Your license key is not valid!



  • While installing a user's machine, who shall remain anonymous,  i asked them to place the microsoft office 2003 CD into the drive.

    Much to my surprise, instead of the usual windows installer, i was presented with a very odd looking messge box from the windows script host, asking me for the license key. Dubious, i cancelled the prompt, and ran setup.exe from the disk manually. While it was installing i decided to take a quick look at the disk, to find an autorun.vbs pointed at by the autorun.inf, with the following .... impressive... non-standard script:

     

    'VB Script to install
    'Office 2003

    Dim WshShell, oExec, ProKey

    Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    ProKey = InputBox("In the box below,type your 25-character Product Key (no spaces or dashes). You will find this number on the sticker on the back of the CD case or on your Certificate of Authenticity.      Product Key: ","Microsoft Office 2003 sp2 Installation Wizard")

    If Len(ProKey) = 25 Then

    Set oExec = WshShell.Exec(".\Setup.exe ")
    Do While oExec.Status = 0
         WScript.Sleep 100
    Loop

    Else

    MsgBox "Product Key ERROR ",vbCritical

    End If

    MsgBox "     Installation Finish    "

     

    Damn, its going to take me years to crack this protection ;)

     

     



  •  Do you really think this is how MS shipped the CD?



  •  no, but look at the code... what exactly is the point??? it doesnt even pass the key to the setup program in any form never mind validate it...



  • @braindigitalis said:

     no, but look at the code... what exactly is the point??? it doesnt even pass the key to the setup program in any form never mind validate it...

     

    Most likely because it is a lame cracked copy. 



  •  has to be the lamest one ive ever seen then :-)



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Most likely because it is a lame cracked copy. 

    I was expecting it to e-mail the product key somewhere.  I hope the OP had a good anti-virus package running.



  • @DogmaBites said:

    I was expecting it to e-mail the product key somewhere.  I hope the OP had a good anti-virus package running.
     

    Same here, but I still fail to see why the OP thinks this is a WTF. When you use illegal software, this is the kind of crap you deal with.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    When you use illegal software, this is the kind of crap you deal with.

     

    I think it's perfectly possible that this is an illegal copy that tries to look like a legitimate one, so maybe the OP resp. the user he's talking about thinks they really have a legitimate license of MS Office.



  •  Reminds me of a company I did work for a little while back. They needed to get a second computer set up for their marketing people as the old one was simply too old. When the new machine arrived asked me to get the Adobe disc from one of the peopler in the marketing department, as she had bought it herself a year or two back. Uh.... okay, that sounds kind of funny as it was for the full llustrator/Bells and Whistles suite and an employee bought it for themselves to run on a company machine? Turns out that she had gotten the whole thing for ~$60 "totally legit, it has a code". Of course, you couldn't activate it through Adobe's process, instead there was a phone number to call and give them the number from the hand-printed sticker inside the CD case and they would give you instructions on what to enter for activation. And to nobody's surprise (well, except apparently theirs) the numebr given was disconnected, probably long-since. Explaining this to the office manager was kind of fun. "Yeah, we're gonna have a problem here. This software isn't going to be able to activate, you're just going to have x number of days and then it'll shut down on you." "Well why, just put in the code" "No, like I said was probably the case when you initially told me the whole thing, this is at best a gray area as far as being legit software goes, and that's a huge stretch.You're just going to have to fork out the cash for a full version of the software you've been using for basically nothing all this time" "Okay, so it'll be what, another $60-70, right?" "...." "that's what she said it cost her" "Yeah, let's just go back to that whole 'pirated' thing and then move on, shall we? Here's a link to what you have on CDW (they had a corporate account and would buy anything they could from there unless I could find mountain-moving arguments to use other vendors), you can get this package here for ~$600 (or whatever the Adobe price was, it's been a while. Just call it staggering), and that will let you do what you have been doing" "Uh.... we'll run it as a demo and get back to you". Sigh. Love seeing coporate pirating, right? And they seem so shocked when you suggest that just maybe that deal they got was in fact too good to be true.



  • @kh_l2k said:

    WALL OF TEXT

     

    GAH! My eyes!



  • @ammoQ said:

    I think it's perfectly possible that this is an illegal copy that tries to look like a legitimate one, so maybe the OP resp. the user he's talking about thinks they really have a legitimate license of MS Office.
     

    That is what I said, but in no way does this seem to be a WTF to me.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @kh_l2k said:

    WALL OF TEXT

     

    GAH! My eyes!

