorry, but I think this example is a bit off the point. The purpose of the
>car key is not to protect the maker but to protect the owner of the car.
>Copy protection is like having to show a receipt to a policeman every time
>you want to use the car you bought and paid for.
>
>BTW, I always have a few spare keys for my car; maybe I should make a few
>spare copies of the manuals...
>
>Volker

Every time you go to use your car, you must first present your key.
Every time you go to use your software, you must first present your password.

Where is the policeman in the software?


Are you perhaps making the distinction of ownership?

Andrew

Jammer of Axigally

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 3:16:16 PM9/22/92
to
In article <Buzrq...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca>, awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew
Williams) writes:

[argument about copy protection deleted]


>
> You seem to be taking the approach of "It doesn't hurt ME so it can't
> be wrong!". You should stop thinking from your own self-centered
> point of view ( 'I don't need it', 'I don't like it',etc..), and place
> yourself in the position of either the author, or someone within the
> software house.

Hear! Hear!

Comment: I don't give a shit what the law is/says in regards to stealing or
copying commercial material. There are always loopholes in laws, and laws
rarely enforce perfectly what they were intended to. My argument is based on
moral integrety about these matters. If think stealing cars is A-Okay, then
you might as well skip the rest of this article...

As a person in college, looking to have a career in computer's or (hopefully)
in music, I am just a LITTLE frustrated about the attitude of much of society
in regards to copying commercial software (and commercial music recordings).
I was having a discussion with a friend on this matter, just the other day;
I would say that 95% of the people I know (in my generation) will copy software
from someone else if possible, rather than buy it. MOST of these people, would
think twice before stealing a pen from a department store! I think the reason
for this, is that it doesn't FEEL like you're stealing anything, when copying
commercial material. When copying, you can make an exact copy of the original
object, so that you are not "stealing" it from the owner in the same sense that
you would a pen. It is STILL stealing, just with a different twist. If you
copy a disk of commercial matterial without the creator's permission, then you
are taking the work of the creator without giving the creator anything in
return (which in this society, is usually money). i.e. you are STEALING from
the creator.

In regards to copy protecting being obnoxious, so copying it is ok: Does this
mean that if you make something that others find obnoxious, but still want,
that they are entitled to take it for free? Or at least take it for free,
until you make it less obnoxious? NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! If you find a
particular product obnoxious, then don't buy it. If everyone stopped buy
products that had a particular type of copy-protection, then that type of copy-
protection would disappear. Either that, or the product would disappear...

From a personal standpoint: I write programs, and I write music. Is it the
general consensus that I should not be able to make a living doing this? Is
that kind of work not worth any more than that of a pen manufacturer? And for
those who say: "But you can make a living at it, lot's of people do!" My
answer is: "That's because the people who feel the software/music is WORTH
something end up paying for everyone else." I think that is very sad. And in
fact, it is much harder for people to get started in those areas, and have it
pay for a decent living, until they get really big, or work for a company /
recording label that is already big. * SIGH *

Okay. Go ahead and make your excuses why copying games is justified... But
if you don't believe in stealing cars, post cards, etc.; that's all they are:
excuses. That doesn't make copying software/music alright.

-- Jammer --

Robert Blumenfeld

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 5:31:21 PM9/22/92
to

No argument from me on this point.

|> >...while in fact you continue to disregard these same laws, and endorse
|> >the practice of making illegitimate copies.
|>
|> I never said such a thing. As for whether or not people who pirate
|> software benefit by what I do, I don't really care. They'll do it
|> anyway---if they happen to copy a friend's disk, they can just as easily

"Happen" to copy a friend's disk? Really now!

|> xerox the documentation. If I were to restrict my actions in every case
|> where someone could potentially abuse the results, I'd never be able to get
|> out of bed in the morning. I don't feel like living that way---do you?
|>
|> >...If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that
|> >guards are no longer necessary?
|>
|> Software copy protection is different, because it hinders legitimate use of
|> the program, whereas guards do not hinder normal, legitimate business in a
|> bank.

Gotten on any commercial planes lately? Try bypassing the metal
detectors and see how quickly you attract a crowd.

|>
|> >Why go out of your way to make copying easier for someone else??
|>
|> Because copy protection annoys me so much that I'm willing to do
|> anything within the law to defeat its purpose. Redistributing games is
|> illegal; telling people how to defeat particular copy protection mechanisms
|> is certainly not. In fact, in this particular instance, it's effectively
|> the same as giving people hints for solving the game---you certainly can't
|> get past a certain point in the game without knowing the answers.

I wouldn't want to try that as my legal defense. You're not playing
games when you tell someone how to defeat an anti-pirating scheme;
you're (potentially, at least) telling someone how to commit a crime.
And you have to admit you CAN get past the point of needing a password
-- IF you have the necessary book/keydisk/etc.

