Shane Pitman under the pseudonym of Pitball was the leader of Razor 1911 in it's later years. He was arrested and sentenced to serve a 18 months jail term as outlined here www.cybercrime.gov/pitmanSent.htm
In early 2005 Shane while on probation started a thread on the Neowin web site talking about his post jail experience while trying to find a job. Well the thread proved very popular with Shane being quite happy to respond to the many questions he was asked. So below I have filtered out all the junk from the thread and turned his thread replies into a more readable Q/A format.
Ipggi - www.defacto2.net
What was the good old prision like?
Well, in short, it sucked. The federal prison system is probably over 90% drug offenders. Most of them are about as smart as a salt lick, and the staff, from what I've seen, isn't much smarter. Overall, the facility I was initially at, F.P.C. (Federal Prison Camp) Seymour Johnson (which is on the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base) wasn't too horribly bad. Sure, the food sucks (I've seen them use meat that had expired in 1999. It was frozen all that time, sure, but still yet, ewwww) and you're away from your family, but you got to pretty much roam the camp whenever you wanted to. They had a track, which I walked a lot, a weight yard, which I never went to (too many shady characters hung out there and there), a small library (I read over a hundred books while I was there, I lost count) a chapel (which was very questionable as all of the services they held looked more like Showtime at the Apollo rather than Church) and an Education department for the inmates to take GED and some college courses (provided by Wayne Community College).
This is where it gets bad. About 3 months shy of going home, I got the opportunity to go to work in the Education department. They ran a Compaq Proliant server with Compaq terminals running Citrix (thin clients) for all of the classrooms. The server bit the big one, the head of the Education dept. knew who I was and what I knew, and "arranged" for me to go to work for her. I reloaded the server, got all the terminals set back up, and showed her how to run things more efficiently. I had been working there for about a month, and she was getting ready to go on vacation for a week. Two days after she left, they rounded up myself and two other guys that worked in education and shipped us off to "the hole" at Butner Low Security Correctional Institution. They wouldn't tell us why, what we were being shipped for, nothing. Come to find out, the Associate Warden and the head of the education department didn't get along, and the AW had arranged to have us shipped while our boss was on vacation because she and one of the instructors that worked under the Education Director thought they had something on the ED to get rid of her.
So, from the end of August to the end of October of last year, myself and my cell mate got to sit in a room about 9ft. x 15ft. with a solid metal door that had a little narrow window looking out into the hall and a small slot that they opened to hand you your food tray. The cell had a small window looking out in to a razor wire fenced compound, a solid metal bunk bed with a vinyl covered foam pad for a mattress (solid metal, no springs), a metal toilet with a sink made on to the back of it, and a metal shower stall just barely big enough to turn around in. We got clean clothes once a week (orange jumpers, boxers, socks, and t-shirts, yes everyone swapped clothes, you didn't get your own underwear, they washed them and you got what they gave you). I got to call my family twice for 15 minutes each time while I was in the hole, and I got to see my wife and father (who had to drive for 4 hours each way to come see me) for about an hour 3 or 4 times while I was in the hole. I was locked down for 23 hours a day 5 days a week and 24 hours a day on the weekends. When we were taken outside for an hour through the week, we were put in cages about the size of dog kennels, which were on a concrete pad inside a blocked wall and razor wired compound. All you could see was the sky. I was put with people who had murdered, raped, both on the street and while they had been in prison.
This is rambling on and on, and I could go in to a lot more detail, but I doubt anyone here wants to hear it, and it's really emotionally hard for me to talk about, although at some point I probably need to. At any rate, if you see me ranting about the federal government and scolding people for wishing someone would get sent to prison, especially for petty B.S., you know why. I've been there, and I don't think I was treated fairly at all for the crime I committed or for my actions and behavior while I was incarcerated.
Shane (may i call you shane? lol) man i think you should write a book about your story and things youve learned from your experiences. i'd buy it. or... download it..
Please do call me Shane. :) You aren't the first person to suggest that I write a book based on my experiences. I'd like to do that, and I have written before, although it's all been training and technical material. Sitting down to write biographically is a lot different, and I feel like I would probably need the help of someone more experienced in that style of writing.
This is exactly why I want to destroy/change the American legal system, its plain stupid. You didn’t do anything THAT bad and if it wasn’t you it could have been someone else. You can’t control the internet like this, you should have received a small fine and have equipment sized at the MOST.
