Concerns about Steinberg Licensing

I guess the explaination is that (almost?) every other company who decided to go this way got pirated. Still, these companies exist and win over cusomers with quality and features.
But making things more complicated, expensive and restricted for long term paying customers can’t be the right way.

Just checked out Studio Ones activation process. They do it the way you suggested and give you FIVE permanent offline activations on 5 different machines per license. Why is Steinberg treating us so differently.

I don’t understand why we are given only one offline activation which we even have to reactivate after 1 year. If we want to use more offline machines we have to pay or go online regularly.


No. That sounds like a nightmare that Microsoft would implement.

If the copy protection gets compromised in any way, they have the possibility to fix it, exchange critical software parts or deactivate licenses that had been activated illegally - every 30 days. That’s the only sensible explanation for this step.

Minimizing the risk of being cr_cked. The current soft e-licenser doesn’t offer this - if you get the stuff activated, it works forever. Currently, there is three products that haven’t been compromised since 2009: Cubase Pro, Nuendo and Wavelab Pro. All of them force the usage of the USB e-licenser, which is fine for Windows users, but Mac users hate it. In the last years, Apple reduced the number of usable USB ports to a number where an USB dongle is a disturbing thing.

So IMO, one big reason for the movage of more and more products to soft e-licenser, the following compromisation of the protection, and finally the move to a new protection system is Apple. No Windows user would buy a laptop with only one USB port. Mac users in the past years have been FORCED to buy a device with only ONE (1!) USB-C-Port, meaning they had to use a component adapter to connect at least the dongle - and lose their only USB port forever.

I hesitated to give specific names, but a few examples are Waves, Plugin Alliance, and Overloud. Are you saying that they are getting pirated because of this type of system?

And, crucially, is SB’s system going to be more secure?

so basically legacy products, like the grand 3, HSO etc, and some sound libraries will forever tight to the dongle ?
no way or intention from Steinberg to update them with the new licensing ? so who ever use them are forced to use the dongle ,and of course even worse, when the elicenser server will shout off if the dongle is lost/broken etc… you lost your investment ?
i mean for Halion and GA cubase nuendo etc… their will be updated versions for sure that support the new license, and the user can choose to upgrade or not, but for product that wont see any upgrade they stuck to the dongle with its all disadvantage . so maybe some more effort from Steinberg to update those legacy product to the new licensing is a reasonable request before taking the server down :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

You make it sound as if we’re all running around from venue to venue all day every day with a couple of laptops and elicencer. I can imagine that the percentage of user base that do that is miniscule, especially in today’s pandemic influenced environments when people spend more and more time working on line which is what Steinberg Connect is for.

It’s quite clear that the end goal is a perpetual licence as is prootools or sphere with Studio one. It’s certainly not for the users benefits! We have purchased your software as well as our licence to use it.

Cracked software such as cubase/protools etc are ghosts from the past. Cracked software has no value these days when DAW’s such as Cakewalk Reaper, Traktion, to name just a few out of the over 21 well featured free ones available on line and of course with logic Pro free on ipad and cheap as chips to buy for mac’s one has to wonder what motives are really driving this new scheme to “benefit the user base”.

The arguments you put forward for trying to “force” (as you stated) users into compliance are nothing short of cutting costs whilst increasing revenue streams and skimming users data to build profiles and merchandise targets ala Facebook and others. Just a brief look through these forums show just how thrilled your user base are at your latest scheme to increase profit margins. It’s a mistake but there again your cash flow forecasters will have predicted the percentage of defectors and offset the amounts that can be gained by your monthly leasing business models, Steinberg staff know exactly what direction this is all moving towards but, haven’t got the front to come out with it at this point in time or have been told to keep a tight lip if they want to keep a job… Sinister!


No, we haven’t said that this will be the case. We will certainly be exploring all of the options, whether it means updating those products to use the new licensing system, or somehow tying those licenses to the new system in the background, or something. As we have said repeatedly, we do not plan to shut down the eLicenser infrastructure until we have solutions in place for these kinds of issues. What we cannot say at the moment is exactly what those solutions will look like. If we waited to launch the new system until every complex legacy licensing scenario had been accounted for, it would be more years before we could make the move to the new system, which we expect to be an improvement in all areas.

hmm? Sure about that? Hope not … or you might want to check what Avid is doing.

