Copy Protection: Where there is a will ...

May I introduce you to a copy protection mechanism from 30 years ago (to be almost exact). Time travel back to 1984 and Jet Set Willy.

At the tender age of 15, a group of school chums and I were part of the 'computer club'; yeah I know, how geeky is that. Apart from being geeks and learning how to write programs. We had quite a prolific software piracy ring going. Most of us had Spectrums, so would be keen to trade, copy, blag, borrow etc.

Then Jet Set Willy appeared, with its ... code sheet (see below).

It was designed to stop photocopies, as the norm was black white. Digital cameras were not around and taking a photo required the cost of developing the pictures. Which meant it was just as cost effective to pay the £5.99 for Jet Set.

So, lets introduce the £0.20 exercise book; the will power of the school child's mind and off we go. One one of us had Jet Set Willy, we would copy the codes into our exercise book then trade the opportunity to 'copy' this.

The initial effort may have taken an evening, we had that sort of time to waste. But the dividends for the geeks and kids in our town made it worth the effort.

Copy protection methods have become more subtle. But somehow everyone still seems to be able to obtain moody copies of different applications and games and still seem to find ways to circumvent the protection.

From aged 15 to  aged 45 I still find this quite amusing.


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