Product Activation sucks.

Feb 6, 2009 12:52 · 310 words · 2 minute read

The music industry has figured out that DRM doesn’t work and does more to annoy real customers than it does to stop thieves. If they had paid attention to history, they would have found that in the 80s and early 90s, the software industry had already learned that lesson.

Recently, I moved from an older Mac laptop to a new one. I used the Migration Assistant and everything came across just fine and appeared to be working just fine. Then, last night I recorded a video using ScreenFlow at the MichiPUG meeting. Much to my surprise, it said that it was an unregistered copy. Entering my license key didn’t help, because it said the number was “expired”.

I also had a suspicion about another product I own, Kinemac, and sure enough it had gone into an unregistered state.

Before wiping my old computer, I did think to deauthorize iTunes. But, is someone seriously going to remember to deauthorize every random program that uses that technique? What a waste of time!

So, shame on you Vara Software (ScreenFlow) and Kinemac for not learning from history. I have no doubt that they’ll take care of getting me up and running again… that’s not the point. The point is that every other commercial program I use has continued to work just fine (Apple’s software, Things, Pixelmator MenuCalendarClock, TextMate, Leap and everything else I’ve tried that I’m forgetting).

Update: It looks like the issue with ScreenFlow may not have

been a bad product activation system. Vara Software was acquired by

Telestream last year, and I think their product licensing system

switched over to Telestream’s in the process. So, my old Vara Software

style serial number was no longer valid. Their tech support people had

me “repurchase” the software with a coupon code that made it free, thus

giving me a valid, up-to-date serial number.