Yeah, it's a nuisance, but the alternative may be that they don't
bother to produce the product in the first place because they don't
trust us.

-- Bob

Jacob Butcher

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 7:04:44 PM9/22/92
to
In article <27135@nntp_server.ems.cdc.com>, bblu...@ems.cdc.com (Robert Blumenfeld) writes:
>I wouldn't want to try that as my legal defense. You're not playing
>games when you tell someone how to defeat an anti-pirating scheme;
>you're (potentially, at least) telling someone how to commit a crime.
>And you have to admit you CAN get past the point of needing a password
>-- IF you have the necessary book/keydisk/etc.

Bzzt!
Pirating software is a crime, but cracking anti-pirating software is not.
Similarly, breaking or lockpicking someone else's lock is illegal, but
doing so to your own lock is not.

~jacob

(I babbled on a bit more, but it was all the usual mom and apple pie stuff, so
I figured I'd show some initiative and redirect it to /dev/null. 'Nuff said.)

Eric D. Shepherd

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 7:20:04 PM9/22/92
to
Heh. I'm the owner to two legitimate copies of Bureaucracy, among others,
because I bought the two Lost Treasures packages to get games I didn't
own yet.

- Eric S.

--
Eric Shepherd | Internet: uer...@mcl.mcl.ucsb.edu | AOL: Sheppy
-------- ACM Member ----- Apple II Alliance Charter Member --------
Erroneous statements and inappropriate opinions stated herein are
caused by network glitches and are not attributable to the author.

Jonathan Scott Haas

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 8:32:54 PM9/22/92
to
In article <Buzwo...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:
>
> Every time you go to use your car, you must first present your key.
> Every time you go to use your software, you must first present your password.
>
> Where is the policeman in the software?
>
>
> Are you perhaps making the distinction of ownership?
>

You're missing the point. The analogy between car locks and software
protection is flawed, because the car lock is there for *your*
convenience. If you want, you can leave your car unlocked and leave
the key in the ignition, and never deal with keys again.

Every time you go to use your software,

it demands, "Prove that you legitimately own this product!"

Every time you go to use your car,

do you have to present your proof of purchase?

David Fenger

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 7:30:25 PM9/22/92
to
In article <Buzo0...@rice.edu> ad...@owlnet.rice.edu (Adam Justin Thornton) writes:
> I too lost my Popular Paranoia during my move to
>college; however, taking a disk editor to the file revealed the answers, in
>plaintext, just sitting there.
>
>Rather disappointing, really.

Sort-of Spoiler:

Actually, considering that the game repeatedly accuesd you of being a hacker,
(which ended up suggesting to me to _look_ through the files), and that the
answers are the _only_ thing in clear-text (in the save file, no less), I
suspect this was intentional. Rather amusing, if you look at it in the right
light. I mean, every other bit of text in the game is stored in a compressed,
incomprehensible format... Consider it part of the puzzle. <heh>

<shrug> I guess you had to be there.

----
David Fenger (dkfe...@sirius.uvic.ca)

Adam Eberbach

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 9:02:39 PM9/22/92
to
In article 92Sep2...@nutrimat.gnu.ai.mit.edu, frie...@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman) writes:
>
> I noticed a rather annoying trend in Infocom games. Early on, some of
>the games were physically copy-protected, which was enough of a nuisance
>that they finally removed such schemes.

Most annoying - such schemes make horrible noises in your drives and eventually stop working
when the disk gets old. I hate that kind of scheme, and often wonder whether it can physically damage a
to try and make it read track 81 or whatever track it was not designed to read.

> However, many of the later games,
>such as Bureaucracy, have these questions they ask you at some point in the
>game that you cannot possibly answer unless you have the release notes and
>stuff that normally come with the game package. I consider these tactics
>to be even worse, because they interfere with the playing of the game

>itself. Although it looks like they tried to unobtrusively integrate the
>"proof of purchase" into Bureaucracy, I noticed it and I was really
>offended.

Well that's tough. Infocom went to a lot of trouble to include interesting stuff into the games,
and to use that stuff as a method of copy protection is far better than some stupid disk-based
or 'type in word 1, paragraph 3, page 12' scheme. You had to look at the stuff that came in the box
to get through the almost-transparent Infocom schemes. Who worked out the secret passage in
Zork Zero without looking at the Flathead calendar? Or the chess puzzle? Or what trebled fromps
meant?

>
> My Organization header will show I have a somewhat biased and liberal
>view of software copying*, but nevertheless I think this is such an

No, you have a ridivculous and arrogant view of software copying.

>obnoxious tactic that I'm willing to go through all the Infocom games I've
>purchased, find out what "copy protection" schemes are in each of them, and
>post descriptions of how to bypass them them on the net. This doesn't

This doesn't matter I guess since the games are by and large not available -
Except for the compilations, and if you won't pay for 10 games what you would normally
pay for one then there's something seriously wrong with your head.

