Very sadly I will never purchase Dorico

get a six inch usb extension and then put the key on table. attach the key and usb extension. wrap the key with bubble wrap over and over and over … then using black electrical tape wrap over the wrap until the key is full encased and is completely secure.

This is getting worse and worse - and ridiculous. Some of us might “have” to do something like THAT to make music? Scary.

Well, there are physical “locks” such as this one, for the ilok.

But I think you guys are getting a little carried away … Daniel has stated above that you should be able to transfer your license from your eLicenser stick to your computer (and back), so you shouldn’t have to afraid of losing it. After you have done that, just keep the eLicenser in a safe place … for example, with your car keys / house keys / wallet.

Even if you do lose your eLicenser key, you can always buy another one for about $30. If there were any licenses on it, you’ll be able to sort it out with Steinberg support.

Surely now suggesting ways around protecting your ilok on the move is proof of how ridiculous the system is.

Here’s it from my angle. I think Steinberg has made a mistake. I think they haven’t realised that the way customers use scoring programs, in general, is different to the way customers use DAWs (Cubase). My studio mac with my DAW has an ilok and an e-licenser sticking out of it, like so many people, and I don’t mind at all. The problem is that a large number of main studio DAW machines composers, producers, etc. use stay in the studio and Steinberg’s dongle protection is fine when that is the case.
But programs like Dorico, Sibelius and Finale are not used in the same way as the ‘stay at home studio DAW’ and Steinberg hasn’t accounted for that. Notation software, for a lot of people (yes I’m speaking generally here), is used on the move: students taking their laptop to a lesson or class, composers making on-the-fly adjustments in rehearsals, orchestrators and composer’s assistants making notes during recordings as just a few examples. The last thing I want is for a client to want to see my score; I have my laptop with me but not the dongle as I didn’t think I’d need it, and I have to say “sorry I can’t”.
I for one do not want to buy into the faff of having to have my dongle with me/transfer the license beforehand every time I want to use Dorico on my travelling laptop. The dongle protection software has been made, and developed over time, for a different customer base with different work needs and Steinberg’s market research, I feel, has not taken that into account.
I refuse to pay for a program that restricts me and suggestions of buying two licenses just to get around it is absolutely ridiculous.

It’s a shame as this issue, and even this forum topic (which has massive interest compared to every other), is a blemish on an otherwise flawless product reveal and build up.

Simply have two keys per purchase, but make one of the keys so it can NOT be put on the dongle at all. The NOT_DONGLE_OK key would be ‘system bound’ and moving/reactivating it would be like Wavelab and HSO does in the soft-eLisencer.

The second key would carry the current protocol of either staying parked on a software eLiscencer just like the first key, or moved permanently to the dongle_only protocol.

It seems to me like this idea could be implemented fairly simply in the eLiscencer software by tagging some keys as being system bound (cannot be moved to a dongle at all).

This method would make it possible for people who do not wish to own an elisencer-dongle at all to keep a desktop and mobile copy parked on two systems. Those who ‘choose’, could move ONE of the keys over to the dongle system.

This scenario provides the user pros and cons of both worlds, while keeping up the good fight against software piracy, and should be farily easy to implement without a total overhaul of the current eLisencing system.

Thank you Brian but you’ve proved my point in that we, as customers, should not be having to make these workarounds or buy extra dongles, etc. Steinberg should be dealing with this at their end, not letting it affect the workflows of their (potential) customers, and it only goes to show that the proposed implementation of this system, for Dorico specifically, needs to be re-thought out. Just my opinion.

James, I may be in the minority, but I actually like the dongle.

When I fire up my PC and see a bunch of stupid licensers and subscription managers gobbling up over a gig of memory, leeching cpu cycles, and sometimes even doing ‘peer to peer’ software uploads for these companies (at my expense) and sending god knows what over my internet connection (sometimes in the middle of a latency sensitive project), it irks me to high heaven. Why the heck does Avid need ‘my credit card information’, half a stinking Gig of my memory, and up to 5% of other system resources, even when I’m not using Sibelius?

I’ll take a dongle over ‘subscriptions’ and contracts that give some outside company total control over the terms and use of my system (I.E. ransomware) any day. If Steinberg were to go out of business and pull the plug on all their servers today…I’d still be able to use my software. This is NOT the case with anything I’ve ever purchased from Avid, MakeMusic, etc…

Steinberg is very generous in that the only thing they want to ‘control’ about my system, implementation, and workflow, is that I only use a license on one machine at a time. All of those ‘other verification systems’ want access to my networks, have a zillion and seven little clauses in the terms of use that allow them to ‘disable or discontinue’ the operation of my software on ‘THEIR TERMS’, AND they demand my credit card information stay on file for any of it to keep working!

