Copy protection has been at the forefront of tech discussion for a while, and it's far from going away anytime soon. It seems that anytime we turn around as consumers, we're finding a new threat to our rights as purchasers of a product. Historically, gauntlets have been thrown down with regularity between the RIAA, MPAA and their consumers - an ever-present reminder that we are little more than walking wallets to them, expected to buy what is offered simply because it's for sale. One only needs to look to the looming ACTA arm-twist... err, negotiation to see that.

However, despite our arguments, one can honestly say that software as an industry, including games, has been quite generous in comparison. I've yet to see EA, Ubisoft or others walk around suing everything that moves because nobody bought the latest sequel. Aside from maybe Starforce, software copy protection has been a very gentlemanly cat-and-mouse. It certainly isn't that the software makers have begged people to pirate their games, but they've at least had the decency to do little more than whine.

In reality, it seems that some copy protection was actually going forward and providing benefits, such as Valve's Steam platform. The ability and convenience of Steam actually seemed to silence the debate for most products that used it, and even had people happy to trade piracy for a legal copy. DVD backups, instant patch delivery, digital downloads of new titles and DLC - it was like the best features of Xbox Live, without having to be constrained to the console. To this day, it remains (to my knowledge) the least thwarted copy protection system out there. Not because it's largely uncrackable, as Valve often proposes - but because it provided features that make cracking it less valuable. That's right, DRM (Digital Rights Management) provided a real service to consumers - it's a lot better than it used to be.