>imply that I approve of software pirating, but I do object to the ways

>software manufacturers try to prevent it and there is nothing to stop me
>from describing how to get around them.

You never know. Some company with the resources and the time might
just find a way. Hope they do. Hope it involves lawyers.

>Legitimate purchasers may benefit
>from the descriptions since I know I myself have lost some of the physical
>documentation for some of my earlier-bought games, like Zork I.

Possibly.


>
> I'll only do it if it looks like there's sufficient interest, however.
>Otherwise, I'll spend my time working on some other projects that involve
>free software instead.

Plenty of interest in GNU stuff - I love GNU stuff. Can't you see the difference
between software that is written as shareware/freeware and software that isn't?


>
>
>
>*To wit, my view is that software should be allowed to be copied in the
>first place instead of having to break the law to do it.

If the author says so, yeah. If not why am studying programming? Why don't I study
something that's going to let me make a living and leave programming for my spare time?


John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 22, 1992, 11:21:15 PM9/22/92
to
In article <MYx...@engin.umich.edu> posi...@engin.umich.edu (Jonathan Scott Haas) writes:
>You're missing the point. The analogy between car locks and software
>protection is flawed, because the car lock is there for *your*
>convenience. If you want, you can leave your car unlocked and leave
>the key in the ignition, and never deal with keys again.
>
>Every time you go to use your software,
> it demands, "Prove that you legitimately own this product!"
>
>Every time you go to use your car,
> do you have to present your proof of purchase?

I'd say the keys are pretty good proof of purchase. How are you gonna
start it without them? I suppose you could hotwire it, but I guess that's
pretty close to cracking copy protection, too.
And before you make some crack like "people can always steal or copy
keys", you can always steal or copy software docs, too.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 1:09:30 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23.0...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:

>In article <MYx...@engin.umich.edu> posi...@engin.umich.edu (Jonathan Scott Haas) writes:
>
>>You're missing the point. The analogy between car locks and software
>>protection is flawed, because the car lock is there for *your*
>>convenience. If you want, you can leave your car unlocked and leave
>>the key in the ignition, and never deal with keys again.
>>
>>Every time you go to use your software,
>> it demands, "Prove that you legitimately own this product!"
>>
>>Every time you go to use your car,
>> do you have to present your proof of purchase?
>
>I'd say the keys are pretty good proof of purchase. How are you gonna
>start it without them?

If you'll read Jonathan's post -- all of it -- you'll see that you
don't have to "present" your keys each time you go to start your car.
Yes, without hotwiring it. If you really wish to, it's your choice.
Software owners do not have this choice in the same sense.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 1:17:25 AM9/23/92
to
In article <27135@nntp_server.ems.cdc.com> bblu...@ems.cdc.com writes:
>In article <FRIEDMAN.92...@nutrimat.gnu.ai.mit.edu>, frie...@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Noah Friedman) writes:
>|> As for whether or not people who pirate
>|> software benefit by what I do, I don't really care. They'll do it
>|> anyway---if they happen to copy a friend's disk, they can just as easily
>
>"Happen" to copy a friend's disk? Really now!

I read this statement as "if copying a friend's disk happens to be the
means of software transmission..."

>|> >...If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that
>|> >guards are no longer necessary?
>|>
>|> Software copy protection is different, because it hinders legitimate use of
>|> the program, whereas guards do not hinder normal, legitimate business in a
>|> bank.
>
>Gotten on any commercial planes lately? Try bypassing the metal
>detectors and see how quickly you attract a crowd.

What normal, legitimate business do you have in an airport that
requires you to bypass metal detectors? Keys and watches often set
off these alarms; because some airports see that as a hindrance to the
passenger, many allow you to place metal possessions into a plastic
cup before entering the metal detector.

Really, now. The consequences of bypassing a metal detector for
illegitimate purposes -- often transporting bombs or weapons -- are
hardly comparable to the consequences of copying Zork from a friend.
Don't be alarmist.

>Yeah, it's a nuisance, but the alternative may be that they don't
>bother to produce the product in the first place because they don't
>trust us.

Don't bother to produce the product? This is as absurd as "happening
to copy a friend's disk."

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 1:19:41 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep22.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:

>You'd change your opinion if you created a large software package,
>distributed it on the market for so much money,and then never saw any
>royalties because evryone decided to illegaly copy it instead.

Heh. You must be new to the net -- otherwise, you would probably
understand the significance of the posting host "gnu.ai.mit.edu".

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 1:28:22 AM9/23/92
to

>This doesn't matter I guess since the games are by and large not available -
>Except for the compilations, and if you won't pay for 10 games what you would normally
>pay for one then there's something seriously wrong with your head.

Or the size of your wallet. I was not able to pay for my copy myself;
it was a birthday gift.