Oh believe me, they did take equipment. They took every computer I had (about 10 or so at the time), whether it had anything illegal on it or not. They said "anything that doesn't have illegal material on it will be returned to you" which was a total lie. I had a G4 server that I had just loaded OS X on (legally), nothing else, just the OS. I have the box and the CD's here, but they never returned it, and they never will.
Question, did you pay your fine? how much? did you get a shorter sentence?
I had no fines or restitution to pay. The probation officer that did my pre-sentence investigation (called a PSI) determined that I couldn't afford to pay anything. You see, at the time that I got busted, I was the Network/Systems Administrator for a fiber optics components manufacturer. About a year after I got busted, my investigation was still ongoing, and the company I worked for went through some massive layoffs and downsizing. They cut the entire IT department in favor of outsourcing, which of course meant that I had no job. Now, no company is going to hire someone to fill an IT position knowing that they could potentially and very likely be going off to prison at any given time for who knows how long. So, I have pretty much gone with very little income aside from the few contract jobs that I could scrounge up or that friends would throw at me since November of 2002. In short, no, I didn't have any fines or restitution to pay. I couldn't have paid it, and still can't, even if I did.
So did you get out early? I can't help but notice that the difference between the date of the document and the date of your enrollment here doesn't equal 18 months.
No, I spent the rest of my time on house arrest, like Martha Stewart is doing or did. Is she off house arrest yet?
Just wondering - any writers on neowin be interested in doing this? Obviously only if you didn't want to do it yourself as bios can be quite complex, and also writing is boring. lol.
I wouldn't be opposed to writing a book with someone who had more writing experience than I, especially someone who had biographical experience.
Did you get raped in jail? The reason I'm asking that is because I've seen police videos of cops catching guards raping inmates. And sometimes putting their head in the inmate's toilet, forcing them to make bubbles in their own feces/water mixture. I apologize if this sounds nasty but I am really curious. I don't know anyone that has been to jail before except for a friend stabbing someone that was bullying him, after months and months of getting bullied. He stayed in jail for one day.
No, I didn't get raped or anything like that. The homosexuals pretty much keep to themselves from what I've seen, at least at the minimum and low security levels. At those low levels everyone has at the most 10 years to go, and nobody wants to get a time increase for doing something stupid, so everyone pretty much leaves everyone else alone. As for the guards, for the most part they are only there for the paycheck and the retirement. As long as you don't cause excessive work for them, they don't bother you. There are some hard nosed ones, but they're usually new and inexperienced and trying to prove themselves. Now in the hole, I saw inmates who would hold crap in their hand and when the guards would open the slot in the door to hand them their food tray or clothing or whatever, the inmates would throw the crap on the guards. They spit on them, stuffed things in their toilets to flood the cell block if they weren't happy with the food or for whatever, sometimes just out of boredom. They'd bang on the doors, the metal shower stalls, anything to make noise, and this went on 24/7 day and night.
It might take a bit longer. I got my computer stuff back (including all the illegal stuff, except for burned CDs) back about a year after I did my CS (no prison though)/2 years after they took it. Of course that wasn't in the US though.
Nah, they sent me some forms in the mail that pretty much said my stuff was gone. They were going to auction it or sell it off or something.
Is totally unjust the legal system that is designed to protect us all and be fair to those in guilt or innocence isn't as transparent as it should be. Is there no sort of system where you can report your prison experience? Even if there was, I doubt anyone would really pay attention. They totally took the hard line on you for committing what at the end of the day was a 'white collar' offence. I hope that life treats you better from now on, I certainly think you deserve it!
Honestly, at this point, I'm just trying to get back to living my life without being afraid to live. I don't know if I have any recourse or if I did if I would pursue it. I still peek out the window blinds when a car pulls in the driveway out of paranoia. I've heard so many stories of probation officers violating people on probation (which I am for the next three years) and sending them back to prison. I'm scared to fart in public for fear they'll accuse me of something and send me back.
You said you were in the cell with another guy in the last part? What was it like to be stuck like that for so long? You could get some pretty intense conversations like that. What was that part like? I honestly would probably go insane if i was trapped alone, but I would probably still get really messed with someone there, no personal space.
Well, when they took us to "the hole" I got put in a cell with a young black guy that they had sent to the hole from the same camp (FPC Seymour Johnson). I'd seen him around, but never talked to him. He was sent to the hole for refusing to go out on his assigned work detail (picking up sticks). Like I said, he was young, 20, and he was in prison for selling two dime rocks of crack (prior to this experience I had no idea what a "dime rock" was, but I learned that it is a piece of crack cocaine that it about the size of a piece of rock salt or a pencil eraser) to an undercover cop in D.C.
