1996-12-20 - Re: Executing Encrypted Code

Header Data

From: ph@netcom.com (Peter Hendrickson)
To: Andrew Loewenstern <andrew_loewenstern@il.us.swissbank.com>
Message Hash: 86943cba0eb8646865bdbeca18c5e82a1829a38cae118edf4ac94682da88e031
Message ID: <v02140b0aaee0d241f441@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-12-20 23:58:14 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 15:58:14 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: ph@netcom.com (Peter Hendrickson)
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 15:58:14 -0800 (PST)
To: Andrew Loewenstern <andrew_loewenstern@il.us.swissbank.com>
Subject: Re: Executing Encrypted Code
Message-ID: <v02140b0aaee0d241f441@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 5:25 PM 12/20/1996, Andrew Loewenstern wrote:
>Peter Hendrickson writes:
>>  I would expect software prices to drop because everybody using
>>  the software would be paying for it.

> I don't mean to sound rude or insult you personally, but this is utterly
> absurd.  If everyone is paying for the software then the company would be
> making even MORE money.  Only a fool would want to make less money!!  If
> wasn't important to these people they wouldn't be in the business of selling
> software in the first place!

> Aside from putting a gun to people's heads, the only thing that lowers
> is competition.

Yes, I was assuming a free market.  Sorry if that was not clear.

Not only would software companies face competition in the decrypting-processor
market, but they also face competition with other packages running on
other platforms.

Presumably customers would need some sort of reason to use the
decrypting-processor.  Some companies may choose lower price.

> Only a fool would want to make less money!!

I agree completely!

>>  It is not out of the question for software vendors to sell
>>  two versions of the same software.  One is the piracy-free
>>  version and the other is the copy-as-much-as-you-can version.
>>  I would expect the piracy-free version to be substantially
>>  cheaper.

> That would render the entire scheme pointless.  It only takes _____ONE_____
> copy of the software to get out for the whole world to pirate it.

This was discussed a few posts back.

Let's say you manage to get the secret key out of the decrypting-processor.
That gives you the executable which could run on any decrypting-processor.
Since it is not authenticated (*) you can't run it on another
decrypting-processor.  You can run it in emulation someplace else,
but a heavy performance price is paid.  If the leading edge processors
are all decrypting-processors, a very heavy performance price is paid.
If the instruction set is kept secret, even writing an emulator could
become hard.

(* I am being inconsistent, incidentally.  At one point I said that software
would be authenticated once, but I now realize that to prevent multiple
uses it has to be authenticated for use on a particular processor, too.)

Peter Hendrickson