>>imply that I approve of software pirating, but I do object to the ways
>>software manufacturers try to prevent it and there is nothing to stop me
>>from describing how to get around them.
>
>You never know. Some company with the resources and the time might
>just find a way. Hope they do. Hope it involves lawyers.

>...


>Plenty of interest in GNU stuff - I love GNU stuff.

Not very much, it seems.

>Can't you see the difference
>between software that is written as shareware/freeware and software that isn't?

If the question is "can I see what the difference IS," the answer is
yes. Legality. If the question is "can I see what the difference
SHOULD BE," the answer is no. I don't see why I should be permitted
to copy one and not the other. In either case, I believe that Noah's
argument -- that he has the right to tell people how to bypass copy
protection information -- is valid.

>>*To wit, my view is that software should be allowed to be copied in the
>>first place instead of having to break the law to do it.
>
>If the author says so, yeah. If not why am studying programming? Why don't I study
>something that's going to let me make a living and leave programming for my spare time?

Why don't you? I'm studying computer science because it pleases me.
If I cannot find a way to make a living in computer programming, I
will make my living some other way and program in my spare time. I
plan to do that because I love hacking. The question of whether or
not I will be a computer programmer is not contingent on "how many
bucks can I make out of it?"

Gary L Snethen

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 3:29:35 AM9/23/92
to

>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:

>>If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>buy the game.

>Am I the only one who finds more than a little bit of irony in this
>response?

No... It's one of the more humorous quotes I've seen in a long time...
It would appear that only pirates with copy machines should buy the games ;)

---Xeno

Gary L Snethen

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 3:34:05 AM9/23/92
to
In <BuzGp...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:

> Why? Anyone who is a legitimate user, should have all the
> necessary documentation to bypass the copy protection. (What lost
> the book? If you're a registered user, contact the company that
> sold you the product. I'm sure they'll ship you another manual, or
> papers, or decoder etc.)

Er... Infocom went out of business, my friend... The manuals were *not*
available and still aren't (unless you wish to purchase the entire
Lost Treasures set from Activision)

> In what way does the "YOU MUST HAVE OUR MANUAL HANDY" protection
> a) prevent you from copying the product (for legitimate purposes or
> otherwise)?
> OR
> b) prevent you from using the product?

a) none at all, one can mass produce it and give it to all of one's friends,
along with photocopies of the instructions to get around the protection.
Thus fully demonstrating that it does not stop pirates...

b) If I lose the manual, I must either pay the company MORE $$$ for another
(which most companies refuse to provide, or try to give you a run-around),
or I must resort to begging for copies of the instructions from friends
who own the game, thus feeling that I am somehow violating the law when
in fact I have been victimized.



>>don't have to respect that at all. Copyright law already prevents me from
>>redistributing the game without their permission. I shouldn't be
>

> You have already indicated that you are not in favour of programs that
> prevent you from copying them for illegitimate purposes. (YES.. that's
> what you said 12 lines up from this one). So, it would seem that you
> are using the copyright law as an argument to the manufacturer to
> persuade them to reduce their copy protection, while in fact you

> continue to disregard these same laws, and endorse the practice of

> making illegitimate copies. That Sir.. is hypocritical.

I do not find the man's views hypocritcal... They are *not* in
contradiction. One may choose to view copyright laws as unethical and
further view that if the laws must be in play, that further protection
is unnecessary. These methods of copy protection do not STOP people
who will make copies... They are sometimes a minor inconvenience and
even a challenge to some to break, but to a user who is not versed in
'cracking' software, they are an insurmountable obstacle if he/she loses
his/her manuals. Or at least a great inconvenience... I can still play
Harmony by Accolade, although I lost the silly red sheet months ago...
But I must start the game up repeatedly and type random numbers from 1-20
until it lets me play (often on the 6th or 7th try)... That's plain silly.
It doesn't protect anything, and it inconveniences me GREATLY.

>>inconvenienced further by having programs be difficult to use, especially
>>since I paid for them.

> IMHO you are nothing but a software pirate, attempting to mask this
> to the world, and perhaps to yourself with a great deal of sensless
> rhetoric. "It's against the law, so of course I won't copy it!!"


> If it's against the law to rob a bank, can we therefore assume that
> guards are no longer necessary?

Interesting opinion, and quite a vulgar assertion about the man's character.
Perhaps your morals are above contempt... Have you never recorded a song
from another's tape or CD? Have you never photocopied large excerpts from
a book without publisher permission? Many forms of 'piracy' exist which
although technically illegal are well within the norms of society.


> Since it is too difficult to enforce the copyright laws, the software
> producers have taken it upon themselves to reduce the amount of copying.
> I applaud these efforts, and thank them for realizing that the older
> methods of ORIGINAL disk identification made backing-up (legitimate

> copying) was a pain. However, there are people, like yourself, who work
> the other side of the fence, and will encourage others to break these
> same laws (by posting the "How to get by the protection on program X"
> messages).

