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Volume 1, Number 4, July 2003
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Support Report: Copy Protection for TDM

Welcome Pro Tools users! Universal Audio is very excited to have you join the

UA family of users, and is glad to be working closely with Digidesign as we move forward with our latest launch.

iLok USB Key "Dongle"
Ahhh, copy protection…nobody likes dealing with it, but copy protection is a necessary evil in the world of software manufacturing. Fortunately for new users of Universal Audio’s Plug-Ins for Pro Tools, UA has adopted the iLok Copy Protection System, which makes dealing with copy protection rather liberating.

"The iLok’s authorizations can be loaded directly from a “smart card” that slides into the dongle, or can be grabbed as an “asset” from the user’s iLok account when the software is purchased and registered online."

The smart and savvy iLok system allows the purchaser of iLok-protected plugs to immediately authorize his software. The iLok user’s authorization is conveniently loaded and stored on his dongle(see picture), which is a simple USB device that can fit into any available USB slot on your computer. One of the great benefits of the iLok is that you can take your authorizations anywhere your software is installed; The owner of an iLok is able to use his software on any machine.

iLok Authorization Card
careful with those traces Eugene
The iLok’s authorizations can be loaded directly from a “smart card” that slides into the dongle, or can be grabbed as an “asset” from the user’s iLok account when the software is purchased and registered online. Furthermore, in case the dongle is lost or damaged, the account holder has a safe and secure record of authorization permanently stored in his personal iLok account, in which case your friends at iLok.com can get you replacement authorizations. Go to www.ilok.com for more information.

Get Yourself a Dongle
Be aware: Running the UA Plug-Ins for Pro Tools Demo requires an iLok account and an iLok dongle, and for your iLok to be registered at iLok.com. So if you don’t have this in place yet, this will be your first task. Go to www.ilok.com to start an account.

Pace does not sell iLok dongles directly to consumers. The iLok is available anywhere Digidesign products are sold as well as many other Pro Audio product dealers. The list price is $40.
You can also purchase directly online from Digidesign: www.digidesign.com/store

Try the UA Plug-Ins
Now that you've got an iLok, go to the UA Compressor demo form to sign up for a demo authorization and download the plug-ins.
  1. Fill out the form completely and hit the send button.
  2. At this point UA has to send the authorization “asset” to your new iLok account from Clare’s computer right here at UA. (She’s now known around the office as, “The Assetizer”.) One might equate this portion of the experience to that of waiting for your pictures to come back from the drug store.
  3. On the next page, you will be able to choose to download an installer for OS 9 or OS X.
  4. When we have placed the asset into your iLok.com account, we will send you an email to let you know. This process can take up to 24 to 48 hours. Best time (we expect to have this automated and working in real-time later this year).
  5. Our fully functioning demo plug-ins will run for 15 days before requiring permanent authorization.

To transfer the asset onto your iLok, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.ilok.com.
  2. Log in.
  3. You will see a window that says "Available Assets To Transfer To An iLok", and the assets from UA should be visible in the window.
  4. Click on the asset you want to load onto your dongle.
  5. The next window will have information about the asset, and a button that says "Transfer Asset".
  6. Click the "Transfer Asset" button and the demo asset for the plug-ins will be transferred to your dongle.

Once your dongle has the demo assets, you’re ready to run the plug-in installer. Once the plug-ins are installed, follow these instructions:

  1. Make sure the authorized dongle is inserted into a USB port on the machine you are using.
  2. Launch Pro Tools, and when an unauthorized UA plug-in is loaded, you will see a screen that notifies you that the plug-in is not authorized.
  3. There will be three choices: Try, Buy, and Quit. If you select Try, then you will start the 15-day demo timer. Once it starts, there is no way to stop it. Also, once the demo timer runs out, there is no way to restart the demo, and a permanent authorization must be purchased if you wish to continue using the plugin.

OK—granted, I already have an iLok, and I can shout out to Clare in the main office to look at my email, but I wanted to verify once I’m set with iLok it really was going to be a simple task. I went through the process, and from opening an iLok account to downloading and authorizing my demo, the whole experience took just about ten minutes.

Buy the UA Plug-Ins
The user experience for those purchasing the plug-ins will be very simple. Your UA plug-ins package will include an installer CD and a card (which kinda looks like a credit card). The user will install the software, and then launch Pro Tools. When your new UA plug-ins begin to load, the iLok application will ask for the new plug-ins to be authorized. Click Buy. The “credit card” has a miniature smart card that breaks off (be careful, don’t tear the traces) and slips into the dongle, the authorization is immediately transferred from this smart card to the dongle. Ok--You’re done!

--Will Shanks

Questions or comments on this article?