"Phone home" software licensing question

Balrog49

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Dec 6, 2015
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Suppose you buy a Windows software suite that uses "phone home" licensing. In other words, every time you run it, it connects to a server somewhere and says "am I really licensed to run on this machine?"

If that's possible, can you then do this?

a. Clone the drive you installed the software on. (The software is installed on a Windows system drive so that whatever it does to the registry stays with it.)
b. Put that drive into another computer with no Internet access
c. Use the software
d. Repeat indefinitely

If you can do that, can you make an infinite number of cloned drives that can run the software on any machine as long as there's no Internet access?

I have no intention of doing this or violating any anti-piracy measures. I just want to understand how things work.
 

Balrog49

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Dec 6, 2015
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Thanks! That makes sense.

It occurs to me that asking more questions about this would be asking how the "cracked" versions of software products that you can buy on eBay work and I'd rather not know that. The answers are probably on the dark net.
 

randomizer

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Jul 24, 2006
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Many programs that phone home do so periodically (maybe on startup) and will just refuse to run if they can't. Having no Internet connection will leave you with lots of copies of unusable software. If the software only phones home once then there could still be other roadblocks as mentioned by Someone Somewhere. As is often the case, the answer is "it depends."
 
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