Again, you are attempting to assassinate the man's character. If you stick
to the topic, there will be far fewer words and more constructive discussion.
The simple truth is: It is STILL a pain... I *LOVE* Infocom and all the
games they've ever made... But the manual protection in the games is
very very inconvenient to deal with and adds very very little to the game.
ESPECIALLY when it occurs at a random point during game play... This means
that I must have my manuals handy at ALL times while I am playing just in case
it decides to enter a "Are You a Naughty Boy? Pop Quiz". And the manual
protection does not stop piracy... that is VERY apparent... I've seen
many electronic manuals floating around to prove that point...

>
> Why go out of your way to make copying easier for someone else??
>

Why go out of your way to make playing more difficult for a legitimate user?

---Xeno

P.S. The argument that humans are basically untrustworthy and will never
buy anything they can steal won't work on me... I bought my games,
and I've seen shareware work, and work WELL... And I'd pay money
just for the convenience of being able to play test my software
before I bought it. And if shareware works, I find it hard to
believe that piracy is so rampant that the companies can make no
profit. If you attempt to use Infocom as an example of such a
company, you'll be mistaken... Infocom could not compete for the
new generation of computer users who liked pretty graphics and
mindless action.

Jonathan P. Gibbons

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 5:12:56 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv0n7...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:

> Why don't you? I'm studying computer science because it pleases me.
> If I cannot find a way to make a living in computer programming, I
> will make my living some other way and program in my spare time. I
> plan to do that because I love hacking. The question of whether or
> not I will be a computer programmer is not contingent on "how many
> bucks can I make out of it?"

If it pleases you fine. I'll be happy to accept free copies of all your games.
But if someone else wants to make a living from it - that pleases them - why
should you make it hard for them?

I know a small s/w company and they survive by the skin of their teeth and they
all work like mad churning out games. Copying does hurt them - this is the
3rd attempt to make a go of it, they went bankrupt before. Copying does
hurt companies of this size (3 people working v. hard).

Jonathan
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
With fearsome eyes and fiery breath the dragon burnt the girl to death
-- from "Too Late Saint George"

James Jennings

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 4:55:16 AM9/23/92
to
> Although it looks like they tried to unobtrusively integrate the
> "proof of purchase" into Bureaucracy, I noticed it and I was really
> offended.

It takes all kinds I guess. I *like* the clues that are outside the
software. Infocom often put a lot of imagination into them, and they
often had a different feel from the puzzles in the game proper.

If you do post the "solutions", please have some consideration for
people like me and place them where people won't read them accidently.
Thanks.

BTW: As to the rest of your philosophy, I don't feel that we all *have*
to live by the same rules of software distribution. If someone wants to
write software for free, great. If someone wants to try to make a living
at it, that should be OK too. Copy protection, or clues in the manual
are just features that one is willing to put up with, or not. If not,
then the way to respect the authors wishes is to not buy the product.

James

PS: I hate code wheels.

James Jennings

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 5:01:15 AM9/23/92
to
> Pirating software is a crime, but cracking anti-pirating software is
> not.

There is a catch. Once you have cracked a piece of software, your
responablility to keep it under lock and key increases. If you *lend*
it, you are a pirate. If someone lifts it off your machine without your
knowledge you might be considered negligent.

Does anyone know what happened to the fellow who cracked 4th Dimension
when he was a teenager?

James

James Jennings

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 5:14:02 AM9/23/92
to
> profit. If you attempt to use Infocom as an example of such a
> company, you'll be mistaken... Infocom could not compete for the
> new generation of computer users who liked pretty graphics and
> mindless action.

What I heard was that Infocom disappeared because:
1) They had been bought by Activision
2) Activision was sued by Motorola. (Something about a patented colision
detection method)
3) Activision lost the suit and went bankrupt.

Assuming that my version of the facts is true, it still doesn't apply to
the current discussion on copy protection. It is not the case that text
adventure games could not compete in the free market however. I would
rather think that Infocom could have survived on a modest but loyal
customer base. We may never know. :-(

James

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 8:02:38 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv0MB...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <1992Sep23.0...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>>
>>I'd say the keys are pretty good proof of purchase. How are you gonna
>>start it without them?
>
>If you'll read Jonathan's post -- all of it -- you'll see that you
>don't have to "present" your keys each time you go to start your car.
>Yes, without hotwiring it. If you really wish to, it's your choice.
>Software owners do not have this choice in the same sense.

I did read all his post, and you are wrong. Software owners *do* have this
choice. Hotwiring a car is akin to breaking copy protection. Both "start"
the product. Remember ... analogies are never perfect (that's why they call
them analogies).

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 8:05:09 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv0Ms...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <1992Sep22.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>
>>You'd change your opinion if you created a large software package,
>>distributed it on the market for so much money,and then never saw any
>>royalties because evryone decided to illegaly copy it instead.
>
>Heh. You must be new to the net -- otherwise, you would probably
>understand the significance of the posting host "gnu.ai.mit.edu".

