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Let's not forget dongles - those copy protection schemes that manifested themselves in the form of a hardware add-on required to make a game run. On the C-64, this could be something on the joystick or cassette ports.
Another form of copy protection besides the ones mentioned were printing manuals with red type on black backgrounds or some variation thereof, which crippled photocopying. Key words were then planted in the manual to be checked against program queries.
Interestingly, the Commodore PET had perhaps one of the more inconvenient "dongles". Since the majority of PET's had two empty ROM slots that could hold chips with several K of data, besides containing stand alone programs, these chips could also contain a type of copy protection sequence. If the chip wasn't installed, the application would not run. Of course if you had both slots occupied, you pretty much had to pull various chips in and out to work with various applications. Not cool, but luckily not implemented extensively.
Microsoft has a little known copy protection scheme in place or a type of DRM on Xbox 360. If you purchase stuff off of Xbox Live Arcade, it's keyed to your system and your GamerTag. As long as it stay on the system it was downloaded on, you're OK. If you upgrade to a new hard drive or bring the game to a new system, it cries foul and runs a secondary check on your GamerTag. If it's the same GamerTag, you're OK to run your download. If not, it either defaults to a demo version or you're barred from accessing it. Of course this was all probably inspired by the strong protection introduced with Windwos and Office XP, where you have to "activate" your copy and can only do a limited number of activations before having to call into their call center to explain yourself. I've been in contact with their call center in India several times to activate various software applications on new computers. Not a friendly process, but we've had a history or these companies trying to thwart pirates for over 30 years, so not entirely unexpected...
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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