I’ve also pointed out earlier where the dongle system keeps purchasing and inventory simpler for bureaucratic institutions, and people who work on grants and endowments. Buying dongle ware is more like going to the music shop and picking up a box of reeds or a new microphone. I simply write my purchase order for a simple purchase and send it to the music store in exchange for my ‘piece of equipment’. Buying something from Adobe, Avid, etc…comes with a long list of rules and issues that require the approval, resources, and management of multiple departments, with a whole new set of rules on what ‘budgets’ can be tapped to acquire them. With dongle-ware, I can tag/inventory ‘the dongle with all its keys’ as ‘equipment’ or even as a ‘consumable’ if the price is low enough. With subscription models…I’m doomed to mounds of paper work for things that probably will NOT be approved. If Steinberg sticks with a policy of ‘offering’ a dongle option, I’ll be able to buy Dorico from at least 3 different budgets…where as anything from Avid can only come from ‘one’ and about 50 different people have to ‘analyse and approve it’, then write up an ‘implementation plan’, and the list goes on.

The idea behind the dongle is simple…one license, one machine. The ‘key’ itself can go on inventory as a unique piece of equipment. It does NOT need to go online…

It’s also nice that I can roll back to any version I like and not have to re-register/activate a thing. I.E. With Cubase/Halion/etc., I can go way back to version 6 if the need arises…all off the same dongle. It takes 2 seconds to move to a different machine, and I don’t even need a network interface in the thing to do it.

All of life is a series of work arounds

I think the problem with this is that people would theoretically be able to sell one of their two licenses on the “black market”, which appears to happen with other software; see Daniel’s post above.

That said though, I’m actually with you in that a dongle is not such a bad thing — I kind of like my iLoks which allow me to move from computer to computer without having to license / unlicense anything on the internet. If the transfer of the Dorico license from dongle to machine and back is going to be an easy operation (as Daniel indicated it would likely) then I’m fine with it.

As we’re getting closer to the launch, I’m sure there will be many instructional videos on setting up scores / players etc.; maybe Daniel can do one where he demonstrates how to transfer the license between machines, which should hopefully put a lot of angst to bed.


The 21st century, software companies are protecting their investment with online check. Basically, it is the same as a dongle, but the check is done online. No dongle, no soft key required, device independent.

However, this means two drawbacks: 1) no internet connection = no use; and 2) there’s a “big brother” knowing what you are doing, when, where… and after a while it evolves to a new licensing scheme: no purchase anymore, but subscriptions only, or pay per use.

Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, etc. all major software editors take this direction.
Some users start to realise that new licensing model costs a lot more to customers, generating debts: you cannot invest and buy a software, you need to pay each month/year. If you stop at anytime, you cannot use it anymore. Moreover, the next step is to put your work in the cloud. Bound by the hands and feet, you cannot leave anymore.
One day, more people will realise how this is jeopadising our individual liberties.

Personally, what I would expect from steinberg, is to give the choice to the customer, enabling 3 locations for our licence: computer, dongle, or online cloud. With possibility to move the key from one to the other. And in most cases, I’ll use the dongle, even if it is annoying, I understand it is because otherwise too many people would steal the software, and they would have to increase prices to cover this loss.

I like the way they opened this forum to get customer input, and I would be very interested to a beta testing (not or not only to test license keys :wink:).


Unlike the o.p., I think it is very likely I will purchase Dorico, but I agree that the proposed licensing, by being so much more restrictive than its competitors, will make me much less enthusiastic about doing so. Is there a price for a second license for the same user (or perhaps same household) that would make it unlikely people would resell their second license but would be so much less than purchasing two independent copies? I’m thinking that €50 would be entirely reasonable and €99 would produce real grumbling but still be acceptable to many users.


Just placed an order for the said product, looks good and will be willing to post my experiences with it.

You know something, What I don’t understand about Steinberg is that it seems to me they are missing out on an opportunity to maximize the income from their user base!!! Most people are NOT going to pay full price for a second license, just so they can carry Steinberg products on their 2nd computer ( a laptop for example ) . But I imagine a substantial amount of users MIGHT consider paying extra for a reduced price on some sort of secondary or extended license that would allow them to use a second computer without having to carry the stupid dongle around!!! I for one am just too paranoid of losing the damn thing! I don’t have a laptop at this point, but I split my time between two locations, one with my PC and one with my Mac. I want to be able to use both PC’s without carrying around that dongle!!! Every other music software product I own allows for this! (Ableton, Native Instrument, Reason are 3 for example. ) … I think I would consider paying a little extra for the privilege ! It’s weird that Steinberg is so slow moving on this point! It could mean some extra income if they were just a little more creative and flexible!

