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Tools, Engineer, Genius

[Rant] Software Pirates

So, we have version 3.0 (free and Pro) out in alpha testing. We know that it'll leak, so we've made it a semi-open alpha and done screenshot leaks and stuff ourselves so we have more control over it. We also know that folks will pirate it; it's a fact of life, and there's a pirate group whose primary purpose in life seems to be pirating and repackaging our software and add-ons. (Suffice it to say they've based their group's name off of ours, among other things.)

That doesn't make it any easier when we see that they've already cracked the Pro version of the alpha so it doesn't require registration, packaged it up as 'Trillian Pro 3.0' (without any indication that it's an alpha test copy) and placed it on their site, and are advertising that they have exclusive downloads of Trillian Pro 3.0.

So, not only do we have an alpha floating around masquerading as a final release (which I know will bring folks to our forums to post about how the 3.0 'final release' has bugs), but we have folks who will doubtless just download that instead of even considering purchasing it, or else sticking to the Free version. Worse, these people will try to enter support tickets into the system, demand paid user support (i.e. time from our actual paid support folks), and will invariably claim that they lost their password for the members section. The following is an actual exchange that I know not only Cerulean employees but some fellow Trillian Pro users have seen all too often:

'Yeah, I can't enter a support ticket because I forgot my password.'
'Well, just enter your e-mail and click forgot password, it'll give you a new one.'
'I don't have access to that e-mail anymore.'
'Well, then talk to Don or Glenn and give them the original password and registration name, and they'll see what they can do.'
'Well, I can't remember what e-mail I registered under.'
'It's in your Trillian registration dialog. Just pull that up.'
'My computer's not working, I can't get that information. Can't you just enter the ticket for me and download all the newly released plugins so I can pick the ones I want?'

How dumb do they think we are?

And I know there are folks who will justify it as 'well, it wasn't worth the money to me, and it's not like I'm really stealing from you anyway.' No, you don't get the moral high ground to make yourself comfortable with the decision! We release a free version for folks who can't afford the Pro one, and we even have updated the free one and combined the codebases as of this version to make it easier to maintain. If it's not worth the money to you, just stick to the one we give away for free! Grah.

Hate humanity today.


People are idiots. Especially people who want something for nothing.

The "it's not really stealing, because I wouldn't have bought the Pro version anyway, so why shouldn't I just have it instead of using Free... it's not like they're losing anything" argument is already being made. Grah. No. People do not get the moral high ground. It's one thing to pirate stuff, it's like insult to injury to claim the authors shouldn't be upset about it or that it's a 'right' or 'proper' action which harms no one.

I either need to get away from the keys for a few, or devise a way to stab folks in the face over TCP/IP. :P
I either need to get away from the keys for a few, or devise a way to stab folks in the face over TCP/IP. :P

If anyone could, YOU could.

I gladly and willingly pay for Pro because I use the product ALL THE TIME and think it's wonderful.

Just remember, there are folks out there like that. *HUG*
Yeah, I know. There are good users; you're one of them, and there are plenty of others.

There are even people who know how to deal with prereleases properly. Our core initial tester group, about 30 people, is really kickass; they tested the pre-alpha for two weeks without a single leak of code or screenshot, and they gave us lots of good bug reports.

It's not even the piracy which bugs me the most. It's the self-righteous way they believe they're /entitled/ to pirate it, or that they have the moral high ground because 'it's not /really/ stealing,' and then turn around and demand paid user support without realizing that /paid user memberships/ are kinda a big part of what can let us pay our tech support folks. :P
I quite like the free version myself; think it's a great product. Why people aren't happy with it is beyond me. Considering what I paid for it, it's one of the best deals around. ;)
Hopefully you'll like the upcoming Free version better. It's a huge leap forward for Free users, to go from 0.74 to 3.0 :)
Wow! A whole 2.26 version upgrade! Such a great service to the freeloading community. :)
Yeah, the gall of trying to get free support with a pirated copy just boggles me.

Just had a thought... Since Trillian is a network-based program, this might actually work. It might not be something you want to do, for any number of reasons, and it may be easier to work around than I think it would be...

Why not require Trillian Pro, when first launched, to check it's registration with your servers? Simply bypassing the registration won't work, because it'll never talk to the server. Though, I suppose they could bypass that too, or redirect it, or just feed it the expected input.

If it's a known group, why not persue legal action?
The first release of Trillian 2.0 back last year 'phoned home' to check registration. They simply altered the binary executable so that the function always returned 'TRUE' as the result. Worse still, for legitimate users, when our colocation place lost connectivity for a couple hours at one point, no legitimate Pro user could start up because they couldn't connect to the server.

As for legal action? They're in Russia. Their ISP doesn't care, when we've reported them. What else can we do?
*shakes her head*
I've used hacked software from time to time, but I always approached it from the 'this might just roach my machine and I know I'm on my own' viewpoint. If it's something that proves handy, I'll hunt down the funds and actually buy a legitimate copy; while I may refuse to buy sight unseen, I'm not looking to steal from folks who put time and effort into a profit. I'm a paid user for Trillian Pro (PC). I'm a donating user of Adium X (Mac OS X). Both products, on using them, entered my personal arsenal of programs, and I ponied up the funding for the support. Demanding support for software that's been stolen is a large leap into Arrogance. *sigh* The gene pool needs a little chlorine...

Trillian Pro 3.0 * RAWKS *

Even in Alpha. Period. Who do I report weirdness in the Video tabs to?

By the way, have I mentiond that I have a strange but undeniable crush on you?

Whoops...was that my out loud voice?