Anyway, this guy, we'll call him Sherman (close, but not his real name), was very talkative and energetic, as most 20 year old guys are. He was also hell bent on breaking rules and living life his way no matter what. He'd save fruit, and juice, and sugar from our food trays and get the orderlies to sneak him a trash bag, and he'd make booze out of it. He'd pour the juice and sugar into the bag and then squeeze the fruit in to it (citrus fruits) and then tear the fruit in to pieces and throw it in the bag. Then he would tie the bag up in the window so the sun would hit it. He'd let it sit for several days, adding sugar to it. It bubbled and foamed and looked and smelled like vomit. I refused to touch it and tried constantly to get him to pour it down the toilet, but he never would. He drank the stuff and said he got a buzz off of it. I dunno, it looked to me like something that had already been eaten once and I wasn't about to touch it. Sherman got to go back to Seymour, and I got a new "cellie". Although the week I left to come home Sherman returned to the hole. I heard that he'd gotten caught making his concoction back at Seymour Johnson.
The cellie that replaced Sherman we'll call Mark (again, close but not his real name. Mark was 30 years old, and he was half black, half Cherokee Indian. Mark was a graduate of a well known culinary school who had gotten a state drug charge, served his time, been released and started a new life, only to have the feds come back and nab him for the same thing he'd already done state time on. Thus, he was serving time for the same crime twice. Mark was a nice guy, but he was very particular, not as easy going as Sherman. For example, he wanted the lights out at 9pm every night so that he could go to sleep and get up at 5am to "work out". Let me tell you, "working out" in a 9ft.X15ft. room is not easy. He'd run in place, do crunches, sit-ups, whatever. He blasted his headphones as loud as he could get them, listening to rap constantly. He'd stand at the door and yell as loud as he could to tell some other inmate to "holla at me". I never understood that. These guys who were locked down 23 hours a day would yell back and forth at each other constantly asking one another what they were doing. I mean, we're all locked in exactly the same type cells with nothing and you can't figure out what the other guys are doing? I know, they're just talking to keep from loosing it, but yeesh, it got old. Anyway, Mark was in the hole for "getting a dirty" meaning he failed a drug test back at Seymour Johnson. Yes, there are drugs in prison, it's almost amusing how much. Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling again, so I'll end this by saying that Mark was still in the hole when I left to come home, although I know now that he was sent to a Low security facility in another state.
I've known Shane for a very long time (what is it, 17-18 years now?), and went and saw him a couple times while he was there (wish I could have gone more, but that was a killer drive). From the visitor's perspective, the place looked more like a College campus. BUT that was only the visitors center. We'd get there at what, 8am or so and could stay until I think 3? They had food machines & stuff there, and the food wasn't exactly terrible, but was most likely beter than what he got in the actual prison.
We we going to see him about 2 months before he got out, but when I called his wife she told me he wasn't at that prison (was during the confinement time he had).
I hope he does get the job, I know him and his family could use it. I know in our area IT jobs are scarce, so I hope for the best :).
I just wonder how many people who were involved with his trial & stuff can honestly say they have paid for each and every thing on their PC's, I'm betting very few indeed...
More years that I care to count, since we were teenagers. Yeah, visitations at Seymour Johnson were Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 3pm. I usually got a visit from my wife and kids and my dad every other weekend. But when I got sent to the hole, I could only have visitors on Saturday, and only for an hour. It was also a longer drive, so they couldnt come as often. I didnt want my kids to see me in the state I was in while I was in the hole. It's not a clean environment and you're treated a lot harsher than you are at a camp. So, from August to October, I didnt get to see or talk to my kids.
As for the job, I really need this job. It's not easy for a family of 4 to live on a single income of 30k a year. Not with mortgage payments and everything.
How did you first find out that you were "busted", did you get a phone call, did the police come to your house?