This is simply untrue. We have stated explicitly in the Steinberg Licensing FAQ that whatever business models we may choose to employ in the future, we have no plans withdraw the option to buy and use our software under the familiar perpetual model that we have always used.

We have also said repeatedly in this thread that we have heard loud and clear the feedback from some of our users that they object to the software periodically contacting our activation servers. We will be thinking and talking about this more in the coming days and weeks internally. As changes, improvements and new use cases are supported by Steinberg Licensing, we will do our best to communicate them to our customers as clearly as possible.


Great then
, from the Main statement i was not sure if only products that are in their “life cycle”(not legacy) will get updates and therefore only them will be functioning with the new license and the legacy ones remain on the dongle forever

We have of course discussed this, and indeed there is some discussion of this approach right here in this thread. The difficulties with it as an approach are that any file-based solution on removable storage cannot be made independent of specific hardware (otherwise it would only work on a single computer, which would defeat the object of making it portable) without making it trivially copyable.

Yes, I agree that this is also a scenario in which the new system does not provide the same flexibility as the USB-eLicenser. We anticipated that in general those users with multiple machines but only a single license would not typically be the ones who also keep those machines offline – in other words, we thought that the “normal” online activation method would be the ideal fit for these scenarios. We have heard from a few users that this is not the case, and we have taken that on board and thinking about it further.

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So your saying that this move is being carried out without any planning on sound content, instruments and libraries? That’s a jojo if ever there was one. This whole things has been meticulously worked out and planned for over the last few years no doubt and all your new servers and systems all in place with just some public beta testing left to do on the lesser selling software so as not to perpetuate the predicted disaster!

One if the post from the Steinberg guts on here has been claiming how environmental friendly this will be! Seriously? Have you guys read up on how much these pollution all these masdive server farms generate!

No, I’m saying that work on this is ongoing, but without a decisive outcome as to which of a range of possibilities we have explored as part of the work on the project to date we will choose. Once we have made those final determinations, we will of course communicate that as clearly as we can to our customers.

The infrastructure required to run the new Steinberg Licensing system does not significantly grow our data centre impact, but you are right that this should not be discounted. Reducing the weight of our product packages, making them entirely recyclable, stopping the manufacturing of USB-eLicensers, and so on will all have a small but important positive impact on the environmental impact of our business.

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I’m surprised that other companies (like Waves, Plugin Alliance, Overloud,…) are using this type of system given that it’s “trivially copyable”.

As a follow-up, how does the annual online ‘check-in’ solve this problem for SB? For example, what prevents a person from using a pirated version of Cubase for an entire year without getting caught?

they are using this system and that’s why they’re getting massively pirated, can’t count how many times I’ve met “producers” that had the full cracked Waves collection.

You’re right that in the worst case scenario, somebody who gains access to a registered user’s Steinberg ID somehow and is able to activate their software offline will be able to use that software for a year, and there would be nothing we could practically do about it for the duration of that offline activation period, but we would of course take steps to prevent this from happening again with the same account, the same license and the same hardware.

We don’t expect most users to take this approach, however, since most users are online all or most of the time and won’t get quite so exercised as some of the posters in this thread. In the normal, online activation case, the exposure for unauthorized use of the software is shorter, limited to 30 days, as currently planned.

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Okay, thanks for letting me know.

But I’m still wondering how the new licensing system (with the annual online check-in option) will prevent a person from using pirated software for an entire year (prior to check-in).

Most USB storage devices do have a unique firmware serial number. No problem to include this one into the copy protection scheme and therefore avoid to make it easily copyable.

Yes, there is some USB device manufacturers who don’t give their devices serial numbers, and there is ony company (Haegele) that commercially offers modifying of this number for certain brands as their business model - but both is well known and no problem to forbid such devices as copy protection.

Okay, so your new system is designed to minimize pirating rather than prevent it entirely which, from what I’m reading here on the forum, would seem to require constant connection to the internet. Is that correct?