     Bleh, you're right... apparently the breaks decided not to... uh... break. Note to self: if you don't know for sure that a forum's quick-reply works the way you think it does, don't use it.

    And don't get stuck on the phone for long enough that you cant go back and add the breaks back in after posting. Apologies.



  •  CTRL + = increase font size, save your eyeballs

     I expect you all to overcome the wall and complete your basic training. Now Go Go Go Go!



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @DogmaBites said:

    I was expecting it to e-mail the product key somewhere.  I hope the OP had a good anti-virus package running.
     

    Same here, but I still fail to see why the OP thinks this is a WTF. When you use illegal software, this is the kind of crap you deal with.


    Why would it be illegal?
    There is absolutely no selfrespecting software protection removal specialist who would add copyprotection.

    It's far more likely someone made a custom installer with a fixed key, and to prevent people from copying the company owned disc added this bit of "protection".



  • @why? said:

    Why would it be illegal? There is absolutely no selfrespecting software protection removal specialist who would add copyprotection. It's far more likely someone made a custom installer with a fixed key, and to prevent people from copying the company owned disc added this bit of "protection".
    Just what I thought this could be. A WTF "solution" to avoid illegal copying. Not to mention that whoever did it is breaking the Microsoft EULA himself, as not only did he duplicate the media, he altered it from its original state; and into a crappier "protection" scheme to begin with.



  • @why? said:

    Why would it be illegal?
    There is absolutely no selfrespecting software protection removal specialist who would add copyprotection.



    It's far more likely someone made a custom installer with a fixed key, and to prevent people from copying the company owned disc added this bit of "protection".

    You know, that's what is called piracy ("customizing" an installer to run without the entry of a key), even if it had been unintentional.



  •  Oh dear god... I hope this doesn't turn into yet another duplication vs theft debate.



  • @derula said:

    You know, that's what is called piracy ("customizing" an installer to run without the entry of a key), even if it had been unintentional.
     

    Do you think that a company that roles out 200000 copies of MS Office 2008 has their IT staff enter the key 200000 times? Of course there are legal ways to install unattended, so this could be such a version but the IT staff also made the version with the "key check" for people who install it themselfes.



  • @derula said:

    You know, that's what is called piracy ("customizing" an installer to run without the entry of a key), even if it had been unintentional.

     No, not really.  Piracy involves illegal copying.  Assuming they paid for the software, and they are allowed to make a copy (usually this is the case) they simply modified the copy (usually not legal).  This would be copyright infringement, or illegally changing the software.  Not all copyright infringement is piracy (although most is!)

    I suppose the general distinction is that there are those of us who believe in the idea of first sale and wonder why it is they can hook their car's engine up to a generator if they like, but they aren't allowed to modify Excel to control a nuclear generator.  Oh well... :-)



  •  you are probably right here :-)

     

    There is no need to add a key to a pirated software, and as a note the setup.exe did not prompt for a key so this is the most likely scenario. It's still funny that the person writing the script would even bother, personally taking out the autorun.inf would confuse most users enough :-)



  • I agree. We have an identical situation with our site licensed Office 2005 (I'm sure we'll upgrade eventually). My entirely legit copy that I have for installing on any new machines I get is a CDR in a plastic wallet with Office written in silver marker pen and automatically enters the license code upon installation.



  • @Flatline said:

    I agree. We have an identical situation with our site licensed Office [b]2003[/b] (I'm sure we'll upgrade eventually).



  • @shepd said:

    No, not really.  Piracy involves illegal copying.  Assuming they paid for the software, and they are allowed to make a copy (usually this is the case) they simply modified the copy (usually not legal).  This would be copyright infringement, or illegally changing the software.  Not all copyright infringement is piracy (although most is!)

    I don't know where you live, but you seem to have quite a few misunderstandings about copyright law.  First, copying a work is copyright infringement.  Infringement is not modifying the software, it is any act that infringes on the exclusive right of the copyright owner to distribute a work.  Second, you are permitted to modify your own copy to your heart's content, assuming you don't do something like crack encryption, which is illegal under the DCMA.

     

    Preventing modification of a distributed work has never been a part of copyright law.  Now, you aren't permitted to redistribute the modified work as it is not your own, unless it is significantly altered and no longer recognizeable as the original work.  Additionally, you are permitted to create your own works that modify other works and you can own the copyright to these and distribute these works so long as you do not distribute the original work.  So you can write your own patches for Office and sell them and people can buy Office and apply your patches.  This is all completely legal.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't know where you live, but you seem to have quite a few misunderstandin<wbr>gs about copyright law.  First, copying a work is copyright infringement. 