I was at work and my phone rang. It was an FBI agent telling me that they were at my house with a warrant and that I needed to come let them in immediately or they'd let themselves in via the boot to the door method. So, I drove home to find 7 or 8 FBI and US Customs vehicles in my driveway and yard. I had to pull in the yard because they had my driveway filled. As soon as my car stopped they surrounded it and as soon as I opened the door to step out one of them grabbed me and pinned me against the car and frisked me. They were all wearing their combat gear, tactical vests with FBI and CUSTOMS in big letters across the back. You'd have thought I was Saddam Hussein or something. Anyway, I let them in the house, which as soon as I unlocked the door they pushed me inside and up against the wall and proceeded to move from room to room, guns drawn, "securing the site". They had an older guy with them, a civilian who said he was their "forensics expert". He helped them catalog all of my stuff. They pretty much kept me sitting in the living room while they packed up all my stuff, then gave me a receipt for it and left saying "we'll be in touch."
So shane, how'd you get caught? Was it a slipup in a release? Did they track your IP? or did someone snitch on you?
The short version, I got comfortable and thus got lazy. The feds busted an ftp site that I used. I connected to it from home without using a shell or a proxy, and they had my IP. I knew better, I'd just done it for so long, it was old hat to me. Isn't that how it always goes though. You get comfortable and start taking shortcuts only to end up screwing yourself. And yes, some of it is hard to talk about, but it's probably therapeutic on some level as well. I haven't really talked about my experiences with anyone. I haven't even talked about my prison experiences to my family that much. It's hard.
I don't see why people are almost admiring you for what you did, but nevertheless good luck with the job hunt. federal prison sounds like a harsh punishment for copyright infringment, but do you think you would have stopped if they had just gave you probation?
I'm pretty sure that I'd have stopped with just probation, yes. Having the feds raid your house, confiscate all your gear, and put you through the hell of their investigations for a year was enough of a wake up call for me. Truth be told, I was on the way out myself anyway. I'd done all I could do, reached the top so to speak, and it was getting old. I'd have given myself another year, two at the most and I'd have bowed out gracefully and disappeared into oblivion. I guess they just facilitated my exit a little sooner.
Oh, and are any of the Razor team still around? It'd be interresting to know if there are. And if you still keep in touch with them.
I'd assume not, because you'd be too scared to. I would too.
I'm sure Razor 1911 is still in existence in some form. To be honest, I can't say 100% because I don't know. When all of the busts started happenng everyone pretty much vanished. Nobody talked, nobody called, we all just ceased to exist online. Of course for me and the others who got nailed, we'd already come into the governments crosshairs, we just didn't know it. Since then, I haven't talked to anyone. I couldn't honestly tell you if the group is still alive and if it is who's involved with it. I know I'll never be involved again. It's just not worth everything that I've gone through. For copying some computer games and apps? No way.
You cracked quake and released it before its release date?
Razor 1911 released Quake on the 23rd of July 1996. That is historical fact, and I won't say any more about it than that, as I don't want to violate the Neowin ToS.
I would like to know too :D Shane, what were your feelings the first time you were released after you were locked up for so long? And, whet did your father tell you when he found out you were busted and sent to the slammer?
You know, when my wife and my dad came to pick me up, I walked out the same front door that I'd been brought to the hole through. The same front door, that when I arrived, I was handcuffed with a waist chain and leg shackles and guarded by a man holding a shotgun on me... it was a strange feeling. Even now my hands are shaking trying to type. I walked out that front door and it was almost unreal, like a dream. when we got in the car and pulled out on to the road, I started crying. I couldn't stop. I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe it was joy, maybe it was relief, I think part of it was understanding what I'd just been through, I'm not sure.
As for what my father said when he found out, he actually knew the feds were at my house before I did. He'd gone to the bank that morning and was on his way home, which required him to pass by my house. he saw all the cars there and pulled in to see what was going on. They told him who they were and why they were there. He gave them my work number, left and called me as soon as he got to his house. Of course when he called I had just gotten off the phone with the FBI. He met me back over at my house. My dad is great. He and I are very close and he loves me no matter what. He & I both know that what I was doing was illegal, but, like a lot of people, he feels that I got a lot more in terms of punishment than I should have.
I guess, after saying that, I'd have to ask you if you felt that your sentence was fair? I mean, did the time in jail actually do anything for you, as opposed to, say, if they had decided to put you on probation for a while? I see you just admitted that you were planning to leave the scene relatively soon and that raises one more question I have, and that is, was this fact mentioned in your trial, and do you think it had any effect on your sentence?
