Let me be the first to play the part of Mr Obvious and state that any DRM can be broken. (I expect the usual amount of upvotes for that)
Now, what are the pros of offering a software without DRM:
- no need to design, implement, maintain, test, support the DRM component, or no need to buy and integrate the DRM component.
- everyone can just download and run, so more people end up using the software
I'm concerned about some negative consequences of offering the software without any license protection:
- If the software is niche (and will stay this way because of its nature), cracks may not even be available. So we are losing a certain amount of income from the sale to people, who would buy the software if DRM would be present (without cracks available).
- We are losing a certain amount of income from people who would buy the software if their only chance to use it illegally was to use a crack. One reason for that may be that people are afraid of viruses in cracks. The other may be a psychological thing - that is, people are more aware they are acting illegally when they have to actively bypass the DRM.
- How can a software author enforce some other license restriction without DRM? Again, it's a psychological thing, since users tend to mentally relax EULA points (which they don't read) to their benefit, unless they have to actively bypass the DRM, which enforces them. Example restriction may be use of the software on one PC at a time.
- How to offer time limited free updates to software? For example, what if we wanted to grant users the right to every new version for 2 years from the time of their purchase? (which is often a necessity to sell anything). With the software freely available, you would have to hope that your customers undergo software audit and the auditors somehow check the date of the installed version versus the date of license purchase. Which would probably mean that the software author would have to embed the date of the build into the software, which would already be a kind of DRM, and would have to hope that software auditor takes notice of it, which is realistically very unlikely if the software is niche.
Do you have experience selling software without technical license protection mechanism? How do you deal with any of the issues raised and possibly other issues?