    Better tell that to RMS!  I'm the biggest copyright infringer in the world! :-)  I understand what you're driving at, though.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Second, you are permitted to modify your own copy to your heart's content, assuming you don't do something like crack encryption, which is illegal under the DCMA.

    Yes, that's true, except where prohibited by the license agreement.  Up to now, I find only a few license agreements that permit you to modify the code of purchased software.  Now, when you violate the license agreement, what you've done falls somewhere between copyright infringement (since now you are NOT licensed for the copy of software you have) and good old contract breaking / fraud.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Preventing modification of a distributed work has never been a part of copyright law.

    Not directly, absolutely true.  But, in the general case of purchased software, you won't find much that lets you legally modify it, and generally using software contrary to its license is considered copyright infringement.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Now, you aren't permitted to redistribute the modified work as it is not your own, unless it is significantly altered and no longer recognizeable as the original work.  Additionally, you are permitted to create your own works that modify other works and you can own the copyright to these and distribute these works so long as you do not distribute the original work.  So you can write your own patches for Office and sell them and people can buy Office and apply your patches.  This is all completely legal.
     

    Agreed, and agreed, 100%.  If you can, based solely on documentation, change the code of software that doesn't permit that in the EULA, you're still legal to produce and sell patches.  The issue is that this isn't normally possible, it usually requires ownership/licensing of the copyrighted work in question, licensing that usually cannot be obtained for the stated purpose.



  • @shepd said:

    Now, when you violate the license agreement, what you've done falls somewhere between copyright infringement (since now you are NOT licensed for the copy of software you have) and good old contract breaking / fraud.

    If you voluntarily agree to the software license (by clicking "I agree" or the like) you are obviously bound by the terms.  Courts have yet to render a verdict on whether or not you actually have to agree with the license in order to use the software.  Since you own your copy of the software, there is nothing in copyright law that prevents you from modifying it, including removing the license agreement.  Assuming you don't agree to the license agreement, the copyright holder has no control over what you can do with the work, except for duplication of the work.  This is pretty much a grey area because there has been no ruling in the US that says you must agree to a license for a piece of software you bought, since you own it.  On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be sued even if I was within my rights, so it's definitely something you should tread carefully around.

     

    My point is that copyright infringment is only copying of software.  Modifying software may be violating a contract you agreed to (the license agreement) but it is not a matter of copyright law.  Licenses are only enforceable if agreed to and speaking in a historical sense there has never been a law or verdict that says you cannot modify a copy of a work you own.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Since you own your copy of the software
    Except that you don't necessarily own it - you own the license to use it, at least in some countries (IIRC, Microsoft got in trouble because of this in India recently, because the tax for such licensed leases is higher than sales tax).



  • @ender said:

    Except that you don't necessarily own it - you own the license to use it, at least in some countries (IIRC, Microsoft got in trouble because of this in India recently, because the tax for such licensed leases is higher than sales tax).

    Yes, I was referring to the United States.  In the US shrinkwrap software is technically owned by the purchaser, not by the publisher.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @ender said:

    Except that you don't necessarily own it - you own the license to use it, at least in some countries (IIRC, Microsoft got in trouble because of this in India recently, because the tax for such licensed leases is higher than sales tax).

    Yes, I was referring to the United States.  In the US shrinkwrap software is technically owned by the purchaser, not by the publisher.

    In the recent MDY v. Blizzard decision, one of the court's findings was that the World of Warcraft software was licensed, not sold.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't know where you live, but you seem to have quite a few misunderstandings about copyright law.  First, copying a work is copyright infringement.  Infringement is not modifying the software, it is any act that infringes on the exclusive right of the copyright owner to distribute a work.  Second, you are permitted to modify your own copy to your heart's content, assuming you don't do something like crack encryption, which is illegal under the DCMA.
     

    As far as I am concerned, the DCMA can just suck my cock and lick my balls. So can the RIAA and whoever else like that. 

    If I want to buy a DVD in Japan and watch it at home (especially when Japan is the only place I can buy it) then I will do so. If it requires me to crack the ridiculous region coding and CSS encryption to do so, I will. I paid for it therefore I will use it. Period. The same goes for audio or anything else.

    My issue with all of these laws is that I understand what they are trying to protect and the reasoning. However, it's getting to the point where the consumer at home is so adversely affected it's beyond ridiculous. When I, as a paying customer, have to break laws in order to use what I purchased then it has gone too far. 