To be honest, this entire ordeal has tainted my respect for the federal governmet and our legal system. I mean, when I get sent to prison for violating copyright laws, and while I'm in prison I see the Associate Warden swapping copies of DVD movies with her secretary.... *sigh*
No, the fact that I was planning to retire from the scene was never brought up, and it wouldn't have done any good really. I mean as far as the law is concerned it's like saying "I was only going to rob one more bank" or "I would have only killed one more person".
Do I think my sentence was fair? No, I don't. I've never had any charges against me in my life other than a speeding ticket when I was a teenager. Prior to going to prison ( I mean up to the very week before I left) I was an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout troop that I had been in since I was 10 years old. I coached tee-ball and flag football for the local Optimist Club. None of that mattered. Nothing good that you do matters, has any merit or carries any weight.
A question, what is your views on illegal software? i know its a big thing to talk about, but i simple answer would do me.
My take on pirated software is this. Yes, I know that eventualy pirated software makes it's way to the streets of various countries where it's sold on CD's for a fraction fo the cost. BUT, if release groups ceased to exist, those who sell pirated software would do so anyway. They'd wait until it went on sale, buy one copy, and pick right up selling copies. I, nor anyone that I associated with in the scene, never made a penny off of the scene. Matter of fact, it cost me to do what I did. The bottom line, what I did violated the laws governing copyrights. I don't agree with those laws 100%, but they were designed by people with lots of money in their pockets to keep lots of money in their pockets, so I doubt they're going to change for the better any time soon. This is why I'm a huge advocate for the open source community.
By the way, didn't you just hated when you saw the DVD swapping scene and found it extremely IRONIC? And, out of curiosity, would you someday make something to fight the system at any degree after all the injustice you've been?
I've seen so many things, inmates being told to make copies of textbooks by prison staff because they didn't want to spend the money to buy additional copies, so many other things that were clear violations of the very laws that I was charged and convicted of breaking. I've hardly scratched the surface in the little bit that I've mentioned on this thread.
I do have one question though, If you were given the chance would you do it again? (meaning your life with razor).
gave up a year of life with my wife, my (now) 13 year old daughter and 7 year old son, my parents, and the rest of my family. Not only did it hurt me, but them as well. Would I do it again? No way, it just wasn't worth it. My life has been shattered, all for copying some stupid computer software that a year after it's release, nobody gives 2 shakes about.
What's holding you back from writing a book? I think that, with a good book deal, you could make a lot of money to help your situation. And for high-ticket authors like yourself, you could negotiate a very good book deal.
The biggest thing holding me back from doing a book is really not knowing how to get started. I'm fairly literate, but I've never had any journalistic training. I realize that I don't actually have to write the book by myself, but here again, I'm not experienced in dealing with publishers and the likes. How to approach them, who to talk to, what to expect, it's all very unfamiliar territory and I'm not sure which way to go. I have quite a bit of material written. I kept a journal while I was incarcerated, and my memories of the past are very clear, so it's not a lack of material.
A book? about what? A guy who was too cheap to purchase software and got busted for it? Yea, number one seller there. No offense but you were a petty thief and nothing more. You did the crime and paid the time. No need to write a book about it.
I'm sorry you feel that way. I suppose you think that nobody should ever talk or write about their experiences with illegal matters? Where would that leave society? I did wrong, got caught, got punished (I think excessively). I think that maybe by telling others what I've been through I could change their views and possibly keep them from having to go through what I've gone through. Yes, I broke the law. I had access to resources that would make most peoples jaws drop. But was it just wasn't worth the hell that I've endured. If telling my story keeps anyone else from having to go through that, then I would think it was worth it.
Was this for exactly the same crime (i.e. same offence, same time) or the same type of crime (i.e. a reoffence at a different time)? Just wondering because I thought Double Jeopardy protected against the former?
From what "Mark" told me it was for the exact same crime. Not two different instances. It seems that the "double jeopardy" laws only protect you from being charged by either state or federal courts twice for the same crime. If I understood the way he explained it correctly, if your crime violates both state and federal laws, then the state can charge you and convict you and the feds can charge you and convict you. The sad thing for him was that the feds didn't pick him off until he'd done his state time, gotten out, finished culinary arts school, and began working as a chef at a country club in the Hamptons, living a normal life and having nothing to do with his criminal past.
Out of interest why did you decide to join razor in the first place, if you dont mind me asking?
It's a long story. The short version is that I became involved at a young age, back in the BBS days. Eventually I came in contact with the demo and early warez groups. One thing led to another, I eventually ran my own BBS with a few friends. It just slowly progressed from there to the internet. That's the abbreviated version. I'll try to come up with a longer more detailed account, but I may not be able to post it here.
