Regarding the NewsFire Product Activation Debate

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Regarding the NewsFire Product Activation Debate

There’s been a lot of talk over the past couple days about a blog post by Charles Miller where he recounts his trouble re-activating his copy of David Watanabe’s NewsFire RSS reader.

NewsFire uses a network based activation scheme to validate that it’s a licensed copy. Charles says that he was trying to re-activate his copy of the software after wiping his MacBook, but the program said his email address was not tied to a valid license.

He sent an email to NewsFire support and received the following reply from David

While you may now activate your software again, the evidence suggests that you’ve activated your single-user license from a suspiciously wide variety of locations. An explanation would be appreciated. I don’t want to have to presume this is breach of license.

David has received a lot of flack for this and responded today on his blog saying

Sure, false positives can happen, but simple cooperation and polite, respectful dialog are usually enough to fix those situations.

I’m not going to debate the merits of product activation or indie software developers trying to protect their livelihood. I’m also not going to question whether or not there was anything shady going on with Charles’ license.

I say all of this as a reminder to those of us who create for a living. Some people will steal. Some people won’t. Either way, we still need to be polite.

On a side note, I find it ironic that David can say

One malicious user can post their [serial number] on a website and the scheme is broken forever. I did experiment with this unlock codes back in the day and came to the unfortunate realization that for every legitimate user, there were 10 others who were using a pirated code. Clearly offline unlock codes aren’t a viable solution at all. Relying on “honesty” is a huge mistake.

when his newest product is Xtorrent – a BitTorrent client that focuses heavily on searching for new torrents and subscribing to oft-updated torrent RSS feeds. One could argue that Xtorrent is the most elegant piracy conduit on the market.

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