Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » C »

copy protection

(kop´ē prō-tek´sh&n) (n.) Refers to techniques used to prevent the unauthorized copying of software. The idea of copy-protected software was created by software manufacturers who wanted to prevent software piracy -- users copying programs and giving them to friends and colleagues free of charge.

As enticing an idea as it may be, copy protection has not proved to be a viable strategy. For one, it is practically impossible to create software that cannot be copied by a knowledgeable programmer. Second, many consumers shy away from copy-protected software because backup copies are difficult to make. Thus, if their original copy of the software is damaged, the user must contact the manufacturer for a new copy. Finally, some copy-protection techniques can actually damage other software on the system. For these reasons, copy-protected software is becoming less common.

Most software producers now protect their programs by issuing registration numbers with each package. When you install the software, you must enter the registration number. This does not prevent all piracy, but it limits it. In addition, users cannot get updates to a product unless they own the original diskettes and documentation.

An alternative strategy for dealing with the problem of software piracy is shareware, where users are actually encouraged to copy and disseminate programs. Shareware publishers rely on people's honesty to pay for the products used.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
LATEST ARTICLES
8 Agenda Apps to Help Students Stay Organized

Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »

List of Free Shorten URL Services

A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »

Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015

The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Java Basics, Part 1

Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

Java Basics, Part 2

This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »