Revulytics Blog

Crackers – A Lesson in Channel Marketing?

May 8, 2008


The Department of Justice announced the sentencing of a cracker to 30 months in prison – read the full press release here. This case was part of "Operation Copycat" which has resulted in over 40 convictions. It appears that in this case that Mr. Fish was caught circumventing the licensing and encryption technology being used to protect software and DVDs and was quite busy within the groups with over 13,000 software and other assets being pirated.

As many of you know, warez groups are made up individuals that fulfill specific roles, and this announcement did a good job of describing some of roles which I’ve expanded on below.

  • Cracker/encoder - reverse engineer and circumvent copy protection, code protection, and licensing schemes
  • Packager - builds and test crack software for release
  • Equipment Suppliers - provides hardware and computers for the group
  • Supplier - acquires software from within vendor or their supply chain to be provided to the group for cracking and distribution
  • Brokers - find groups to participate and recruits crackers
  • Courier - distributes crack releases

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this model mirrors how many software vendors market and sell their software. As I’ve said before piracy groups have become their own ISVs - they've got developers, testers and distribution.

This raises a couple of interesting questions: how can software vendors minimize the impact of piracy and is there anything they can learn from the pirates’ “business model?”

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.