You must forget GNU is designed to be free software. The people who create
know they aren't going to make money off it. The stuff you buy in the stores is
not. Those software producers have to make a living off it.

Jonathan Scott Haas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 8:31:35 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>In article <Bv0MB...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>>In article <1992Sep23.0...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>>>
>>>I'd say the keys are pretty good proof of purchase. How are you gonna
>>>start it without them?
>>
>>If you'll read Jonathan's post -- all of it -- you'll see that you
>>don't have to "present" your keys each time you go to start your car.
>>Yes, without hotwiring it. If you really wish to, it's your choice.
>>Software owners do not have this choice in the same sense.
>
>I did read all his post, and you are wrong. Software owners *do* have this
>choice. Hotwiring a car is akin to breaking copy protection. Both "start"
>the product. Remember ... analogies are never perfect (that's why they call
>them analogies).
>

You can start your car without keys and without hotwiring it. Hotwiring
may be akin to breaking copy protection... it's something very few
people have the skill to do. All a car owner has to do is leave his keys
in the ignition, and he never needs to bother with "protection" again.
How does a software owner have this choice?

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 9:24:53 AM9/23/92
to
Jonathan S. Haas write ...

>You can start your car without keys and without hotwiring it. Hotwiring
>may be akin to breaking copy protection... it's something very few
>people have the skill to do. All a car owner has to do is leave his keys
>in the ignition, and he never needs to bother with "protection" again.
>How does a software owner have this choice?

Point 1: It was ONLY an analogy
Point 2: Leaving the program running (for anyone and their dog to use)
would be similar to leaving your keys in the car.

This can be made string if we assume that all your keys are on
one ring, thus you can't use two cars at once (you can't (under
MSDOS)) run two games at once.

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 9:40:47 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Zmx-zW=@engin.umich.edu> posi...@engin.umich.edu (Jonathan Scott Haas) writes:
>In article <1992Sep23.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>>I did read all his post, and you are wrong. Software owners *do* have this
>>choice. Hotwiring a car is akin to breaking copy protection. Both "start"
>>the product. Remember ... analogies are never perfect (that's why they call
>>them analogies).
>
>You can start your car without keys and without hotwiring it. Hotwiring
>may be akin to breaking copy protection... it's something very few
>people have the skill to do. All a car owner has to do is leave his keys
>in the ignition, and he never needs to bother with "protection" again.
>How does a software owner have this choice?

Wanna bet? The keys are still "protection", even if left in the ignition.
You still need them to start the car, whether you leave them in the ignition
or not.
For the software owner, just never turn off your computer. Leave the
game running 24 hours a day. Note that this ideas is just as inanely
ridiculous as leaving your keys in the car.

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 9:53:08 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv0Mp...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <27135@nntp_server.ems.cdc.com> bblu...@ems.cdc.com writes:
>>Gotten on any commercial planes lately? Try bypassing the metal
>>detectors and see how quickly you attract a crowd.
>
>What normal, legitimate business do you have in an airport that
>requires you to bypass metal detectors? Keys and watches often set
>off these alarms; because some airports see that as a hindrance to the
>passenger, many allow you to place metal possessions into a plastic
>cup before entering the metal detector.


What NORMAL, legitimate business do you have that REQUIRES you to bypass
software protection? The entire PROCESS of placing the metal objects
in the cup, and picking them up after you walk through the gate is
akin to the copy protection. You are still required to be tested
(along with your luggage) prior to using the plane.

>Really, now. The consequences of bypassing a metal detector for
>illegitimate purposes -- often transporting bombs or weapons -- are
>hardly comparable to the consequences of copying Zork from a friend.

Could if be that you are in favour of protection schemes that aid
YOU, but not if they aid someone else (the software producer).

>
>>Yeah, it's a nuisance, but the alternative may be that they don't
>>bother to produce the product in the first place because they don't
>>trust us.
>
>Don't bother to produce the product? This is as absurd as "happening
>to copy a friend's disk."

This may be absurd in the context of LARGE software houses, but is
damn realistic for the small producer. Consider sinking every spare
minute you have (late nights, weekends, etc.) into a product, for
a period of eight months. This utility is designed for a restricted
market (Doctors, Lawyers, Pipe Insulators (or something like that).
Of course you're attempting to make enough on this to be able to
leave your day job, and go at it full time. A single copy could lose
you up to $250.00. Four copies equates to one month LESS of life for
your company.

Don't laugh.. this is a true case.

