I don't think the success of a commercial product depends on whether it's 
source is public or not. But it may depend if the product can be easily 
stolen or multiplied. Sure, you can simply trust people that they act 
honestly and lefally but that isn't always the case. 
Let's assume you made a great product for ISP's (that again will be used by 
their customers). You sell a ISP ten licenses for the use product. But who 
tells you that company does not install and use it some hundred times? You 
have no control over it and you don't even know it in most cases. In this 
case no contract helps you if 90% of the installations of your product 
exist without you knowing it.

That's why I'm thinking of a copy protection. Maybe some sort of 
registration key that allows the use of the product only on a specific 
domain. The protection mechanism should of course be protected itself, 
meaning the code should be encoded or scrambled or whatever.

Sure there is no 100% secure copy protection. I think the question is: "how 
can I make it most difficult to break?"

The Zend Encoder is way too expensive and even requires the zend optimizer 
on the server. The "PHP Obfuscator" seems to be a really good alternative. 

Maybe not even all the code must be secured. One could also encrypt only a 
important include file or something that is necessary for the product to 
work. You then would have a good copy protection (maybe) and the main code 
is still open for individual modifications. 

I simply heard too much about stolen software. Maybe you can trust the 
company itself but can you trust every employee of the company? Once a 
illegal copy is distribuited it's over with the trust. Bang! Your product 
is installed on 1000 web sites (without you knowing that) and you have sold 
only 50 licenses...

Of course all values are for explanation only ;)


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