Other newer methods may involve requiring periodical validation of the CD key with an internet server (for games with an online component, this is done whenever the user signs in).

The validation can then be performed on the server side, preventing cracks tampering with it (as they do on the client side).

It is common for an online system to immediately blacklist a CD key caught running cracks or, in some cases, cheats. Players who wish to continue use of the software must repurchase it.

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The server can also keep a blacklist of all CD keys known to be invalid or which have explicitly been banned, and deny them access.

Some of the most effective CD key protection is very controversial, due to inconvenience, strict enforcement, harsh penalties and, in some cases, false positives.

Because of this, software publishers are increasingly turning to alternative methods of verifying that keys are both valid and uncompromised.

One method, product validation, assigns a product key based on a unique feature of the purchaser's computer hardware (such as its MAC address), which cannot be as easily duplicated since it depends on the user's hardware.

This function manipulates the key sequence according to a mathematical algorithm and attempts to match the results to a set of valid solutions.

Standard key generation, where product keys are generated mathematically, is not completely effective in stopping copyright infringement of software, as these keys can be distributed.Sometimes, legitimate users are wrongly deemed in violation of the license, and banned.In large cases of false positives, they are sometimes corrected (as happened in World of Warcraft.CD key protection has been linked to Digital Rights Management, in that it uses uncompromising digital procedures to enforce the license agreement.Product keys are somewhat inconvenient for end users.A product key, also known as a software key, is a specific software-based key for a computer program.