     



  • @Kermos said:

    As far as I am concerned, the DCMA can just suck my cock and lick my balls. So can the RIAA and whoever else like that. 

    If I want to buy a DVD in Japan and watch it at home (especially when Japan is the only place I can buy it) then I will do so. If it requires me to crack the ridiculous region coding and CSS encryption to do so, I will. I paid for it therefore I will use it. Period. The same goes for audio or anything else.

    My issue with all of these laws is that I understand what they are trying to protect and the reasoning. However, it's getting to the point where the consumer at home is so adversely affected it's beyond ridiculous. When I, as a paying customer, have to break laws in order to use what I purchased then it has gone too far.

    I agree.  I'm all for paying for content and I loathe the morons who justify their theft by saying intellectual property isn't real, but I also hate the restrictions that being placed on digital content. 



  • @Kermos said:

    However, it's getting to the point where the consumer at home is so adversely affected it's beyond ridiculous.
     

    Thats odd, I have never had an issue with playing my CDs or DVDs.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Thats odd, I have never had an issue with playing my CDs or DVDs.
    Count yourself lucky. I have 2 CDs that my car radio (and a few DVD players) refuses to play due to anti-copying measures. The copied CD (so much for copy protection) plays without problems.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Thats odd, I have never had an issue with playing my CDs or DVDs.

    I've had some CDs that get bitchy about being ripped.  I just crack the CSS on the few DVDs I own and rip them to my hard drive because I don't want to mess with changing discs and possibly damaging them, etc..  I can imagine if you like to watch a lot of foreign films it must be a pain in the ass because of the region coding.  To me that is the single biggest offense I've seen the RIAA or MPAA commit.  It is obnoxious restraint that prevents you from consuming content and has no basis in any reasonable interpretation of property law. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Thats odd, I have never had an issue with playing my CDs or DVDs.

    I've had some CDs that get bitchy about being ripped.  I just crack the CSS on the few DVDs I own and rip them to my hard drive because I don't want to mess with changing discs and possibly damaging them, etc..  I can imagine if you like to watch a lot of foreign films it must be a pain in the ass because of the region coding.  To me that is the single biggest offense I've seen the RIAA or MPAA commit.  It is obnoxious restraint that prevents you from consuming content and has no basis in any reasonable interpretation of property law. 

     

    That's precisely my problem. I speak German, English and Japanese and have content in all 3 languages. Matter of fact, most music I listen to is Japanese though CD's I have relative little problems. I have no idea how they are supposed to prevent being ripped but I suspect most of the anti-copy/rip measures assume windows and fall flat on their face if I rip the CD's from linux. Matter of fact, friend of mine from Japan just brought me back some CD's and one of them had a big thing in the front of it explaining how it can't possibly be ripped. Right...I'm listening to the ripped flac files right now. Plus my car radio also has support for USB Flash drives so I rip all my CD's to MP3 format as well and store it on there. No more CD swapping in my car.

    DVDs are where it is problematic. I have a lot of DVDs (Japanese anime) that I have from Japan that would normally not play in a non-japanese DVD player as they are region coded to Japan. I also have some DVDs from Germany, same thing. Those will only play on European players unless you remove the region coding. Plus just like morbiuswilters, I too like storing my DVDs on hard drives. Allows me to protect the originals and makes it simple and easy to choose what I want to watch. Just have a media PC attached to a TV. Love it.

    PS2 (and I suspect PS3) and I know the nintendo WII are all region coded too. As a lot of the games for those consoles come originally from Japan, I prefer playing them in Japanese. Especially Final Fantasy games on the Playstation, and not everything translates all that well between Japanese and English. In those cases though, I have little choice but to buy the Japanese consoles which is not easy as retailers in Japan won't ship electronics to non-japanese addresses. My keyboards for instance I had to resort to a local friend buying them from a store and sending them to me. Makes it expensive and a hassle. Shipping costs suck...

    So yes, there are plenty of ways those things can be an issue MasterPlanSoftware. I agree though, for someone that lives in say the US and only listens to US content and doesn't care about content from other parts of the world, they likely aren't going to run into that many problems. Though still, even there, there can be some issues such as trying to rip a music CD to a usb flash drive that doesn't want to be ripped so you can listen to it in your car without swapping CDs...