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:07:15 AM9/23/92
to
In article <xeno.71...@pv7b85.vincent.iastate.edu> xe...@iastate.edu (Gary L Snethen) writes:
>In <BuzDM...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>
>>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>
>>>If it offends you to have to enter protection passwords don't
>>>buy the game.
>
>>Am I the only one who finds more than a little bit of irony in this
>>response?
>
>No... It's one of the more humorous quotes I've seen in a long time...
>It would appear that only pirates with copy machines should buy the games ;)
>
>---Xeno

????????????????
It states that those of use who can live with the copy protection should
buy the game. I don't know where you got the idea that this statement
limited access to software pirates.


Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:26:37 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:

>In article <Bv0Ms...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>
>>Heh. You must be new to the net -- otherwise, you would probably
>>understand the significance of the posting host "gnu.ai.mit.edu".
>
>You must forget GNU is designed to be free software.

You must forget, yourself. Many of the people at GNU think the very
concept of "ownership" of software is bogus.

>The people who create
>know they aren't going to make money off it.

Funny. Tell that to Mike Bushnell or Richard Stallman.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:28:31 AM9/23/92
to
In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:

>I know a small s/w company and they survive by the skin of their teeth and they
>all work like mad churning out games. Copying does hurt them - this is the
>3rd attempt to make a go of it, they went bankrupt before. Copying does
>hurt companies of this size (3 people working v. hard).

If I knew three people who planned to start manufacturing automobiles
all by themselves, I'd tell them, too, that they were biting off more
than they could chew. The company isn't large enough to pick itself
up off the ground.

Doug DeJulio

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:45:05 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
> For the software owner, just never turn off your computer. Leave the
>game running 24 hours a day. Note that this ideas is just as inanely
>ridiculous as leaving your keys in the car.

First, that's only a rediculous idea if you've got a machine that
can't multitask or needs to be turned off.

That idea would work only for games that require a password on
startup, like SimCity or SimEarth. I find this protection scheme less
obnoxious for games like that. Sometimes I *do* leave those running
for days at a time if I know I won't want to use the machine for
anything else for a while. The idea just doesn't work for INFOCOM
games though. Usually the "copy protection" doesn't get invoked until
far along into the game, and if you get stuck and restart the game you
need to use the protection again.
--
Doug DeJulio
dd...@cmu.edu

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:31:32 AM9/23/92
to
In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:

>In article <Bv0n7...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>
>> Why don't you? I'm studying computer science because it pleases me.
>> If I cannot find a way to make a living in computer programming, I
>> will make my living some other way and program in my spare time.
>

>If it pleases you fine. I'll be happy to accept free copies of all your games.

You probably will. The time that I have right now I contribute to
projects given away for free on the net. Next semester, between
graduation and employment, I intend to spend my time writing new and
more notable projects to release for anonymous FTP. I derive more
pleasure out of knowing that people benefit from my work than from
squeezing every possible cent out of it.

>But if someone else wants to make a living from it - that pleases them - why
>should you make it hard for them?

Because I think that the idea of "owning" software is as ridiculous as
owning air, and I have become convinced that software patents and
copyrights do more harm than good.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:39:51 AM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23.1...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:

>In article <Zmx-zW=@engin.umich.edu> posi...@engin.umich.edu (Jonathan Scott Haas) writes:
>
>>All a car owner has to do is leave his keys
>>in the ignition, and he never needs to bother with "protection" again.
>

>Wanna bet? The keys are still "protection", even if left in the ignition.
>You still need them to start the car, whether you leave them in the ignition
>or not.

"Protection" in the way that a power switch is "protection." You
don't need to lug them around with you everywhere you go. You don't
need to root around and find them every time you want to start your
car. There they are, right there -- you just step in, turn it on, and
go. The analogy is perfect.

> For the software owner, just never turn off your computer. Leave the
>game running 24 hours a day. Note that this ideas is just as inanely
>ridiculous as leaving your keys in the car.

Rather, as absurd (is "inanely ridiculous" supposed to mean anything?)
as leaving your car running constantly.

Tim Pierce

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 10:45:22 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1AK...@knot.ccs.queensu.ca> awil...@qucis.queensu.ca (Andrew Williams) writes:

>In article <Bv0Mp...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>
>>What normal, legitimate business do you have in an airport that
>>requires you to bypass metal detectors?
>

>What NORMAL, legitimate business do you have that REQUIRES you to bypass
>software protection?

Okay, fair enough. What business do you have in an airport that makes
the metal detection process a noticable inconvenience? I say
"noticable" because while it is inconvenient, I find it literally
*offensive* that you can compare the possible antisocial consequences
of not screening airline passengers with those of copying a work of
software.

>>Really, now. The consequences of bypassing a metal detector for
>>illegitimate purposes -- often transporting bombs or weapons -- are
>>hardly comparable to the consequences of copying Zork from a friend.
>
>Could if be that you are in favour of protection schemes that aid
>YOU, but not if they aid someone else (the software producer).

It could not. I am not in favor of software protection that does not
in some way preserve human life. Ye folla?