Have you ever considered retraining for another industry, especially since computer related hobbies/activities related in imprisonment? Personally speaking, I would hate to work with computers afterwards.
Believe me, there have been times that I wished that I had never seen a computer. But alas, it's pretty much all I've done. I mean I've been at it for so long, and to be honest, technology is still my passion. I don't think I would enjoy working outside of some sort of tech field.
What about the rest that were convicted along with you , what happened to them and do you still keep in touch with some or none? what was your role in razor , just coordinating or supplier/cracker ?
I don't know what happened to the rest of the crew, or if any of them are still involved. I haven't spoken with any of them since I got busted. I only read about one other member actually getting time out of all the mess, and I hope the rest were smart enough to get out while they had the chance.
I had many roles through the years ranging from BBS SysOp to actually running the group.
1. Were you really paranoid of getting caught when you were in the scene?
2. Did any of your family know?
3. Do you think the feds/ISP are monitoring your connection or have you flagged?
1: I was never really paranoid about getting caught. Everyone that I associated with, I knew pretty well, and they had been involved for many many years, just as I had. I was cautious, we all were, however, just like anything else, you become complacent. I didn't cover my tracks as well as I used to, didn't take precautions that I had taken before, and in the end, that's how I got caught.
2: My family knew what I was doing, to a certain extent. They knew that I could get any movie they wanted to see, or CD they wanted. None of my family is big in to computers, so software really means nothing to them, other than they knew that whatever they needed, I had it. I don't think they had any idea just how involved I was, no.
3: I don't know. I'm not going to be paranoid about it though. I don't download anything these days, save for a few linux distros here and there, an occasional beta off of BetaNews.com or something like that. If they're watching me now, they must be bored to tears.
Scooby I'm sorry that you think that I'm trying to get rich off of my past or something. I only said that I would consider writing a book because so many people asked for it. I didn't start this thread going "hey, I was a warez God and now I want you to worship me" but you certainly seem to think that that's what this is all about. I guess by your account nobody should ever read anything that Kevin Mitnick or Kevin Poulson write either. Odd that they're two of the most notorious yet most published and quoted hackers of all times. I guess that anyone who learns a valuable lesson in life shouldn't share it with the rest of humanity, or at least if they do, they should work hard to put together something, a book, whatever, and just give it away, because hey, even though they went to prison for what they did, served their time, the slate is never really clean is it? To people like you they're always just criminals, just another dumb convict. I mean, this was a thread about me being happy to have a chance to rejoin society as a normal person. People started asking for details about my past, then more, then someone mentions that I should write a book, says my past is entertaining and eye opening. What should I do? Tell 'em, "nah, learn the same way I did".
This may surprise some of you, but the reason you have to endure such strict licensing methods and copy protections has very little to do with the "warez scene". The main reason you have to endure them is because of corporate and commercial piracy. Situations where a company buys one copy of a program and installs it on all of their systems, or where an individual buys one copy and then makes 10,000 copies to sell on the streets of any major city in the world. Yes, the warez scene is participating in illegal activities, breaking the law, but they are but a fraction of the global piracy issue. You think companies download some warez groups release of a program? No way, they at least want to know that the product that their using is the real deal, not to mention at least being able to get some technical support. Software companies suspect that not every home consumer is going to buy a $400.00 copy of MS Office 2003 for every computer in their house. However, they do expect every company to do so. Knowing that almost one in four businesses use "pirated software" (remember, if you bought one copy and put it on more than one machine at the same time, you just pirated software) they have to come up with better methods of copy protection and product activation. It's not primarily because of the "warez scene", no no no, it's because of the corporate world and the people who walk down the street buying Longhorn CD's & Spiderman 2 a week before it's in theaters from street vendors. That's why you're stuck with the registrations, validations and the likes.
Research a little, read a little. Don't believe the hype, find out for yourself. The "warez scene" is just a convenient scapegoat for the global piracy issue. They can't show you the real piracy problem because it exists in almost every corporation in the world. The take downs and busts of the "warez scene" are nothing more than P.R. Sure, it slows down the trading on P2P networks for a while, but it picks right back up again. No, the real problem and the real blame for all that you have to endure lies within the walls of corporate America and every other country that doesn't follow strict auditing and compliance guidelines.
Almost One in Four Businesses Pirate Software - PC World
Software Industry Loses $8 Billion