The other thing in my case is that sometimes I just want to use some of my Steinberg VST products (I have the Grand3, Padshop Pro and GA4) which I sometimes like to use with my other DAW’s. So I find it frusterating when II am on one of my computers and I don’t happen to have the USB key because I left it at my house! Arrrggggh!

That occurred to me also while (re)reading this thread. I have willingly paid for multi-computer licenses. Admittedly, that has been for software I use simultaneously on multiple PCs (like antivirus software), but I would pay for the ability to run Dorico on multiple devices. I would not buy multiple full-price licenses, but a 2nd at half price - maybe.

Alternatively, I would pay a little to be able to move the registration - deactivate it on one computer and activate it on another. (And if that required a dongle to aid in the transfer, I could cope as long as the dongle was no longer needed after the transfer was complete.) I got the impression that that possibility had been ruled out by Steinberg, but it might have misread.

You can place your dongle in a secure place if you are using a print-server (USB over Ethernet).

Stick the dongles into the USB over ethernet hub and connect from everywhere to that dongle if latency is short enough. For inhouse it should work. Over internet latency will be too long. You connect through a driver to the little USB-case and get rid of mechanical damage to your USB-dongles.

One dongle can only be accessed by one PC at one time, but you can switch.

Seriously, f**k dongles.User-hostile outdated technology. The technology industry is (finally) moving toward serving the customer - Steinberg needs to suss this out quickly. The usage case of a notation program is so different to a DAW like Cubase (my main DAW, which I love), although the USB port is definitely on the endangered list, so they should be thinking hard about this. I’ve just fired up my laptop as I had a few spare hours killing time in between meetings, thought I’d give Dorico a whirl, and…

…Boom! Game over, no dongle. I have enough things to remember in my life, how presumptious is it of you to add to my cognitive workload? As for all this nonsense about sticky tape and hubs? Seriously? No. Just no. Your software should be helping me with my work, not making me place your copy-protection at the centre of my mind. I don’t always plan my day, I just need my scoring tool in the same way I need my word-processor. Can you imagine if MS Word asked you to carry round a dongle!!!

It’s a non-starter for me unti this issue is resolved. Everything else I could handle (the new program learning curve etc) but this is a terrible decision which (at this point) still shows no signs of being changed.

Btw, buy a second license? Again, just No. I’m a 10+ year user of Sibelius, a mature programme which (despite its many flaws) enables two permanently available copies, one on my desktop, one on my laptop. 90% of the composers I work with feel pretty much the same as me. Why would I switch from one program which I know really well, to one which I don’t know so well, and also makes me carry round a fragile, losable, forgettable, drop-in-the-toiletable bit of plastic?

My annoyance about this comes from the fact that everything I’ve seen from Dorico so far looks great.

I know the Dorico team have to try to get this through the heads of the mothership at Steinberg (arrogant, out of touch and almost entirely disengaged with their user-base from years and years of having Cubase as my main DAW ), but they need to keep banging the drum, harder and louder. I’m currently recommending that nobody touches this software with a barge-pole until their copy-protection policy changes, which is such a shame - I’ve got genuine affection (not to mention huge amounts of respect) for the Dorico development team. That won’t happen without user-pressure, so consider this my user-pressure.

TL:DR version? - I dislike dongles more than I dislike Phil Collins. And I really, really dislike Phil Collins…

My God, it is such a difficult thing to plug in a USB device! (Obvious sarcasm!) I say get on with life. It can be an enjoyable ride if you let it!

Oh goodness me, this again.

Hey, I don’t like dongles either, but I noticed a few things this morning:

  1. I have a house
  2. Both my boys are healthy
  3. Christmas is around the corner
  4. I use Dorico very day
  6. Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen

So you’re ticked over that one thing; I can understand to a degree, but you’re missing one hell of a party here.

Presumably Steinberg has the experience to know that a hardware protection device like this (the size of a key on a keyring and smaller than a handkerchief: so extremely easy to accommodate with all the other things we carry around with is day in day out - and surely less than 100th the size of a laptop) prevents software theft.

Which in turn presumably keeps prices where they are.

If the potential for higher prices outweighs the many advantages of Dorico, I am surprised at the OP’s priorities and find them - with respect - hard to agree with.