Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have an extraordinarily large amount of spare change, you’ve probably at least heard of piracy in some form, if not taking part in it. Unfortunately, pirates are always looking for new ways to circumvent modern copyright-protection measures coded into software, and it’s an ongoing battle between the two sides.
With the advent of broadband Internet, web-based distribution of software became feasible, and services such as Steam and GameFly have made buying PC games much more accessible. Many companies are also putting their software products online for direct download. Another way to encourage people to buy games instead of download copies is the locking of updates and online play in pirated copies of the game, and for non-game software, online registration and activation.
One fairly creative copy-protection system I’ve come across is that of the Bohemia Interactive games ArmA and Arma 2. If the game detects that it is a copied version, something like this will happen. Pretty neat, I must say. It’s a really great game, too, so if I had a better PC that could actually run it (my old one was able to), I would definitely buy it.