>>Don't bother to produce the product? This is as absurd as "happening
>>to copy a friend's disk."
>
>This may be absurd in the context of LARGE software houses, but is
>damn realistic for the small producer.

The small producer had better realize pretty-damn-fast that software
production for profit is not a game to be undertaken by "the small
producer."

Andrew Williams

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 11:42:04 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1Cz...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>>This may be absurd in the context of LARGE software houses, but is
>>damn realistic for the small producer.
>
>The small producer had better realize pretty-damn-fast that software
>production for profit is not a game to be undertaken by "the small
>producer."

Hmmm.. how did the big producers get started?


Aside: This topis is starting to get off the rec.games.int-fiction guidelines.
Perhaps we should move it to email/or another more suitable
local.


Or those of us who feel that when someone creates a program, that they have
a right to say that's mine, will realize that we will never persuade
people who feel that all programs are public property. (and of course
vice versa)


John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 11:35:28 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1C4...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>You must forget, yourself. Many of the people at GNU think the very
>concept of "ownership" of software is bogus.

Then lobby to have all copyright laws changed. Until you do, stop whining.
It's easy to complain without taking action.

>Funny. Tell that to Mike Bushnell or Richard Stallman.

Fine. Tell them to lobby, too.

Jonathan P. Gibbons

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 12:52:56 PM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1C7...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:

If I knew three people who planned to start manufacturing automobiles
all by themselves, I'd tell them, too, that they were biting off more
than they could chew. The company isn't large enough to pick itself
up off the ground.

Sorry, misled you there. Was three and now five full time staff - all software
writing is outsourced to hungary for cheap work force. My point still stands
- they are small, and every lost sale does effect them.

Jonathan
PS before you say five is not enough it looks like it could well be, maybe
possibly, hopefully.

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 11:38:09 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1C7...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>In article <JPG.92Se...@holly.bnr.co.uk> j...@bnr.co.uk (Jonathan P. Gibbons) writes:
>
>>I know a small s/w company and they survive by the skin of their teeth and they
>>all work like mad churning out games. Copying does hurt them - this is the
>>3rd attempt to make a go of it, they went bankrupt before. Copying does
>>hurt companies of this size (3 people working v. hard).
>
>If I knew three people who planned to start manufacturing automobiles
>all by themselves, I'd tell them, too, that they were biting off more
>than they could chew. The company isn't large enough to pick itself
>up off the ground.

How do you think the current auto manufactuerers started? How do most
busniesses start? With a large bankloan, small workforce, and limited
production. After a decade or two, things change either for better or
for worse.
Plus, it's easier to start a software company than an auto manufacturing
plant. There's less overhead. :)
You are really stretching with this one.

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 11:49:56 AM9/23/92
to
In article <Bv1CC...@unix.amherst.edu> twpi...@unix.amherst.edu (Tim Pierce) writes:
>
>Because I think that the idea of "owning" software is as ridiculous as
>owning air, and I have become convinced that software patents and

Software is not covered by patent laws (not a flame...but rather FYI).

>copyrights do more harm than good.

By the way, there's something you should know about copyrights:

Commercial software is copyrighted
Shareware is copyrighted
Freeware is copyrighted

If it wasn't, I could legally take your free software and sell it at a hefty
price to someone who doesn't have access to anon FTP ot BBS's, or doesn't
know it's "freely available" to begin with.

John P. Mechalas

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 11:44:56 AM9/23/92
to

Sure...and eventually your car will run out of gas, and you'll have to
start it again...with the keys.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....Poor baby!

Look, people...The law is the law, and that's the way it is. Copy
protection is merely a means of allowing a company to protect their
investments. It doesn't always work, and it certainly can be a pain,
but it works for most people who don't have access to nets or cracking
schemes, and there are a lot of "pains" in life that are merely that.
You buy the product, you live with it.
I get the impression that most of the people on here that are against
copy protection are simply too lazy or disorganized to deal with it.
Fine. Don't play the game. Don't buy the product. Write your own product.
Don't believe in software "ownership"? Fine. Write freeware. Just stop
whining on here. All I see so far are rationalizations as to why software
shouldn't have copy protection, mostly based in the "it's inconvenient for
ME therefor it's bad". Well, stop being so narrow minded and consider
the authors of the software.
You don't like copyright laws as they are now? Fine. Organize and
lobby to have them changed. Good luck, and more power to you.

Doug DeJulio

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 12:52:34 PM9/23/92
to
In article <1992Sep23....@gn.ecn.purdue.edu> mech...@gn.ecn.purdue.edu (John P. Mechalas) writes:
>>Funny. Tell that to Mike Bushnell or Richard Stallman.
>
>Fine. Tell them to lobby, too.

No need to, they are already doing so as a part of the League for
Programming Freedom.
--
Doug DeJulio
dd...@cmu.edu

Ben Gamble

unread,
Sep 23, 1992, 1:19:58 PM9/23/92