  • @Kermos said:

    So yes, there are plenty of ways those things can be an issue MasterPlanSoftware. I agree though, for someone that lives in say the US and only listens to US content and doesn't care about content from other parts of the world, they likely aren't going to run into that many problems. Though still, even there, there can be some issues such as trying to rip a music CD to a usb flash drive that doesn't want to be ripped so you can listen to it in your car without swapping CDs...
     

    I have at least 200 CDs and they are all ripped to mp3s that I use in my car with no issue.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I have at least 200 CDs and they are all ripped to mp3s that I use in my car with no issue.

    Oh I don't doubt that for a moment. However, while rare, I do have a few CD's that did come with a note on top of them about a copy protection mechanism and these CD's also are multi-session with an additional track on the very outside that is not audio. The track seems to contain an executable that gets started via autorun.inf that is supposed to prevent attempts to copy / rip the CD.

     



  •  That reminds me of Sony's rootkit garbage a few years back.  I still refuse to buy any Sony products because of that.



  • @Kermos said:

    I have no idea how they are supposed to prevent being ripped but I suspect most of the anti-copy/rip measures assume windows and fall flat on their face if I rip the CD's from linux. Matter of fact, friend of mine from Japan just brought me back some CD's and one of them had a big thing in the front of it explaining how it can't possibly be ripped. Right...I'm listening to the ripped flac files right now. Plus my car radio also has support for USB Flash drives so I rip all my CD's to MP3 format as well and store it on there. No more CD swapping in my car.

     

    Heh. I know at least one CD that had some half-baked DRM thingy that made it impossible to listen the CD under Windows. It launched some weird Flash page, which was supposed to "download keys" for listening. It never went past that. Switching over to Linux, however, would let me listen the CD in all its glory.

    Some other disks, however, do have some weird effect: the first track goes silent, and the second track is also silent for the first 30 or so seconds. The rest of the CD plays as normal.

    I really hate how they b0rk legally bought CDs, most of us have either portable mp3 players, or mp3-reading stereo systems! It isn't even a matter of freeloading, but actually getting to listen my music in my stereo/cellphone/iPod/whatever.

    Plus, I'd also have a backup, just in case. I've already lost some CDs due to excessive scratching. 

    @Kermos said:

    I agree though, for someone that lives in say the US and only listens to US content and doesn't care about content from other parts of the world, they likely aren't going to run into that many problems. Though still, even there, there can be some issues such as trying to rip a music CD to a usb flash drive that doesn't want to be ripped so you can listen to it in your car without swapping CDs...

    The US is Region 1. Mexico is Region 4. Why, you might ask? Well, anything tech-related is usually 1.5x or 2x more expensive over here, even when the average family income is around $500/month. So those who have friends in the border, or actually live there will usually cross the border, buy the goodies, then return to Mexico and enjoy! An even more common practice is to sell them once back in Mexico, undeclared imported US goods for the purpose of re-selling in Mexico are known as fayuca, and those who engage in this practice fayuqueros. So CSS cracking is basically a need over here; this is also why the region-free DVD players boomed over here very quickly.

    Even though Mexico is still Region 4, even the official stores now sell hybrid 1/4 DVD's, Region 1 DVD's, and most of the DVD players in the market are region-free. Funny enough, when the PS2 was released over here, it was the Region 1 PS2. It seems not even Sony bothered in producing a Region 4 version, and the included GameShark DVD had "region changing" as one of its features. 



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    when the PS2 was released over here, it was the Region 1 PS2. It seems not even Sony bothered in producing a Region 4 version,

     

    uh.... region 4 isn't just Mexico and South America, mate. Region 4 PS2s are alive and well, two of which are in my house.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    Heh. I know at least one CD that had some half-baked DRM thingy that made it impossible to listen the CD under Windows. It launched some weird Flash page, which was supposed to "download keys" for listening. It never went past that. Switching over to Linux, however, would let me listen the CD in all its glory.
    This was one of those copy-protections that you could get around by holding Shift while inserting the CD (or even better - by completely disabling autoplay).@danixdefcon5 said:
    Some other disks, however, do have some weird effect: the first track goes silent, and the second track is also silent for the first 30 or so seconds. The rest of the CD plays as normal.
    Usually something like EAC can get around these.

    The biggest problems were Sony's Key2Audio CDs, which had corrupted TOC that confuses most computer drives (any many car stereos and stand-alone DVD players). I found out that my old TEAC CD-R55S (4x12 CD-R drive) would completely ignore the bad TOC on these CDs and treat them as normal audio CDs (that was even before I found out about "use permanent marker on visible ring on the underside of CD" technique).


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.