COPY PROTECTION IN CYBERPUNK 2020
by Amy Luther
From Cyberpunk 2020:"Anti-IC and Anti-Personnel programs cannot be Backup-copied; they have special copy-protection routines that erase the chip in the copy process. This makes sure you come back to your friendly local fixer for a new copy of Hellhound when yours crashes. You can make a copy using your Programming Skill against a Task Difficulty of 28."
In our games, we assume that the copy-protection routine referred to in the CP2020 rulebook prevents copies from being made. When you roll versus a difficulty 28 to make a copy, you are effectively cracking this section of the program. From then on, the program is cracked, and you may make a copy of it.
Copying Made EasyDitto (Anti-IC, STR 6, MU 4, GM's decision as to cost and availability)
Ditto deactivates the copy protection routine of a target Anti-IC or Anti-Personnel program. It is run against the target program and an opposed roll is made: Ditto's STR + 1d10 versus the target program's STR + 1d10. If Ditto wins, the string which prevents copying in the target program is stripped, and it may be copied freely with the COPY function on the Menu. This may affect its stability; on a 1 or 2 on a d6 roll, the target fries itself, and no copy can be made. The copies which result are cracked copies and are somewhat corrupted. Whenever run, they will crash and de-rez on a roll of 1 or 2 on a d6. ICON - If run in the net, Ditto breaks up the IC into a million glowing bits, then reforms it. If the program crashes, the bits simply spin away into the net without reforming.
Programs bought from legitimate sources (i.e., not your local fixer) may come with codes, allowing the corporate buyer to make backup copies, or even fully-enabled copies which can be run anywhere. This option would naturally be very expensive and might explain why Anti-Personnel programs cost so much.
Other options are a licensing/registration process, in which a purchaser (probably a corporation) pays a fee upon purchasing the program which guarantees a set number of copies of a given program from the manufacturer. This fee could be renewed annually, or simply paid whenever one of the corp's copies gets zapped by an intruding netrunner.
This opens up another avenue for netrunning. Runners could raid programming houses for anti-personnel codes for sale or distribution, or could steal the corporate's license, then get free copies from the house while the corporation foots the bill.
We're also working on black IC companies... after all, somebody's got to have a license to program and sell this stuff, right?