Uniloc Releases Improved Copy Protection Solution

Uniloc USA Inc. has released the next version of its software copy protection solution. The new softAnchor 5.0 suite allows publishers to add macros to their software for product validation and better control of license use. Publishers use softAnchor 5.0 to insert about 30 to 50 lines of code anywhere into their software. The code lets software publishers audit the use of copies of their software and protect against software piracy.  

The product works by using a technology that Uniloc calls "Physical Device Fingerprinting" that can "uniquely identify any device," according to Casey Potenzone, CIO at Uniloc. The software finds imperfections in devices and uses that information to link the software to a personal computer or other hardware platform. It looks for things such as damage maps in hard disks and imperfections in silicon chips to establish the device's identity.

The softAnchor 5.0 product suite provides real-time information to software publishers about actual license use, according to an announcement issued by Uniloc. It includes a global piracy auditing solution called SoftAudit that lets publishers adjust their licensing policies "on the fly." The solution helps publishers deal with the boundaries of "casual sharing, open sharing and piracy."

Publishers may want to use Uniloc's solutions to fine tune how copies of software are distributed. Alternatively, users with legal copies of software could experience activation difficulties, so obtaining the correct information about the software's use becomes important.

"If you have a licensing system that stops users from using your product, you have a problem," Potenzone said.

A new throttling capability in softAnchor 5.0 lets publishers look at the customer's real-time usage. Publishers can increase or decrease software copy use parameters. The information also can be used to move a customer toward another version of the product, or for advertising a new product.

"What makes [Uniloc's] technology so powerful is its flexibility," Potenzone said. "Publishers can communicate with the user that they have x number of licenses left." The solution then gives publishers the option to allow the user to buy the product on the spot, he said.

Uniloc's softAnchor 5.0 is a turnkey, out-of-the-box solution, but it uses a generator to foil hackers. Depending on the publisher, Uniloc also provides customization work, Potenzone said.

The product, which is generally available, supports client and server platforms. For client platforms, it works with Windows 2000 and above and Mac OS X (Intel and PowerPC). For server platforms, Uniloc's solution works with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Java) and Windows 2000 Server and above (Java or .NET).  

Pricing for softAnchor 5.0 is based on the publisher's "configuration and environment." It's available in Trial, Professional and Enterprise editions.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.