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logic bombs for pirates


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If you hosted your own web game, and another site copied/stole it, would it be acceptable to have the game display a bunch of traumatizing "PIRACY!!!" alerts after a certain date?  As the creator and host of the game, you could repost it with the date pushed farther in to the future, as needed. People who copied your game, and did not have the latest one, would end up displaying a warning about themselves.  This would require no connection to your site, or any other site, so it would be hard to prevent. Maybe offer a reward to the first person to report the pirate site.

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Unfortunately, such measures could easily be disabled by searching through the code for the functions and disabling them. Even with minimization and obfuscations (like Uglifier for Javascript, which I would still use) it wouldn't be very difficult to scan for such options, because the text strings would still show up as plain text in the code.

The best method I've been able to come up with, after tons of research and years of testing, is to not expose your complete dataset with the use of a database. If you have all of your code in one, easy to copy file it's trivial to copy and pirate. But if your code loads incrementally from a database that is secured with a login and is dolled out as players progress through the game, or it loads variables/values from the database at certain points the attacker would basically have to build the game themselves incrementally. (Not impossible but it would make you a very impracticable target and less likely to be victimized.) 

Login solutions like Omni-Auth (signing in with Facebook, Google, Github - see link here) can allow you to let users log in without having to make an account. (Link to one of my apps that does that here) You could still provide a demo with limited progress to casual visitors who wanted to try out the game, but require them to sign in to play further.

This is one of the primary reasons I'm porting the pixi.js library to gems that can be used with RubyOnRails, (See post here) to provide a method of easy database integration for developers who want to protect their games. (There are others, but RoR is very easy to learn for simple apps.)

I hope that helps shed some light on the situation and helps provide solutions. Good Luck!

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